Pushing for diplomatic action
THE INCLUSION OF South Africa into the world’s sexiest economic club was met with much media clamour last week. But Lyal White, of the Gordon Institute of Business, says it depends whether the Government takes charge to ensure the Bric – Brazil, Russia, India, China – label means something to SA’s economy. White says a serious diplomatic push needs to happen as soon as possible to ensure trade, travel and tax regulations make it easy for Bric nations to do business in SA. “This invitation means we’re being recognised for our connection to the rest of the continent. The Bric nations want Africa in the picture,” says White. SA doesn’t measure up to China, India, Brazil or Russia’s market sizes or economies, he says.
However, White says it’s imperative Government uses diplomatic means to get Bric nations preferential entry into our markets, especially China and Russia, which includes pushing for open and preferential trade agreements with the SADC region to ensure the easy movement of goods and services between those countries. Government should also ensure its policies are in concert with the ambitions and regulations of business. Being part of the Bric club is purely a business opportunity. “Government needs to make sure its policies allow our economy a leg-up into this market to allow us to compete,” he says.
Importantly, SA needs to remember Africa’s resources and potentially billionstrong market is the reason the Bric countries are even giving us the time of day, says White.