Counting the Cost? A Cautionary Analysis of South Africa’s BRICS Membership
AbstractBRICS is a grouping of five major developing countries that includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, all with the ambition of changing the governance architecture of international political-economy but with claims to speedy industrialization, fast growing economies and relatively strong regional and global influence. South Africa joined BRICS at the invitation of China in 2010 and has shown commitment to the group through friendly relations with other member countries. The country’s extensive economic links with China and the other BRICS states underpinned its strategy of diversifying its external trade especially with regard to looking away from West. This article employs content analysis to reflect on South Africa’s membership of BRICS, focusing specifically on the country’s relations with China. It argues that, while South Africa’s economic indicators do not fit well with the BRICS grouping, China is promoting this relationship in order to counter the West’s neo-imperialism and neo-liberal rhetoric. South Africa’s willingness to accept Chinese superiority in the African market and to act as a junior partner in the global power configuration makes the country the perfect choice for this project.
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