Push­ing for diplo­matic ac­tion

Finweek English Edition - - BUSINESS TRENDS CALL CENTRES - LEANI WES­SELS leani.wes­sels@fin­week.co.za

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.

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