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Emerging Powers, BRICS and Africa (369)

Media reports in the run up to the BRICS summit (in New Delhi, 29 March 2012) as well as immediately after touched on a variety of issues pertinent to the BRICS grouping currently. A review of some of the leading publications showed the main stories were around the issue of South Africa's membership, currency issues, the World Bank presidency, the proposed BRICS development bank as well as the issue of Iran and its nuclear weapons programme. The following is a brief synopsis of the media reports.
South Africa's currency debate focuses on whether to emulate China and other predominantly East Asian countries by pegging the Rand. Import competing manufacturing companies and associated trade unions plus industrial policy advocates in government advocate pegging the currency at 'competitive' levels. Many macroeconomists in the banking sector, Treasury, and South African Reserve Bank are wary of inflationary consequences.
The outcome of the Busan High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness was significant because it sought to bridge the divide between North-South and South-South cooperation, notwithstanding the existing divergent views each side held on the issue. Busan responded to the changing development landscape, in which South-South cooperation was becoming increasingly important, by agreeing to establish a new Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation that would also see the phasing out of the Working Party on Aid Effectiveness.
SAIIA Policy Briefing 47, March 2012
Indian President Pratibha Patil was in South Africa this month, accompanied by a business delegation that is looking to explore the potential for opportunities. President Jacob Zuma stressed the importance of enhancing relations with India in both infrastructure and trade.
In the run-up to the BRICS Summit at the end of March 2012, the South African Institute of International Affairs and the International Development Law Unit at the University of Pretoria jointly hosted a study group on South Africa's approach to BRICS in support of the core economic priorities of the Government of South Africa. This was also an opportunity to analyse the value-add of BRICS membership to South Africa's economic priorities and to review the progress made so far since South Africa's admission to the group.
4 April 2012: In March 2012, South Africa attended its second summit as a member of the exclusive group of emerging economies known as BRICS. While it's Africa's biggest economy, many wonder what makes South Africa eligible to join Brazil, Russia, India and China as a member of this influential club of developing markets. The head of SAIIA's Economic Diplomacy Programme Catherine Grant speaks to Talk Radio 702's Redi Tlhabi about what South Africa's brings to the BRICS grouping and whether there are other economies with much more to offer. SAIIA would like to thanks Talk Radio 702 ( for…
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 114, March 2012
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 113, March 2012
On March 29th BRICS Heads of State will gather in Delhi. Forging a common trade and investment platform is a challenging proposition. It is easier for the leaders to focus on what unites them in international economic negotiations, rather than what divides them in bilateral relations. However, some attention will have to be paid to those differences if their cooperation on the international stage is to be fruitful.
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 110, March 2012
“BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) group of countries has a special significance in the emerging global economic order and they are set of reshape the economic, trade and political future of the world,” said Wang Xinkui, President of the Shanghai WTO Consultation Center. He was speaking on the occasion of the launch of BRICS Trade & Economics Research Network (BRICS-TERN) in Shanghai on Saturday, the 19th of November 2011. Gong Baihua, Associate President of SCCWTO welcomed the participants to this meeting.
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 108, February 2012
That the world is in a process of fundamental geopolitical and geo-economic change is obvious. However, the contours of change and what they portend for South Africa are difficult to discern, particularly in our navel-gazing, domestic politics-obsessed environment. So, for this South African, participating in the World Economic Forum's recent summit in Davos (25 - 29 January 2012) was illuminating. The geopolitical-economy discussion running throughout the conference centred on three key themes: the future of US power; China's ascent to power; and the future of the European Union (EU).
The South African Institute of International Affairs, in conjunction with the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business, is to host Michael Porter in a talk entitled “China & Africa: A symbiotic relationship?” The talk takes place on February 7 at 12.30pm at Chamber House, Royal Show Grounds. 
The 4th High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness held in Busan, Korea, in late November 2011, like the COP 17 conference in Durban, is yet another marker of the shifting fortunes of relations between so-called traditional donors, emerging powers and Africa. Coming against the backdrop of the decade-long trend away from financial transfers of donor aid to investment in developing countries and, concurrently, the emergence of China as the continent's top trading partner and a key provider of loans to Africa, the Forum was ripe with possibility of change.
The 8th Ministerial conference (MC8) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) is now done and dusted. Once again the world held its breath hoping that the trade ministers would give a more concrete indication on what is to happen with the Doha Development Agenda (DDA). A variety of issues were discussed, such as a different negotiating approach and the need to deliver on the Doha mandate, but no decisions were made. Even the much anticipated least developed countries (LDC) package failed to materialise, showing just how difficult it is to agree on issues even where countries are agreed in principle.…
The South African Institute of International Affairs has released a host of new publications highlighting various emerging policy issues and areas of engagement between the African continent and China. The China-Africa Project, which began its activities in 2007, has produced a number of country-based analyses on several African countries, as well as sectoral analyses in telecommunications, finance, agriculture, resources, development assistance and special economic zones. The publications seek to contribute to a better understanding of China's overall strategy in Africa, assessing its impact on development and governance on the continent.
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 103, December 2011
SAIIA Policy Briefing No 41, December 2011
22 December 2011: SAIIA's National Director, Elizabeth Sidiropoulos, looks back at the major foreign policy developments from a South African and African perspective. Has South Africa benefitted from joining the Brazil-Russia-India-China (BRIC, now called the BRICS) group of emerging powers? How did the country do in its second term as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council? And what foreign policy lessons should President Jacob Zuma as his government take away in the light of this year's Libya crisis as a member of the African Union? 
21 December 2011: The head of SAIIA's Economic Diplomacy Programme, Catherine Grant-Makokera, looks back at some of the major economic issues in 2011 from a South African and African perspective. She presents her perspective on European debt crisis, it's impact on European Union trade ties with Southern African states and where China fits into all of this. She also looks ahead and explains why regional integration in Africa will be a hot topic in 2012.
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 102, November 2011
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 101, November 2011
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 98, November 2011
SAIIA Policy Briefing No 39, November 2011
SAIIA Policy Briefing No 37, November 2011
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 96, October 2011