The Global Economic Governance (GEG) Africa programme is a policy research and stakeholder engagement programme to strengthen the influence of pro-poor African coalitions at global economic governance fora.

BRICS (214)

SAFPI Policy Brief 37The pygmy elephant in the room of the Overseas Research Foundation’s long-term vision (LTV) initiative for BRICS is a little focused on acronym, 'RIC' – as in Russia-India-China. They form the ministerial trilateral between the three Eurasian giants for sustaining a dialogue on their bilateral relationships within a sort of ‘strategic triangle.’ Hence: ‘pygmy elephant.’ It involves foreign ministers, not heads-of-state. But it is a pachyderm nonetheless, since this pygmy gave birth to that giant called BRICS. Forget about ‘Jungle Jim’ of Wall Street fame, the Tarzan of emerging market capitalism! Thus does RIC bear greater scrutiny…
The World Economic Forum’s global trade and FDI council report promoting a multilateral investment treaty continues to receive favourable reviews. Klaus Schwab, founding CEO of the WEF, sent us this message:
Wednesday, 10 July 2013 09:47

BRICS publications in Portuguese: IPEA, Brazil

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The Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada (IPEA) or Institute of Applied Economic Research is a Brazilian government-led research organization. It provides technical and institutional support to government for the formulation and reformulation of public policies and development programs in Brazil.
The Observer Research Foundation (ORF) in New Delhi, a pace-setter in setting the BRICS intellectual agenda has commendably initiated a dialogue within the BRICS think-tank community aimed at arriving at a ‘long-term vision’ for BRICS. This is an exercise facing major challenges which, in the process, begs the question about a long-term vision for that other minilateral platform, the India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) Trilateral Dialogue Forum.
There is a hidden world of intra-BRICS cooperation that occurs without attracting much public comment or debate. While commentators in both the Global North and South are quick to blame the yearly BRICS Leaders' Summits for their supposed lack of substance, few make the effort to do research and find out about the multitude of intra-BRICS ties that have been created since the BRICs (then still without South Africa) had their first informal encounter on the sidelines of the 61st UN General Assembly.The meetings that have occured since the beginning of the year illustrate this point. In 2013 the BRICS…
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 127, December 2012 Download-English [pdf].Economic Diplomacy Programme The Chinese government has attached great importance to the country’s relationship with South Africa. South Africa is the first developing country to which China has proposed establishing a ‘comprehensive strategic partnership’.
Thursday, 23 May 2013 15:04

BRICS star rises with new WTO boss

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Last week’s election of Roberto Azevêdo, a Brazilian diplomat, to head the World Trade Organisation, has been widely interpreted as an event illustrative of the changing global balance of power. His election represents the first time someone from a BRICS country – and only the second time someone from the Global South – is installed in this powerful position.
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 126, December 2012Click here to download the Paper in English from SAIIA [pdf].Published by the SAIIA Economic Diplomacy ProgrammeSouth Africa is a member of both the G-20 and the BRICS, which is a significant positioning for the country’s global strategy. This further enhances the country’s weight as Africa’s powerhouse. This membership occurs at a time when global governance is in a sustained state of flux, with no discernible leadership anchorage.
Tuesday, 21 May 2013 15:54

Analysts caution EAC on Brics bank

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Dar es Salaam. While financial experts are optimistic of the Brics initiative to set up a bank that will lead to less rigid lending conditions, others fear that it will open doors for the institution to tap into Africa’s resources.
While discussions around the 5th BRICS Summit in Durban were dominated by the creation of the BRICS Development Bank, another important decision was overlooked by many: The leaders of the BRICS decided  to create a U$ 100 billion Contingency Reserve Arrangement (CRA) to tackle any possible financial crisis in the emerging economies. Contrary to the Development Bank, the contingency fund requires far fewer political negotiations, and it can be expected to start operating quite soon. The countries need a year to pass the relevant legislation, but policy makers believe that they will be able to reach a final agreement when…
Thursday, 25 April 2013 14:44

BRICS to unlock Africa’s potential

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BRICS-Summit-South-Africa-Emerging-Powers-Global-South-Human-Development-InequalityFIVE years ago, a group of emerging markets, Brazil, Russia, India and China came together to form the BRIC with South Africa joining the group later in 2010 to form what is now called the BRICS member states, whose objectives are to enhance peace, security, development and co-operation.
These emerging powerhouses will sit down this week and look to create a development bank. The policy implications of such a bank should give Canadian policy-makers pause.
Monday, 22 April 2013 11:00

Video: South Africa's Role in BRICS

South Africa hosted the Brics summit in Durban recently. Analysts say South Africa's inclusion in Brics could inspire other African countries to learn how to achieve economic progress.Joining ABN’s Samantha Loring to discuss South Africa's role in BRCS is Christopher Wood, Researcher in Economic Diplomacy at SAIIA and Abdullah Verachia, Head Of The India-Africa Business Network at GIBS.


