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BRIC needs Africa as much as Africa needs BRIC
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Goolam Ballim, Standard Bank Group’s chief economist pointed out that the reason for optimism about the future of Africa was its growing ties with the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries. Trade between the two blocs was growing at more than double the global average, and more importantly was on an accelerating trajectory with much of that increase having come in just the past three or four years, he said.
Their share of global trade had increased from 6% to 13% just since 2000, thereby reversing the marginalisation of the African continent. Furthermore, unlike trade with the developed nations, BRIC countries tended to encourage far more actual integration with Africa in the form of genuine two-way bilateral trade.

“BRIC needs Africa as much as Africa needs BRIC,” he said.

Some African countries 30 years ago did less than 1% of their trade with BRIC – today, some do more than 30%.

“While Africa’s destiny is very much in its own hands, there is a growing political recognition that this BRIC trade creates a very fertile environment for Africa’s growth. Chinese leaders are constantly visiting Africa – the Chinese premier six times in as many years, for instance,” said Ballim. African leaders are also queuing to visit the BRIC countries.

Is this tectonic shift shaping Africa’s destiny a good or bad thing: post your opinions.
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I agree with the many benefits highlighted, however Africa must realise that the BRIC countries as all countries are motivated by self interest. Their focus is more on trade which by its nature is more short termism.

I believe Africa needs to still open itself up to more multinational investments. Multinational companies, up to now generally western, will bring more technology, social responsibility and management skills to the region. They generally have a longer term view and will invest in developing skill sets and the market. However in order for them to do so the environment needs to be right - this is what Africa needs to be striving towards.

This kind of investment and demand for a better environment, Africa we will not get from the average BRIC investor. They will bring investment for better infrastructure etc to facilitate their objectives but there after they will place no further demands on the locals to develop skills and social responsibilities.

By using the revenue from this trade with BRIC countries in a responsible way will give Africa the opportunity to develop itself on the right track. However there are no safe guards or checks to ensure that this does happen.