South Africa wants to be 5th “BRIC”, Russia says


South Africa has “applied” to join the four-member “BRIC” grouping of fast-growing emerging markets, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said at the Group of 20 meeting this morning. South Africa is the world’s 31st-largest economy, according to World Bank data for 2009 and is less than a quarter the size of the smallest “BRIC” economy, Russia, in the informal grouping that also numbers Brazil, India and China.

“There are a number of requests to join BRIC, in particular an application by the South African republic,” Medvedev told a news conference, saying other members agreed. Some economists have already dubbed fast-growing Indonesia as the next “BRIC”, a term invented in 2001 by Jim O’Neill, the chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management.

When contacted by Reuters for his view on whether South Africa should be included, O’Neill issued a terse reply: “No”. South Africa’s economy is projected by its government to grow just 2.3 percent this year, hardly the blistering pace seen in other BRIC countries. The BRIC countries have sought greater clout for their grouping, holding a summit in Russian in 2009.

Some investors make asset allocations based on the BRIC classification and all of the countries that currently make up the grouping have seen their global financial clout increase substantially in recent years.