The Power Energy Contribution

In our changing energy resource landscape, the importance of energy co-operation and diplomacy among BRICS are essential for the bloc’s success and sustainability.

Energy co-operation among BRICS countries can significantly contribute to the success of BRICS as an economic bloc. For this to happen, an innovative BRICS energy co-operation plan must be developed which considers the following: the historical energy diplomacy of the BRICS countries, the dynamics of international energy markets and the changing
energy resource landscape for future energies which is being spurred by various factors, including the COP 21 agreement – also known as the 2015 Paris Climate Conference – which set a target to keep the rise in temperature of the earth’s atmosphere below 2°C.

BRICS should strive to promote energy security and sustainable development by finding ways to provide accessible,
affordable, reliable, and modern energy. Therefore, its energy policies must promote economic growth, support collaborations on energy technologies and reflect innovative financing models.

South Africa, in particular, has to look at energy co-operation in terms of including its diplomacy principles and its positioning as the BRICS gateway to the African continent, given that this country’s development is interlinked with that of the entire African continent.

Although BRICS is an alliance of five countries spanning four continents, member states differ in terms of their social, political and economic situations. According to Leonava et al (2007) (Armijo 2007), each BRICS state has its own growth trajectory and resources. As a result, energy consumption as an economic bloc varies according to each country’s individual needs.

In 2009, when the bloc was known as BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) – before the inclusion of South Africa in 2010 – it accounted for a fifth of the world’s economy and 43% of the world’s population (Yao et al. 2009). After South Africa’s inclusion, the group as a collective consumed more energy than the G7 countries.

In this respect, two countries in BRICS – China and India – are set to change the global energy landscape because of their
consumption patterns. China remains the world’s largest producer and consumer of coal and looks poised to overtake the United States as the largest oil consumer by the 2030s. It also has a larger gas market share than the European Union.

Unlike China, India accounts for no more than 6% of global energy users. However, India is entering a sustained period of rapid growth in energy consumption due to increased demand for coal in power generation and industry. This makes India the largest source of growth in global coal use. It is also showing an increased demand for oil.

In preparing a successful energy co-operation plan within BRICS, past discussions – including those dating back
to the first BRIC summit, held in Russia in 2009 – must be considered:

»»In 2009, in Yekaterinburg in Russia, this joint statement was issued by BRIC at its inaugural summit: “We stand for
strengthening co-ordination and cooperation among states in the energy field, including among energy producers and
consumers and transit states, in an effort to decrease uncertainty and ensure stability and sustainability. We support diversification of energy resources and supply, including renewable energy, security of energy
transit routes and creation of new energy investments and infrastructure.”

»»The 2011 BRICS summit took place in Sanya on the island of Hainan, China. This is where the Sanya Declaration was
signed, emphasising the significance of co-operation in developing renewable energy resources. The bloc called for the
strengthening of international co-operation to stabilise energy prices.

»»In 2012, at the BRICS summit in Delhi, India, the Delhi Declaration was issued which cautioned against the risk of energy
price volatility.

»»In 2013, the Durban Action Plan was issued at the BRICS summit, held in South Africa.
It included energy as a new area of cooperation for BRICS.

For all these declarations, the following critical questions remain: How will BRICS
countries co-operate on energy? What are the constraints and opportunities involved?
How can an energy co-operation deal be ratified that takes into account the diverse
requirements of the bloc?

The full version of this article first appeared in Issue 4 of BRICS Journal, as part of our partnership with The National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS).

Secure the base: decolonise the mind

When Professor Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o delivered his speech on decolonising the mind in Johannesurg, South Africa, his message ignited much needed dialogue. We decided to share an excerpt from the moving speech so that dialogue continues beyond the borders of South Africa.

“So along with the economic and political empires, Europe simultaneously and consciously created empires of the mind through language ideologies and practices, empires in tune with their world view and practical needs.

They gave us their accents in exchange for their access to our resources. Or let me put it this way: Europe gave Africa
the resources of their accent; Africa gave Europe access to the resources of the continent. So when African intellectuals and leadership were busy perfecting their borrowed accents, Europe and the West were busy sharpening their instruments for access to the resources of the continent. Accents for Access: that, unfortunately, is the story of post-colonial Africa.

