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BRICS means a lot to Africas development_Focus News


The emergence of BRICS has raised hopes that win-win partnerships can
foster the development of Africa. The BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia,
India, China and South Africa) oppose Cold War mentality and hegemonism,
and are committed to promoting multilateralism, mutual respect,
cooperation, fairness and justice, by cementing a global alternative
that represents the trend of history.

BRICS accounts for more than 40 percent of the world population and
20 percent of global trade, and attracts 25 percent of global foreign
investment. It represents the development expectations of emerging
markets and developing countries, promotes cooperation among developing
countries, acts as a platform for South-South cooperation, and has made
substantive progress in cooperation across the board.

And the BRICS Summit in South Africa from Tuesday to Thursday will add to the vitality of this unique economic grouping.

Unlike certain countries that are trying to divide the world into
blocs and expand their military alliances to maintain their domination
in almost all fields, BRICS, which as a grouping has been growing at a
faster pace than the G7, is focused on maintaining world peace and
promoting common development, including Africa’s development.

BRICS has emerged as a formidable economic bloc in recent years, with
a combined GDP of more than $20 trillion in 2021 against the G7’s GDP
of about $35 trillion (both in nominal GDP terms). However, in terms of
purchasing power parity-adjusted GDP, the BRICS members contribute 31.5
percent of global GDP while the G7’s share has fallen to 30 percent.

It is clear therefore that BRICS will be in a stronger position to
counter the interventionist attitude of the International Monetary Fund
and the World Bank when giving loans, and the United States when
offering economic, political and military assistance.

BRICS nations more attractive to African countries

Given BRICS’ rising economic and political power and increasing
engagement with African countries, the BRICS countries are more
attractive to Africa. They are attractive also because they offer new
opportunities for trade, investment and technology transfer, which can
help boost Africa’s development and integration. In terms of finance,
too, BRICS provides a better alternative to the existing global
financial system led by the IMF and the World Bank.

For example, in 2014, with $50 billion in seed money, the BRICS
countries launched the New Development Bank not only as an alternative
to, but also to complement the work of, the IMF and the World Bank.
Likewise, BRICS created a liquidity mechanism called the Contingent
Reserve Arrangement to support its members struggling with payments.
These efforts and measures appear very attractive to African countries,
especially because they have had painful experiences with the IMF’s
structural adjustment programs and austerity measures. This is one of
the main reasons many African countries have shown interest in joining

In recent years, the BRICS countries, China in particular, have
expanded their economic engagement with Africa. For instance, China is
the largest trading partner of Africa and is becoming a more important
market for African countries. In 2022, 12.5 percent of Africa’s exports
went to China, compared with a mere 0.8 percent at the beginning of the

According to official statistics, the total trade value between China
and Africa hit an all-time high of $282 billion in 2022, up 11 percent
year-on-year. China has also invested heavily in infrastructure and
industrial projects in African countries.

India, too, has increased its trade with and investments in Africa,
mostly in the fields of agriculture, healthcare, renewable energy,
infrastructure, education and information technology, and set up a $10
billion fund to support development projects in Africa. Based on the
Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry data, in the 2022-23 fiscal
year, trade between India and Africa grew by 9.26 percent to nearly $100
billion, up from just $7 billion in 2001. And the fact that its exports
amounted to $51.2 billion and imports $46.65 billion shows that
India-Africa trade was more or less balanced.

Brazil and Russia have also increased their engagement with Africa
through various initiatives including the Brazil-Africa Agriculture
Platform, the Russia-Africa Summit, and the South Africa-India-Brazil
Dialogue Forum. Taken as a whole, BRICS is Africa’s largest trading
partner. In fact, the 2022 economic survey data from the African
Development Bank show BRICS is now Africa’s largest trading partner with
their trade expected to cross $500 billion by 2030, with China
accounting for 60 percent of it. The BRICS countries are also becoming
significant investors in Africa, especially in the manufacturing,
infrastructure and service sectors.

The above facts show BRICS is promoting South-South cooperation and
making efforts to build a multipolar world order, which resonates with
Africa’s vision of achieving regional integration and becoming
self-sufficient. As a matter of fact, African countries have decided to
adopt a policy of strategic autonomy from the West, because Western
economies are known to prioritize and impose their own interests and
values when engaging with African countries.

The African countries have realized that reliance on the West makes
them vulnerable, especially when their interests conflict. The fact that
they have to mainly sell their energy and other resources to Western
nations, conduct trade in US dollars and use the West’s Society for
Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication system for transactions
is seen by African countries as a weakness, because the West has used
the dollar, as well as the institutions such as the IMF and the World
Bank, as an economic and political tool to control the African

African nations seeking ‘freedom from West’

So when African countries fight for autonomy and say they want to
de-dollarize their economies, they are actually seeking total freedom
from the West and its institutions. This freedom includes realizing
economic emancipation, the freedom to conduct trade based on equality
and manage their internal affairs without being dictated how to do so by
the West. This in turn necessitates the reconfiguration of the global
economic architecture, in which every country will be free to trade
independently, without any conditions.

Since the African countries oppose the West-centered world order and
are making efforts to make their economies more dynamic, they welcome
the emergence of BRICS, because it opposes the domination of the West
and offers African countries novel ways to de-dollarize their economies.
The African countries think this paradigm shift will protect them
against Western pressure, which is another key factor that has prompted
African countries to partner with BRICS.

As a way of benefiting from this new partnership, African countries
should further increase their trade with the BRICS countries and
leverage their strengths and resources for mutual gain. This can be done
if the African countries adopt a strategic approach to engaging with
BRICS based on the assessment of their respective strengths and
weaknesses, and by pursuing mutual benefit.

For that, however, they need to strengthen their domestic
institutions and policies, enhance regional integration and cooperation,
and engage in a more assertive and proactive manner with the BRICS
countries and other emerging market economies based on a shared vision
of mutual benefit, inclusivity, and sustainability. In particular, the
African countries need to leverage their natural resources, cultural
diversity and strategic location to boost their economic development.
They also need to capitalize on the opportunities created by BRICS and
the evolving global economic order by prioritizing investments in
education, technology and infrastructure, and promoting innovations and
inclusive and sustainable development.

Above all, African countries need to attract more investment from and
increase trade with the BRICS members and other developing countries.
By doing so, they can unleash their full potential and contribute to
shaping the future of the global economy in a more equitable and
balanced manner.

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