On Wednesday I was invited by the Russian News Service to come and talk about the BRICS countries economic and political power. The program is called “Inostranets” (“Foreigner”) and they discuss some major political, business and social topics of the day with an expat living in Moscow to find out a foreign point of view on headlines of the day.
The interview Natalia Minaev (Наталья Минаева) was very stern, but she was nodding as we talked, which encouraged me to continue with my thoughts. I also had an interpreter there, the lady by the name of Margarit, who did a fantastic job at keeping up with my fast pace speech. What a great and nerve wrecking experience at times it was, you’re on radio, it’s LIVE you can’t afford to say anything wrong or too controversial that will land you in trouble. So I had to think quick but also filter a lot before I spoke.
The topic of focus was on the BRICS and on why I thought South Africa was invited to join the this elite group of emerging countries.
The BRICS countries are made up of, Brazil, Russia, India, China and now South Africa which was invited to join in 2010. I focused on why South Africa was invited, the benefits of joining and if the group will play any major role in world politics and economics in the near future.
My answer to why South Africa was asked to join was based on the fact that it is the gateway into Africa with a consumer market of a billion and a continent full of raw materials and natural resources/commodities (agriculture and minerals).
The conversation continued on the power of the BRICS. Of course none of us can predict the future but I do believe that the economic power is shifting from the West to the East and South and that the BRICS will in the next three to five years play an important role in global economics and politics. China and India as it is represent a large percentage of the manufacturing industry based on the high levels of manpower they have. South Africa/Africa with its minerals including Russia need to learn not only to import their raw materials/gas but also become more industrialized. We are lacking in the manufacturing sector and by being a part of BRICS we can benefit from the countries who have the infrastructure and knowledge and we too can start exporting products instead of only raw materials. This will create more jobs prospects for the country and its people as well as GDP for the country itself.
I also touched on China’s influence on South Africa/Africa. China remains SA/Africa’s biggest trade partner more than the US. This is a beneficial partnership if both can benefit from each other and not a one way stream. We need China as much as it needs us.
We spoke on Russia’s military power and how BRICS need to encourage and play a bigger role on world forums and economic forums, particularly organisations such the IMF and the World Bank. Some of these organisations tend to have restrictions that slow down trade and of course lending of funds. So the East and South are more about getting things done now, it can’t be all wrong and of course it’s not all right.
I also had questions from listeners which was encouraging to know that someone was listening.
To Listen to the interview here’s the link, it’s in Russian (sorry) : http://rusnovosti.ru/guests/visitor/203964/
A big thank you to Sasha Ondar for setting this up:) and to the team at Rusnovosti for inviting me.