The generally unwavering increase in engagements between Africa and the so called BRIC countries (which are Brazil, Russia, India and China) over the past 20 years has dramatically altered Africa’s economic trajectory, deeply influencing the commercial climate across the continent and necessitating an adjustment of policy formulation.
The BRIC nations offer a fresh growth model; are global price setters of key commodities and, even, global interest rates and labour costs; offer growing markets for Africa’s produce; and finance an increasing number of projects and programmes across the continent.
BRIC-Africa interaction is undoubtedly complex: at times the BRICs compete with each other in Africa, while at other times African nations compete against one another for the attention of the BRICs.
Increasingly, BRIC-Africa interaction presents feasible avenues for mutual advantage, a particularly alluring concept for each of the BRICs when considering the commonly held desire to engender greater south-south cooperation. As already outlined, each BRIC country has its own degree of co-variance and co-operation with Africa – collectively and individually.
What is undeniable is that an understanding of BRIC actions in Africa is crucial for domestic policy consideration. It is therefore vital for African nations to ascertain where BRIC priorities lie on the continent, mapping the strategic and geographical priorities of these nations, so as to assess current policy suitability and the scope for general economic synergies.
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