The ‘s’ in BRICs is lower case, pluralising the grouping of the world’s large and dynamic emerging economies. But South Africa’s aspirations to make it BRICS with a capital ‘S’ became clearer when Russia revealed Pretoria had “applied” to join.
Just what an application to join the BRICs means is still a bit unclear. Although Brazil, Russia, India and China have met for two summits and are due to hold a third in China next year to discuss common interests, the acronym was coined in 2001 by Jim O’Neill, now chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset management and at the time the bank’s chief economist.
Rwanda led the table again as Africa’s top reformer in the World Bank’s annual Ease of Doing Business survey. Although it was beaten into second place by Kazakhstan on the global list, in Africa it moved up 12 places to a global rank of 58th.
Among the other usual suspects doing well in Africa were Ghana and Cape Verde, both up 10 places to 67th and 132nd places respectively. It will be interesting to see what impact the start of oil production in Ghana will have, when the new source of income may mean less need to appeal to foreign donors and investors.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The International Monetary Fund on Thursday sought to head off a battle over currency values and restore global economic cooperation strained by an uneven recovery from the financial crisis.
IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn said at a news conference that a weakening in the spirit of cooperation that grew out of the crisis was regrettable and said an adjustment in currency values must be part of economic rebalancing.
A few weeks back it was HSBC announcing news of its talks for South Africa’s Nedbank. Now it is the world’s biggest retailer, Wal-Mart, seeking a foothold on the continent with a plan to buy South Africa’s Massmart for more than $4 billion.
The idea of Wal-Mart bidding for one of South Africa’s retailers had been around for a while as it focuses on international growth.
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There is no shortage of signs of foreign investor interest in Africa as it transforms its image to one of rapid growth and away from the old stereotypes – with even Bob Geldof now planning a private equity fund.
Africa’s rapid growth over the past few years is changing its image and has very much put it on the agenda of investors seeking higher returns than they can get elsewhere.
But the latest Global Competitiveness Report from the World Economic Forum suggests that African countries – and particularly its biggest economies – are at best stagnating and at worst backsliding when it comes to how well they can compete.
Mining companies are looking more cautiously at South Africa after a brouhaha over shady deals. Media and diplomats are nervous of measures they fear could curtail press freedom. South Africans in general are wondering how much damage an ongoing public sector strike will do and whether it is a sign of worse labour unrest to come.
But global banking giant HSBC certainly seems to be taking a positive long term view of Africa’s biggest economy with its talks to buy up to 70 percent of South Africa’s Nedbank in a deal that could be worth more than $8 billion.
Would you order three new jets just so your successor could use them?
President Goodluck Jonathan is keeping Nigerians guessing as to whether he plans to stand in elections due next January, but suspicions are growing that he will eventually decide to contest.
Plans he has set out range from boosting power supply – perhaps Nigeria’s most critical need – to improving roads. Those are certainly not projects that anyone could complete quickly. On Wednesday, cabinet approved the purchase of three presidential jets at a cost of $150 million – adding to the suspicions he sees himself making use of them.
SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Africa offers among the world’s best investment prospects as emerging markets grow ever more important, although its economies risk being destabilized by the slew of capital they stand to attract in coming years.
Energy-producing continental giant Nigeria was identified as a top pick by some of the most influential figures in emerging markets finance who spoke to the Reuters Emerging Markets Summit in Sao Paulo last week.