– First Indonesia, now South Africa making the argument that it’s an emerging economy worthy of the BRIC acronym.

South Africa’s leader has reportedly been invited to the next BRIC summit, coming up in April, in Beijing. China is apparently in favor, and Russia too, with both countries touting how politically significant such a decision would be.

The South Africa boosters say it’s strategically important, and with Russia’s economy struggling in the first part of 2010, very relevant.

But geopolitics aside, what about the economics? Some analysts say, look at the numbers, and forget about messing with the popular acronym.

South Africa and Russia have equity markets of comparable size at $718 billion. But South Africa’s economy is only about a quarter the size of Russia’s. Its population size, as you’ll see in my video blog posted here, is a mere fraction of the larger members.

According to David Spegel who analyzes emerging markets for ING, Russia is important because it is the only major energy exporter among the BRICS, with 68% of exports being fuels and metals. South Africa does not fill that need among the bloc.

And watch out in 2011. Russia may have a banner year if, as some analysts predict, that sleeping giant has just woken up.