Has the metaphysical empire, or the empire of the mind, outlived the physical empire as envisioned by the advocates of the language spread? Metaphysical empires create colonies of the mind. The success of the empires of the mind, and their product, colonies of the mind, can be seen in the very defenders of the dominance of European languages over those of areas and regions outside Europe. In Africa today, the defenders are African intellectuals and policy makers.
ome of them act as if it is the English whose existence is being threatened by African languages: African languages interfere with the English accent.

Again, this is not new or unique to Africa. The defenders of English and arguments in favour of its dominance, come from the intellectual of the colonised periphery as a whole. In the case of English, this phenomenon first manifested itself in England’s Northern neighbour, Scotland. The eminent intellectuals of the 18th century Scottish enlightenment, Hume, Smith, et al waxed ecstatic about standardisation of English and its virtues for national formation and even as an imperial export.

But even among the Irish the greatest defenders of the language were latter-day Irish intellectuals.
Of course there is nothing wrong in wanting to take English or any other language as one’s own. I have always argued that each language, big or small, has its unique musicality; there is no language, whose musicality and cognitive potential, is inherently better than another.

African languages with all their different and unique musicalities are still in everyday use. What seems to horrify these intellectuals, the policy makers and the international financial services behind them, is the call for vigorous literary intellectual and eve scholarly reflection of that reality. Availability of more information, more knowledge, more skills in those languages otherwise in daily oral use will break up the nation. But the concentration of the same in English or French will somehow cement the nation. The result: pamper European languages; pauperise African languages. The entire African language speaking majorities are taxed directly or indirectly so that 90 percent of the resources available for language education can go to groom English accents. In some countries, African languages have been unceremoniously axed out of the curriculum or made into electives.

Some advocates of English dominance not only want it so but would actually like to see the literary disappearance of native languages altogether.

The explanation of this desire, death wish for one’s own language and the simultaneous categorical embrace of the dominant other, has to go beyond the uses or not of the languages in question. It probably lies in how that sense of dominance was brought about.

A common thread in the export of English in Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Africa was the constant association of extreme humiliation and negativity with native languages and the corresponding value and prestige associated with English in colonial education factories.

Corporal punishment, physical violence, was often meted to children caught speaking mother tongues in the school compounds, and additionally, made to perform acts of shame like carrying objects that proclaimed their stupidity or made to swallow filth in some cases. One set of languages was associated with defeat, shame, incoherence, savagery even, and the other, with modernity and science, with the human and conquest.

No wonder people would want to bask in the sunshine of the language of glory and hide
from those of shame and defeat.”

The full version of this article first appeared in issue 4 of BRICS Journal, as part of our partnership with The National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences.

BRICS Sherpas meet in Cape Town

The BRICS Sherpas and Sous Sherpas meeting gets underway in Cape Town this morning.
This will be the first official meeting on the BRICS calendar under the auspices of South Africa’s chairship which it assumed in January.

The Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Nomaindiya Mfeketo, will deliver opening remarks at the meeting.

“The meeting will discuss the working arrangements for BRICS in 2018. South Africa, as the host country for the BRICS 2018 Summit, will present its chairship priorities to its partners,” DIRCO said.

South Africa is scheduled to host the 10th BRICS summit from 25 – 27 July at the Sandton Convention Centre, which will see South Africa building on the BRICS programme of development and prosperity for partner countries.
The five BRICS countries account for 26 percent of the world’s landmass and are home to 43 percent of the world’s population. The bloc is composed of emerging markets and the developing world.

There has been substantive progress achieved since South Africa joined BRICS in 2011, as seen for example in the launch of the Africa Regional Centre of the New Development Bank (NDB) in South Africa.

The formation has strengthened its cooperative mechanism for institutional development, most notably witnessed in the creation of the New Development Bank and the recently launched Africa Regional Centre in Johannesburg.
In 2015, total intra-BRICS trade amounted to R3.06 trillion.

South Africa’s exports to BRICS countries marginally increased from R123 billion in 2011 to R138.2 billion in 2016, while in the same period, imports from BRICS countries also increased from R115 billion to R230 billion.
Total Intra-BRICS FDI was R554 trillion at the end of February 2016.