Area: 1.22 million square kilometres
Population: 52.981 million
Capital: Pretoria (administrative), Cape Town (legislative), Bloemfontein (judiciary)
Head of state: President Jacob Zuma
State system: A parliamentary republic
- South Africa is home to the Cradle of Humankind, the oldest known prehistoric burial site.
- South Africa is third in the world for the purity of its municipal water.
- South Africa has 11 official languages, with the majority of people fluent in at least three.
SA’s role as the ‘S’ in BRICS
There are many reasons why South Africa was invited to join the BRIC countries in 2010. To name but a few, South Africa is the world’s richest country in mineral reserves, it has the largest economy in Sub-Saharan Africa and it makes up a third of the region’s GDP. The country’s achievements in the fields of science, technology and innovation are also highly commendable, with e.g. a major stake in the Square Kilometre Array. Its inclusion in the African Union (AU), the Group of G77 (G77) and the Group of 20 (G20) also shows its valued influence on African and global matters, and the list goes on. As SA’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation explained, SA’s main aim as a BRICS member is threefold:
- To drive national interests;
- To encourage regional integration and related infrastructure programmes, and;
- To collaborate with key influencers of the South on issues of global governance reforms.
As the ‘S’ in BRICS, South Africa is committed to achieving inclusive growth, sustainable development, a prosperous South Africa and a better Africa in a better world.
SA's Growth in BRICSIn 2014, its total trade with BRICS was R382-billion, from R268-billion in 2011. Africa had doubled its total trade with BRICS since 2007 to $340-billion (R4.2-trillion) in 2012, and this was projected to reach $500-billion in 2015.
increase in South Africa's total trade with BRICS.
What Value Does South Africa Add to BRICS?
- South Africa’s comparative advantage within BRICS pertains to the country’s considerable non-energy in situ mineral wealth. In a recent report commissioned by the US-based Citigroup bank, South Africa was ranked as the world’s richest country in terms of its mineral reserves, worth an estimated US$2,5 trillion. South Africa is the world’s largest producer of platinum, chrome, vanadium and manganese, the third-largest gold-miner, and offers highly sophisticated mining-related professional services, contributing significantly to the BRICS resource pool.
- South Africa is investing R300 billion (US$35,6 billion) into expanding and improving its railways, ports and fuel pipelines, as a catalyst to help unlock the world’s greatest mineral wealth. Africa will also continue to be buoyed by the exploding global demand for oil, metals, minerals, food and other natural resources. Likewise, the African continent, which is arguably one of the world’s largest unexplored resource basins, has an abundance of riches, including 10% of the world’s oil reserves, 40% of its gold ore and 95% of platinum.
- The demand from BRICS countries for these commodities has been a critical source to support growth on the continent.
- South Africa’s financial market development and sophistication, also as a source of exceptionally sophisticated professional services and financial expertise, is globally recognised. The World Economic Forum’s 2011/12 Global Competitiveness Index displayed a high level of confidence in South Africa’s financial market development, ranking the country in fourth place globally on this measure.
- The regulation of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange was ranked number one in the world, as was the strength of South Africa’s auditing and reporting standards. Additionally, South Africa is ranked second for both the soundness of banks and the efficacy of corporate boards.
- South Africa’s excellence in science, technology and innovation is also recognised, e.g. it being awarded the majority stake in hosting the Square Kilometre Array. BRICS countries supported South Africa in obtaining the majority stake.
- South Africa’s export structure to BRICS member countries shows significant diversification and the negative trade balance has also narrowed over the last four years, i.e. from R57 billion in 2008 to R22,8 billion in 2011. South Africa’s export trade with the BRIC partners grew from 6,2% of the total in 2005 to 16,8% in 2011, whereas its imports from the BRIC countries represented 13,6% of total imports in 2005 and 20% in 2011. The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies, has emphasised that in 2011 alone, trade between South Africa and BRICS countries grew by 29%, which is considerable.
- South Africa enjoys recognition as a dedicated and committed global and regional player. South Africa’s constructive role in global governance structures as well as its position within organisations of the South, notably the African Union (AU), the Group of G77 (G77) and China and NAM is appreciated by BRICS and other like-minded partners. South Africa is also the only African country represented in the Group of 20 (G20), which has become an important institution on the reform of the financial and economic global governance architecture.
- South Africa has always been at the forefront of promoting more inclusive formations and more equitable participation of notably emerging markets and developing economies in the world system and its decision-making structures. This belief stems from our core conviction that Africa has to be repositioned in the global system to assume its rightful place. South Africa, together with other African countries, initiated the dialogue with the Group of 8 (G8) in 2000, which led to the subsequent endorsement of the AU’s New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) by the international community at large. At the last BRICS Summit, President Zuma once again strongly articulated this view, also in light of the issue of the World Bank Presidency, where Africa had put forward an exceptionally merit-based candidate.
- South Africa’s own unique historic political transformation process to become a constitutional democracy is perceived as a unique contribution to the world. The country has facilitated similar processes for peace elsewhere in the world.
Latest BRICS South Africa News
Delegates from a number of municipalities across South Africa have picked up expertise on water management after returning from this week’s bi-annual Israel-Africa Water Conference in Tel Aviv, Israel. The WATEC conference was attended by 10,000 visitors, including...read more
The South African economy grew by 2.5 per cent in the second quarter after two quarters of contraction. The second quarter 2017 gross domestic product data released by Statistics South Africa on Tuesday exceeded the consensus forecast of 2.1 per cent as it came in at...read more
South Africa’s Police Ministry on Friday reiterated its stance that measures were in place to tackle increasing levels of crime. This follows the release of the World Economic Forum’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness report, which analysed the state of...read more
PRETORIA – The South African government on Tuesday condemned the launch of a ballistic missile by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) over the territory of Japan. In a statement, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco)...read more
When you identify an opportunity grab it, steer it and keep it on course with everything you have. I believe in steering true north, and now we have an opportunity to chart a new course for the great SAS South Africa. As the chairperson of the Brics – Brazil,...read more
The release of the Tourism 2016 report by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) this week showed that although there was a strong rebound in last year due to the weak rand, which made a holiday in South Africa very cheap for an overseas tourist, the country was still...read more