The Bric countries are making headlines in Africa but when it comes to doing business there are plenty of other emerging economies that are also digging deep into the fast-growing continent.

Standard Bank highlights the EM 10 – ten emerging economies that have seen their trade triple in the last decade to $330bn. The big four are the Brics, with a $250bn share in 2011, but the remaining six states between them account for a full $80bn – and are seeing their activities grow faster than the Brics.

The six states include two African nations, Nigeria and South Africa, which is a bit of a cheat. The others won’t come as a surprise to beyondbrics readers - Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, and Turkey. But it’s worth noting how diverse Africa’s trade is becoming.

Standard Bank analyst Simon Freemantle wrote in a research note on Friday:

The BRIC thesis, while neatly encapsulated in a powerful acronym, has become increasingly insufficient in explaining the broad sweep of new partnerships Africa is forging in a postcrisis world. Other large, fast-growing and dynamic emerging markets are increasingly partnering Africa’s commercial reinvigoration

“Insufficient” might be a bit of a stretch. Standard Bank’s research shows that China, India and Brazil make up more than three-quarters of Africa’s trade with the EM 10 – China alone accounts for almost half. (Russia, by comparison, is relatively small).


The EM 10′s combined growth in trade with Africa has been meteoric – especially when compared to the US and the European Union.

Most of that rise is down to the Brics, of course. But Africa’s trade with the other six economies is expected to be worth around $80bn in 2011 – not very far behind its trade with the US. Nigeria’s trade with rest of Africa grew seven-fold over the decade, Turkey’s grew four-fold, and all 10 saw trade with Africa swell at a faster rate than Africa’s overall trade growth.

Why these 10 countries in particular? Freemantle picks out two main reasons:

Firstly, based on strong domestic growth and increasing internationalisation, these ten economies are playing a greater role in shaping the globe. And, secondly, a common strand in each of these country’s respective advances has been the importance placed on deepening commercial and strategic ties with Africa.

Nigeria and South Africa have also benefited from being fellow African countries – the two produce just 5 per cent of the EM10′s total output, but account for 11 per cent of Africa’s trade with the group.

Saudi Arabia might seem a surprising choice, especially as its trade with Africa is only modest at present. But Freemantle points out that the Kingdom’s enormous foreign exchange reserves, at $550bn, will increasingly be invested in African markets – “based largely on the need to secure new sources of agricultural production”.

Meanwhile, multinationals from Indonesia, Thailand and Turkey have begun to build a presence in Africa that’s comparable to some of their Bric rivals. In December, Indonesian conglomerate the Bakrie Group said it would invest $1 billion over five years into the Nigerian resource sector.

Also last year, Turkish home appliances maker Arcelic agreed to buy South African company Defy Appliances for $327m; while last month, Thailand’s state-owned oil and gas group PTT put in a $1.8bn bid for Cove Energy, the oil and gas explorer focused on Mozambique, and India’s state energy groups – ONGC and GAIL – said they were considering a bid. Their rival is Royal Dutch Shell. How’s that for an old world/new world tussle over Africa?

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