Catherine Grant-Makokera delivering her presentation, "Deepening BRICS Engagement for more effective Global Economic Governance" at the China Institute for Reform and Development (CIRD) from 3 to 5 November 2012.Grant-Makokera is head of the Economic Diplomacy Programme at the South African Institute of International Affairs.


Brazil, Russia, India and China were originally grouped by Jim O’Neil as BRICs in 2001. These emerging economies were forecast to realise fast economic growth and be larger than some of the developed economies. In 2006, this group officially became a diplomatic-political entity called BRIC. South Africa officially joined in 2011 and the acronym was extended to BRICS.
Monday, 15 April 2013 09:51

Taming the dragon

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Delhi:  In many senses, the Brics Summit in Durban on March 26-27 has been a wake-up call for India. The strategic costs of policy confusion and paralysis at home, and the foreign policy implications of a floundering economy, have become obvious. Brics began as a two-horse race -  a teaming of emerging economies led by China and India. Today, it is dominated by China with no hope of India catching up in the near future. The gap between the two countries’ GDPs -  China’s is four times India’s GDP -  is simply too big to even contemplate bridging. This has had consequences. In South Africa, the Brics host, and in the African continent in general, China is the much more important power. Between India’s “historical relations” and “traditional support” and China’s overwhelming economic heft, there is no doubt which is winning.
It is impossible to tell how historians fifty years from now will judge this first decade-and-a-half of the 21st century. Three things, however, are reasonably certain. They will note it was a period of profound transformations in the global economy, notably the rapid shift in the balance of power between the established "old" industrialised powers of the North and the emerging "new" ones of the South. They will say this shift resulted in a search for a global system of governance more in tune with the "new" realities than the "old" settlement reached in the wake of World War II.…
by Economic Diplomacy Research TeamSAIIA Policy Briefing 63, March 2013Click here to download the Policy Briefing in English from SAIIA [pdf].Trade among the BRICS countries has shown progressive growth over the past decade. Although foreign direct investment (FDI) flows in all of the countries have increased, intra-BRICS flows do not correlate with trade figures. Overall, there is less clarity on specific detail of FDI flows among the five countries, and on how they can be encouraged. With respect to outward FDI, there seems to be little strategic policy direction. The policy briefing outlines the existing outward investment motivations and destinations for each of the countries, and the historical sources of FDI for the BRICS. It provides a series of policy recommendations, which are aimed at enhancing FDI flows among the BRICS.
What effect could trade with, and investment and aid from, the BRICS (Brazil, Russian Federation, India, China and South Africa) have on growth, employment and structural transformation in Africa? How can Africa maximize the benefits of its engagement with the BRICS, and minimize the risks? This study answers these two questions via a comparative analysis of BRICS’ practices in their cooperation with Africa, and offers policy recommendations. Click here to download the publication from UNECA [pdf].
by Natalya Volchkova and Maria RyabtsevaSAIIA Occasional Paper No 135, February 2013Click here to download the paper in English from the SAIIA site [pdf].  The paper investigates the features of Russia–South Africa relations in light of their membership in BRICS and the G-20. Collaboration with South Africa contributes to the creation of the multipolar world order and strengthens Russia’s position in such global governance institutions as the G-20, IMF and the World Trade Organization (WTO). It also helps to create global legitimacy of the multipolar system of international relations. The BRICS arrangement is an important intermediate negotiation ground between individual…
The fourth meeting of the BRICS Trade and Economic Research Network (BRICS TERN) took place in Durban on 13 and 14 March 2013, hosted by the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA).The BRICS TERN brings together think tanks and senior policy makers from BRICS countries to exchange views on trade, investment and economic policy issues.

