BRICS in the golden age: What’s in it for Africa

The Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa configuration that is BRICS has been in existence for 10 years and is celebrating the start of its second decade – what the leaders now term the “golden age”. The bloc has come a long way since its inception.

More than ever, this is a good time to look back and take stock of the BRICS framework and developments that have taken place, and to assess the bloc’s tangible achievements. The BRICS has evolved since forming as a group of emerging markets, whose primary mandate was economic co-operation. Over the past decade, a reconceptualisation has occurred, with the global stage.

Beyond their shared economic interests, the bloc emerged as a catalyst for the interests of the developing Global South, calling for reforms of key multilateral institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, saying they should be more representative of developing countries. South Africa’s admission to BRICS in December 2010 allowed for greater representation of the African continent. This begs the question: What’s in it for Africa?

South Africa assumed the rotating presidency of the BRICS on 1 January 2018, and is scheduled to host the 2018 BRICS Summit in Johannesburg from 25 to 27 July. South Africa remains the only African country to be a member of BRICS.

Despite South Africa having attracted criticism from some of its African counterparts for advancing its own interests in the BRICS, continental development remains a key pillar of its foreign policy. The white paper on South Africa’s foreign policy articulates its continued support for Africa’s development: “Our struggle for a better life in South Africa is intertwined with our pursuit of a better Africa in a better world.”


Read Full Article in BRICS Journal Print Issue 6

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