PRETORIA, August 23 (Itar-Tass) - Informal association of countries known as BRICS -- Brazil, Russia, India, China, and the South African Republic - is to a bigger degree a political rather than an economic group, say experts of the Frederik Willem de Klerk Foundation.
“BRICS has both economic and political importance for South Africa but perhaps the political dimension is more important than the economic dimension,” David Steward, a spokesman for the foundation told Itar-Tass in connection with the first conference of the BRICS Business Council that was set up at a summit of the group in March 2013.
The conference was held earlier this week.
“BRICS sends a signal to the world of the emergence of a new factor in global politics and economics - comprising the huge emerging economies of China and India - and the increasingly significant economies of Russia and Brazil,” Steward said.
“With an economy of only US$ 500 billion on a PPP basis, South Africa is lucky to be included - but it does bring the largest African economy into the fold,” he said. “This gives us some important international political prestige.”
He said along with it that South Africa’s trade relations with the countries making up the group are developing without any major influence of the BRICS activities at the moment.
“South Africa has significant trade relations with China - but membership of BRICS will probably have only a marginal effect on them,” Steward said. “Trade relations with the other BRICS countries are quite modest - but could improve somewhat because of BRICS membership.”
He indicated however that the setting-up of the Business Council will obviously give a new impetus to trade between members of the association.
South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma believes the Business Council should turn into a platform for elaborating new models of and approaches to development and growth across the world.
South African Foreign Minister, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane shares his opinion. BRICS stands for multipolarity and the old economic models, which have become obsolete, should be overhauled.
BRICS is maturing to take on the role of a drive engine of change, she said.
All the five co-chairpersons of the Business Council agree on the importance of focusing the group’s efforts on generating the added value and to diversify away from the concentration on natural resources production.
In this sense, Patrice Motsepe, a businessman representing the South African Republic on the council voiced the confidence that quality changes will take place in the trade between the member-state shortly.