  • Location Durban, South Africa
Don't talk to me about giblets," International Relations and Co-operation Minister Maite Nkoane-Mashabane reportedly said during last week’s Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) business summit. This remark reveals several things about the nature of the Brics forum, and co-operation on trade matters in particular.The fact that Nkoane-Mashabane’s department leads on Brics matters places the grouping squarely in the geopolitical realm. Brics presidential summitry revolves around United Nations (UN) Security Council co-operation, and co-ordination in the Group of 20 (G-20) heads of states’ global economic agenda, although the core of the economic agenda lies in the hands of…
Wednesday, 03 April 2013 11:18

Brics: SA needs a strategy that works for Africa

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South Africa’s role as the voice of Africa’s interests at the fifth Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) summit will be tested by how well it can gain tangible benefits for itself and manage the rising expectations over the benefits it can leverage for the continent, through its place at the Brics table, according to policy analysts.The position South Africa has adopted as the champion of the continent, is a largely self-imposed one, and is contested by other African nations, said Memory Dube, senior researcher at the South Africa Institute for International Affairs.To succeed, it required a comprehensive and articulate Brics strategy that puts South Africa’s interests first, and an African development agenda that considers the competition of Brics nations on the continent, she said.Dube was speaking at a media briefing hosted by the institute ahead of the fifth Brics summit in Durban being held on Tuesday and Wednesday.Following…
Wednesday, 03 April 2013 11:06

The eThekwini Declaration: An analysis

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The Fifth BRICS Summit concluded the first cycle of BRICS Summits, after the 1st Summit in Yekaterinburg (2009), Brasília (2010), Sanya (2011) and New Delhi (2012). The 2013 eThekwini Declaration continues the trend of successively widening and deepening cooperation between the BRICS. The 5th BRICS Summit, hence, can be deemed a success. The declaration has an assertive ring to it:"We aim at progressively developing BRICS into a full-fledged mechanism of current and long-term coordination on a wide range of key issues of the world economy and politics." (2)
Recently, SAIIA brought together outstanding South African high school learners to host their own model BRICS Summit to discuss the creation of the BRICS Development Bank. Each school represented one of the five BRICS countries in a special negotiation session that resulted in the creation of a BRICS Youth Communiqué.Youth@SAIIA learners Morategi Kale and Thokozani Nhlapo were given the chance to interview delegates of the BRICS Summit for a special segment on CCTV. CCTV's Guy Henderson produced this story for the Africa Live current affairs show.


Wednesday, 27 March 2013 00:00

BRICS Voices - Youth views on the BRICS

In the lead-up to the Fifth Summit of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) grouping, the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) invited high-school learners to debate the key issues surrounding the BRICS and develop a Youth BRICS Communique containing their recommendations.Two learners will present the Communique to members of the press and diplomatic corps on the day before the Summit. In this video, some of the youth participants explain their views on the BRICS and what they learned from the experience.=======Since South Africa's accession to the BRICS group of emerging powers in 2011, there has been…


South Africa will host the fifth BRICS Summit from 26 to 27 March 2013 at the Durban International Convention Centre (ICC). This will complete the first cycle of BRICS summits.These summits are convened to seek common ground on areas of importance for these major economies. Talks represent spheres of political and entrepreneurial coordination, in which member countries have identified several business opportunities, economic complementarities and areas of cooperation. Read more on the offical BRICS Summit 2013 website.

  • Location Durban, South Africa
Brendan Vickers, from the Department of Trade and Industry, South Africa, is interviewed by the GEG Africa project ( on the BRICS trade agenda.=======Since South Africa's accession to the BRICS group of emerging powers in 2011, there has been sustained interest in South Africa's role in the shifting dynamics of global economic governance. Given that South Africa will be hosting the BRICS Summit in 2013, this attention will only increase throughout the coming year.A series of video interviews, papers and reports on the BRICS are available from


Friday, 22 March 2013 00:00

BRICS Academic Forum: recommendations

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Durban:  The 5th BRICS Academic Forum, comprising experts and scholars from the research and academic institutions of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, met on the 11th and 12th of March 2013 in Durban. Given that the BRICS have covered significant ground since the inception of the partnership five years’ ago, the Forum believes that they must build upon the progress made in the first five-year cycle of BRICS by consolidating the agreements reached and the achievements registered and by making further concrete proposals for realising the unfolding objectives of the BRICS partnership.The theme for this year’s Forum, “BRICS…
There has not been a group of countries who have come together in recent years and quite captured the imagination like the BRICS. Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa would have seemed like unlikely bedfellows in the not-too-distant past but they are now actively pursuing a common agenda that covers a wide range of political, economic and social issues.The potential collective power that these countries could wield in global governance terms is causing some consternation in the traditional powers of Europe and the United States of America. This is reflected by academic commentators and popular media who cynically question…
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