The uniting of Brazil, Russia, India, and China under the acronym BRIC constitutes an acknowledgment of the significant role that developing economies are likely to play in future global growth and investment opportunities. BRIC encapsulates the importance of the three largest developing countries (Brazil, India, China) and stresses the notability of economic transitions in formerly socialist countries such as Russia. But as interest in BRIC has heated up, Africa—traditionally a central topic in economic development work—has been conspicuous by its absence. In many ways, however, the nation of South Africa can be thought of as the African BRIC: all in all, it’s just another BRIC in the emerging market wall.
South Africa is Africa’s single largest economy and fourth most populous country. Its economy in 2008 was larger than the next two largest economies (Nigeria and Angola) combined. The per capita GDP (gross domestic product) of about $10,000 in 2008 (see Table 1) is the third highest in sub-Saharan Africa, following Equatorial Guinea and Botswana. South Africa’s technological and industrial base is one of the most sophisticated on the continent, and it has an enviable road and transport system.