Johannesburg 27 August 2023. The Republic of South Africa successfully hosted the 15th BRICs Summit from 22 to 24 August under the theme “BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Mutually acceded Growth, Sustainable Development, and inclusive Multilateralism”. The Summit was preceded by the BRICs Business forum, which was held on August 23 as well as consultations among joint ministers of finance and central Bank governors under the South African Presidency.
Business leaders from BRICs countries addressed issues pertinent to investing in entrepreneurship, job creating and modernising agriculture-sector through innovation and technology to modernise Agri-business. They also showed concern about the stability and security challenges in some African countries, which may derail the operationalisation of the African continental free trade area with the lack of stability and security in some African countries.
The APRM welcomes the joint statement of Ministers of finance and central banks emphasized consensus on BRICS priorities during the Presidency of south Africa which highly emphasised focus on multilateral cooperation global economic outlook, BRICs Think Tank network for finance . The statement noted agreement of Ministers and CB governors on the Contingent Reserve Arrangement and amendment of inter-central bank agreement. The New Development Bank equally issued a ZAR bond in the south African bond Market, becoming the highest-rated issuer in this market since 2015. Ms Amanda Luwaca, Executive Chairperson of the National youth development Agency (NYDA) also announces the decision to establish a BRICS Youth Council.
The APRM equally commends BRICS leaders for extending the invitation to six new countries; Argentina, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates to join the BRICs club as full members from January 1, 2024. The decision was received by a satisfaction from different African analysts and experts since it will efficiently articulate Africa’s regional priorities in this important economic club. It is estimated that BRICs economics are foreseen to make up half of global GDP by 2050.
The APRM supports the Summit’s declaration, officially known as Johannesburg declaration II since provides a comprehensive reflection on the block’s position from different global and continental issues. The Declaration reaffirms BRICs’ commitment to the spirit of multilateralism, mutual respect, democracy, and sovereignty of members. The declaration alludes a comprehensive reform of the UN and particularly security council to allow for further democratic and inclusive decision making and representation of developing countries. The declaration also recognised the important role of women in peace building and their contribution to post-conflict reconstruction and development while encouraging international community to adhere to international humanitarian law in conflict situations.
The declaration likewise alluded to the African principle “African solutions for African problems” while supporting dialogue, diplomacy, and UN resolutions to support African countries, which are going through political transition like Libya and Western Sahara. Leaders of BRICs also supported the Agenda 2063 aspirations and underscored the imperative role of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in galvanising African economies’ growth while welcoming youth and women AfCFTA protocol to enhance economic inclusion. They also stressed on the need to include industrialisation, technology, infrastructure development, health care to speed up the agenda implementation.
Presidents of Brazil, Russia, India and China and South Africa [source: GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/Pool via REUTERS]
Protection of democracy, human rights, and freedoms was also noted as a cornerstone and common principles of BRICs and hence countries need to work on nurturing them. It’s worth noting that the declaration to a large extend has some common aspects of the APRM Outcome declaration of Africa High-Level Forum on South-South and Triangular Cooperation Forum which was held in Kampala 17-19 January in partnership with different UN agencies , Islamic development Bank, and African Union.
The APRM expressed appreciation to the Republic of South Africa for leading BRICs chairmanship with professionalism and eagerness to voice out African priorities among partners from the global south. The 15th summit of BRICs in Johannesburg represents a historical milestone towards empowering the southern countries and reshaping the global order undoubtedly.