I must first declare an interest. In the first half of this year I worked as part of the project team for this book.
‘Half Way There’ is being launched this evening. It is a book on the five-nation BRICS alliance, exploring the political, economic and social structures in these five nations – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
The authors are Chris Hart and Glenn Silverman, and along with their Investment Solutions colleague Lesiba Mothata, they visited all five BRICS nations to explore not only how these countries fit together – or not – but also the complexities of each individual country.
‘Halfway There’ is an excellent title. Where are the BRICS going, and what progress are they making? Is this a convenient club uniting an anti-Western grouping of nations, or is it something which will develop its own reason for existence, in economic terms? All these questions are addressed.
There is also a series of analytical tools which are used by the authors to probe below the surface of each country, with possibly the most impressive being the concept of National Scars. These are the issues or eras which have scarred each nation, and which form the backdrop to their policies of today. In South Africa, the scar is apartheid, and similar scars have been identified for the other BRICS as well.
Many other clusters of nations have emerged since the BRIC grouping (later to become the BRICS) was identified by economist Jim O’Neill. But the BRICS now have their own development bank, a business council, and regular summits.
The grouping is important to South Africa, which arguably is too puny a nation to really belong in this club. I was lucky enough to sit in on many of the research meetings with CEOs, academics and others as the team did a thorough job of researching their own country, looking at it through fresh eyes.
Chris Hart and Glenn Silverman are both impressive individuals and took on this marathon task in a short time period, not neglecting their day jobs. Together they led a team of talented people, and it is a remarkable achievement that this book has now been written and published.
This is an excellent and important book. Buy it.
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