By Balongoofu Daniel
The steady traction of the emergence of the BRICS in the contemporary global order reflects a potential shift of the global governance structure to a more economic led mechanism of cooperation through trade and the formulation of coordinated political positions on global issues to secure and under guard a collective path to economic development. The BRICS, a bloc that represents emerging economies; Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa have gained much traction in the international arena due to their firm positions and structures of engagement specifically favorable for south-south relations, a structure that the global south has upheld to achieving economic development.
This year’s BRICS summit currently underway in south Africa is one of the most followed and widely anticipated political engagements globally due to the blocs’ spread popularity and attraction of interest from over 40 states including the UAE, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia among others. The state of turbulence in global governance characterised with war, economic recession and post -pandemic recovery have made this 15th summit a much anticipated one on forging a way through for development. However, I find the bloc’s structure to development a more relevant reality to Africa and the global south as follows,
In this year’s summit’s special mug, a compilation by the south African government highlights the blocs’ special achievements, challenges and way forward in south Africa’s context thus far seeks to highlight the beauty and advantages of the adopted strategy for BRICS economic partnership that looks forward to increasing access to each other’s markets, promote mutual trade and investments and creating a business friendly environment for investors in all BRICS countries. The authorities in south Africa further highlight that the most important part of this strategy is to diversify the trading of finished products as opposed to raw materials, a strategy that Uganda, Africa and the global south needs to broadly adopt in order to realize home production and control trade deficits.in the same vein, south Africa notes that its exports share to the BRICS countries have recorded strong growth since 2016 and registered a 7.1% per annum on average reaching US 817.6 billion in 2022. The mug further highlights that the principal contributor to such growth was exports to china over the same period.
In light with the AFCTFTA, an economic initiative by the African union that seeks to achieve a liberalised African continental market and to address the challenges of Africa’s low level of participation in the global economy and world trade, the south African authorities highlighted the importance of merging markets and the building of more partnerships with the BRICS under such an initiative. This will not only unlock trade possibilities but also mutually beneficial opportunities for investment and infra structural development. This further underscores a much broader market and more liberalism in trade and also promote self-reliance through encouraging industrialisation for production. It should be noted that BRICS brings together a 3.27 billion population of people that makes the question of market and diversity a more achievable reality necessary for production.
The relevancy of the New Development Bank (NDB) that the cooperation achieved through availing of funds for development seeks to solve the global south long unanswered question of funding. It should be noted that the bank has catalyses availability of funds for development that so far US$ 32.8 billion worth of developmental projects have been funded using this bank availed financial resources. So far, the funds have been invested in building and upgrading of 820 bridges, building and upgrading of 35000 housing units and the generation of 2800mw of renewable and clean energy. This therefore is a blessing and an alternative source of funding from the IMF and world bank that the global south has arguably criticised for politicising funding and unfair repay policies.
Balongoofu Daniel is a Junior Research Fellow at Sino-Uganda Research Centre