Johannesburg - The $1 trillion agreement to create a free trade bloc of African countries, signed by African leaders over the weekend, would serve as a considerable boost to the Brics accord, said Miller Matola
, CEO of the International Marketing Council, on Monday.
The International Marketing Council, which markets SA under the Brand SA campaign, said the Brics informal grouping of the emerging market economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and, most recently, SA, would welcome the prospect of interacting with a combined unit rather than having to deal with the countries in question on an individual basis.
The agreement would merge three trade blocs on the continent - the Southern African Development Community, the East African Community and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa - to create a single continent-wide market with an estimated value of $1 trillion by 2013.
Matola said 26 countries would form part of the accord. These countries were in southern, central and east Africa, and had an aggregate gross domestic product of $860bn and a combined population of 590 million.
He also said the Brics members would then deal with one massive market, instead of 26 separate ones.
"SA is particularly advantaged as it is the only country that is both a member of Brics and the soon-to-be free trade area," Matola said.
Matola said the proposed Grand Free Trade Area, once it materialised, would promote greater interaction between the Brics and Africa, given the International Monetary Fund's ongoing optimism over the continent's growth potential.
He also said it was likely that the Grand Free Trade Area would attract other African countries' membership in time.
"The Grand Free Trade Area would contain considerably more muscle than its constituent parts," Matola concluded.