The Rise of the BRICS in the Global Political Economy

The Rise of the BRICS in the Global Political Economy

Changing Paradigms?

Edited by Vai Io Lo and Mary Hiscock

Taking an interdisciplinary approach, Vai Io Lo and Mary Hiscock, together with scholars and researchers from around the world, investigate the rise of the BRICS and assess the extent of their further development and influence from the perspectives of economics, international relations and law.

Chapter 7: Joining the BRICs: The case of South Africa

Laurence Boulle and Jessie Chella

Subjects: development studies, development economics, economics and finance, political economy, politics and public policy, political economy


This chapter examines and evaluates the accession of the Republic of South Africa (RSA) to the BRIC group of nations in April 2011. Given the fact that South Africa was, in several respects, an unlikely candidate for membership, and it remains the junior member in terms of most relevant indicators, the usage the ëBRICsí (as opposed to the BRICS) has been adopted here to identify the group post-RSA accession. Adoption of the lower case has a symbolism beyond the convenience of providing an acronymic plural for the BRIC ñ it suggests that in many respects South Africa is a limited player in a grouping of emerging economies which could be a potential force in the global political economy (World Bank, 2011a). The accession of South Africa will be examined in the context of current themes in international affairs and regional relations, and with reference to some prominent issues in the global political economy. It considers factors that could have motivated the inclusion of a country which might in many respects have been overlooked as a potential BRICs member, and reflects on the roles which the new member might play in the BRICs institutional environment. It concludes with reflections on themes of inclusion and exclusion in contemporary state-to-state relations and group formations, with particular relevance to other potential inclusions in the BRICs. The BRICs has been referred to, in a metaphor derived from the world sport of soccer, as the ëpremier leagueí of emerging markets (Ernst & Young, 2011).

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