News / Africa

South Africa Moves to Strengthen its Economic Standing

South Africa Moves to Strengthen its Economic Standingi
X
March 15, 2013 1:42 PM
South Africa is set to host it first BRICS summit as the newest member of this group of developing economies comprising Brazil, Russia, India and China. As the Durban meeting approaches later this month, the question in South Africa is what will this do for the country and the continent? VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Anita Powell
South Africa is set to host it first BRICS summit as the newest member of this group of developing economies comprising Brazil, Russia, India and China.  As the Durban meeting approaches later this month, South African are wondering what its role as host will bring to the country -- and the continent.

South Africa, the smallest economy in BRICS, joined the group in 2011, expecting it would strengthen the nation’s position globally, and offset the great influence wielded by traditional Western powers.

“Our ties are historic," said South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Masabane, noting that her nation has long had economic and cultural relations to several of the BRICS nations, notably India and China.

Analyst Lyal White, head of the Center for Dynamic Markets at the Gordon Institute of Business Studies, said while South Africa may not technically belong in this elite group, it is the continent’s powerhouse and provides a gateway to African markets. 

"It’s an opportunity for South Africa to really punch above its weight in global fora and to really engage with the global agenda at the very highest level and to drive the economic and political future of the developing world," he said.

Johannesburg is a multicultural city and has long been a hub for immigrants from around the world.

Shopkeeper Zubair Ismail gets all of his goods from India and China. But if he had the chance to address the BRICS members, he says he’d make a surprising request.

"Basically the main thing would be to stop imports from China, India or wherever, and try and rebuild our manufacturing locally. Because that would increase our employment and would also give everyone a scope, from manufacturing to wholesaling to retailing locally," he said.

Across town at the city’s oldest Chinese store, business is good. The store has deep ties to the local community and has been going strong for 60 years. Owner King Pon says BRICS is unlikely to change that.

"People are very capitalistic. I don’t really think you need your major BRICS government agreements for people to do business. Where there’s money, people will flock," he said.

Critics say that BRICS is not a new dynamic - just another form of colonialism that allows rich nations to exploit Africa.

Academic Patrick Bond says BRICS will be disastrous for the continent. 

"It’s extraction that is so devastating to [the] environment and to people, and what BRICS, what it looks like it’s trying to do, is make that more formal and legitimate, and more fluid, with more finance," he said.

BRICS governments would argue that finance is the key to counter exploitation and they plan to use the summit to unveil their own development bank to benefit the African continent and beyond.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Researcher: Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor at Symposium on Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome says problem involves more than calorie intake, warns of worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs