South Africa in the BRICS-Africa Relationship

BRICS and Africa
Ambitions, Challenges, and Paradoxes
By Folashadé Soulé-Kohndou

South Africa’s place among the BRICS raises a number of issues. Seen from a macroeconomic point of view, the small size of its GDP, its growth, and its population make its inclusion in this group of large emerging economies questionable. The invitation extended to it in December 2010 to join the group was first and foremost the result of diplomatic initiatives. This paper analyzes the diplomatic strategies South Africa deployed in order to join the group and demonstrates its diplomatic instrumentalization of its self-appointed status as leader in Africa and linchpin of the BRICS-Africa relationship. This instrumentalization, which primarily serves its own interests, did not take place without causing a number of undesirable effects.


  • South Africa
  • diplomacy
  • South-South relations
  • Nelson Mandela
  • Thabo Mbeki
  • Jacob Zuma
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