BRICS Countries’ Competitiveness in the 4IR: Findings from Three World Economic Forum Indicators

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This article assessed correlations in three World Economic Forum-published indices (operationalized as proxies for 4IR-readiness) with the BRICS countries’ inward FDI data over the 2011–2017 timeframe to determine their respective roles in attracting new investment. Among the BRICS countries, South Africa appears to have the strongest observed correlation between the operationalized 4IR competitiveness markers and new FDI. The country had the highest number of the independent variables associated with new FDI influxes (i.e., ‘Change in availability of latest technology’ and ‘Change in capacity for innovation’). No country had positive correlations for ‘Government procurement of advanced technological products’ and new FDI influxes. Other positive correlations, though considerably weaker than the already moderately positive correlations observed for South Africa were noted in Brazil at 0.379 for ‘Change in capacity for innovation’ and new FDI influxes, and Russia at 0.180 between ‘Change in capacity for innovation’ and new FDI influxes. This at least vindicates their classification as non-innovation-driven economies. As the BRICS are increasingly sources (rather than recipients) of FDI, this may be spurious, thus the article concludes with a probe into the prospects of integration into each other and opportunities for further economic integration.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Political Economy Series
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Publication series

NameInternational Political Economy Series
ISSN (Print)2662-2483
ISSN (Electronic)2662-2491


  • 3D manufacturing
  • 4IR
  • IoT
  • Patents
  • World Economic Forum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (all)
  • Political Science and International Relations


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