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The Economist magazine has come up with a smart catch-phrase to depict the outcome of the Brics summit held last week in SA: "Acronymy is better than acrimony".
The phrase neatly captures the moment in a world in which US President Donald Trump is tearing up the rule book and creating uncertainty and distrust. By contrast, the unlikely grouping of Brazil, Russia, India, China and SA is suddenly looking like a great option. In the same way that Brexit has ironically saved the EU by illustrating the perils of breaking away, the Brics grouping has been boosted by a newly uncertain global environment.
As a result, the agenda and popularity of the SA Brics summit have both quickly expanded. Witness, for example, the large number of African leaders who appeared at the summit. Even Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa took time out from a crucial election campaign to attend the summit, which took place less than a week before voting day. Suddenly, everybody now wants in.
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