I was interested to see a New York Times op-ed yesterday that described how the BRIC nations are now termed the BRICS. Almost everyone will know of the BRIC nations by now – the famed group of Brazil, Russia, India, and China – nations predicted to control this century economically.
Economists have broadened the definition a little and created a new group of nations that will similarly rise in importance, this group is called the CIVETS, standing for Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey and South Africa.
But the interesting thing is that even though South Africa is noted as an important member of the CIVETS group, many economists have just started adding an S to the original BRIC group and are including South Africa in that core of nations that will define the twenty-first century.
The New York Times comment focuses on the power of ‘pivot’ nations – the ability to pivot between various partners being one of the most important attributes for growth and success at present.
South Africa has this ability in abundance. It’s an African nation and we have good relations with neighbours on the continent, but with industries like banking and insurance being so highly developed, we are also able to interact and trade easily with highly developed nations.
The population of the continent of Africa surpassed one billion in 2010 meaning that if you take Africa as a whole then it compares to India or China in the sheer scale of population size. However, Africans spent 35 per cent more on goods and services in 2008 than Indians and the number of mobile phones across the continent is expected to reach 735m this year.
Economists have talked for a decade about the importance of the BRIC nations to this coming century, so if BRIC is now BRICS then I suggest that if you have not yet seen how South Africa can be a gateway to the whole of the African continent, come and visit – soon!
Photo by Andrew Ashton licensed under Creative Commons