During the 2018 BRICS Summit, one thing that was made clear was the BRICS bloc’s commitment to multilateralism. From the BRICS Business Forum, to the Heads of State meeting ending with the Africa outreach and the BRICS Plus meeting.
Multilateralism and the enabling of a multipolar world, were two of the key words throughout the Summit. BRICS on its journey to achieving this, has many challenges it will have to face up to, from balancing individual and collective interests, to the realising of its own capacity and strengths.
The USA’s steel tariff policy can be seen as one of the many reasons why there is a strong need for BRICS in the first place, founded on the pragmatic approach on how to deal with each other and the world. The US clinging onto protectionism and the unipolar world of the past, can be quite damaging to global trade and can result in unforeseen circumstances of allies conflicting.
Each BRICS state has its own reason for continuing with this project for 10 years now, but if the benefits didn’t outweigh the drawbacks, I don’t think any member state would have lasted this long. In fact, the BRICS bloc is moving forward and intertwining even further, going beyond just economics and trade but with the merging of civil societies, health, agriculture, technology, education sports, culture and media.
As the tables turn, the global south and BRICS now looks like the new leaders spearheading the inclusive agenda and promoting free trade, as the tradition powers slowly lose relevance and credibility. The BRICS Africa outreach further demonstrates the seriousness to which the BRICS bloc is taking multilateralism, as a thriving Africa can only help in growing global trade and give new voices to a multipolar world.
By Mokgethi Mtezuka