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The Weekly Roundup

Friday, 25/08/2023

Prime minister Narendra Modi of India (L), President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa (C) and China's President Xi Jinping at the 15th BRICS summit in Johannesburg. (Photo: MARCO LONGARI / POOL / AFP)

What does BRICS expansion mean for Africa?

Six new countries will be invited to join the BRICS group of emerging economies from 1 January 2024, including two African nations – Egypt and Ethiopia.

The announcement was made this week at a summit of the group’s leaders in Johannesburg, where President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa welcomed the presidents of Brazil, India and China and the foreign minister of Russia.

The economic heft of BRICS is attractive – its current members now account for over a quarter of global GDP. There is huge scope for exciting trading opportunities and amplifying their voice in global affairs.

But just how transformative membership of the bloc can be is up for debate. China's economy, the largest in the bloc, is undergoing significant strain. War-wracked Russia is expected to grow by just 1.5%, South Africa by 0.3%.

And as Jim O'Neill – the economist who coined the original BRIC acronym – told us, talk of a BRICS currency is a pipe dream given the diverging economic and political interests of the members.

Many African countries will wish BRICS well, and some may even push to join, but it's too early to say whether the upstarts will displace the established order.

David Thomas, Editor, African Business

B U S I N E S S   B R I E F S

JUMIA SHARES FALL FOLLOWING DOWNBEAT RESULTS Pan-African e-commerce company Jumia lost approximately lost 16% of its value in 24 hours after showing poor results for Q2 2023. >> Read more

BRICS BANK SELLS RAND-DENOMINATED BONDS The New Development Bank, formed by BRICS countries in 2014, has conducted its first sale of bonds denominated in South African rand. The move could boost the development of capital market infrastructure in South Africa, say experts. >> Read more

AFRICA RACES TO DEVELOP COOLING INFRASTRUCTURE Severe heatwaves highlight the need for improved access to sustainable cooling and cold-chain services across Africa. >> Read more

WILL SOUTH AFRICA HOST NEXT FIFA WOMEN'S WORLD CUP? South Africa is bidding for the 2027 women's tournament after hosting the men's event in 2010, but faces stiff competition to host the increasingly popular event. >> Read more


Could a BRICS currency challenge the US dollar?

Africa, and South Africa in particular, could be critical to efforts to dislodge the US dollar from its place at the foundation of the world’s financial systems. >> Read more

BRICS in action: Bringing Brazilian agriculture to Africa

As the BRICS countries meet in Johannesburg, the renewal of ties between Brazil and Africa could offer an outlet for ambitious Brazilian firms. >> Read more

Zimbabwe goes to the polls in presidential election

As Zimbabweans await the results of Wednesday’s presidential election, which was extended by one day due to delays, we explore the economic backdrop to the polls. >> Read more


Deeper international partnerships will boost Africa’s growth

Opinion piece by:

Lungisa Fuzile, CEO of Standard Bank South Africa

Africa remains a compelling growth story. Over the next several decades, Africa’s population will continue to grow rapidly, and Africans will continue to become healthier, wealthier, better educated, more urbanised, more digitally connected, and more productive.

Several studies predict that by the end of this century, 13 of the 20 biggest cities in the world will be in Africa, up from just two today, and so will more than a third of the world’s people. >> Read more


What happens when you take the individual customer and place them at the centre of the banking universe?

The traditional banking model faces existential threats. Backbase SVP Strategy Tim Rutten shares the Engagement Banking vision. >> Read more

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