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South Africa urged to boost leadership skills for BRIC

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South Africa’s ascension to the BRIC group of major emerging economies will demand greater leadership in South Africa and management skills for it to keep pace with its partners, the head of a major executive training group said Monday.

BRICS is an acronym for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, a forum that provides its members with opportunities to network and to initiate economic arrangements.

“Although the Johannesburg Securities Exchange rose 15 percent last year, compared to China’s Shanghai composite which shed 10 percent, overall we have not kept pace with the rapid growth of our BRIC partners,” AstroTech Chierf excutive officer Liza van Wyk told Xinhua on Monday.

“China has backed the inclusion of South Africa into this powerful group because China has moved fast to become Africa’s dominant trading partner, but we need to ensure that is something that benefits Africans as much as Chinese and the only way to do that is to ramp up our management and leadership in South Africa,” he said.

Van Wyk said leadership courses and those for new managers especially around tricky human resource and emotional intelligence issues and export skills were heavily subscribed courses in 2010.

“Early bookings for 2011 show businesses are still concerned about the level of expertise of new managers. And managers in turn are concerned about the skills capacity of staff.”

The Johannesburg based management training company said BRIC with its core membership of rapidly growing economic giants, Brazil, Russia, India and China have very hard working, low unionized and highly skilled workers that in most instances earn less than their South African counterparts.

“For South Africa to be recognized as a true partner, and not just a gateway to the continent, we need to become more competitive in prices, wages, productivity and passion passion to succeed and a willingness to endure short term sacrifices for long term growth and development. It is imperative that we reduce the amount of joblessness in our society,” he said.

Economic analysts say the key to BRICS is securing the supply of raw materials needed to fire up production. South Africa’s potential uranium, coal, iron ore and platinum resources are likely to be vital to meeting both energy and infrastructure needs.

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