BRICS countries are focused on partnership and not exploitation of Africa says PAP President Charumbira - AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY NEWS



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Tuesday, August 22, 2023

BRICS countries are focused on partnership and not exploitation of Africa says PAP President Charumbira

The President of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), H. E. Hon. Chief Fortune Charumbira has observed that the BRICS partnership is driven by shared interests particularly in the broad objective of building a more democratic international system founded on the rule of law and multilateral as opposed to unipolar diplomacy.

He opined that what brought BRICS countries together cannot be equated to self-serving imperialist interests. “A common history of the struggle against colonialism defines the BRICS countries co-operation and trajectory which is already markedly different from the imperialist agenda”.

Chief Charumbira made the observation while speaking to journalists on the 15th BRICS Summit  in South Africa. 

BRICS is an acronym that started as BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) in 2001. Later in 2010, South Africa joined the group to become BRICS. More than 40 countries including Iran, Argentina, Bangladesh, and Saudi Arabia have indicated interest in joining the BRICS bloc.

South Africa, as the current Chair of the BRICS group, is the host to the 15th BRICS Summit on 22-24 August 2023. On the eve of the gathering, a gala dinner will be held to celebrate and welcome the occasion.

Chief Charumbira noted that “Viewing Africa as the new global growth centre, BRICS countries are emerging as the new largest investors and trade partners to the continent with strong exponential growth potential for the future. Firstly, the value of bilateral trade between BRIC states and African countries is growing rapidly.” He also observed that FDI flows to Africa from BRIC states have increased significantly.

He also observed that BRICS is reforming the global governance system.

“The last two decades have seen a fundamental redistribution of global economic power and, accompanying this, of actual political influence. However, the architecture of global governance still reflects the international balance of forces at the end of the Second World War. The UN and some of its institutions, for instance, are outdated and do not reflect the shift in the balance of forces that has taken place over the past two decades.”

“The thrust, therefore, should be to change the institutions of global governance not only to better reflect the current international balance of forces, but also to ensure that the voices and interests of all the people in the world – including those who are currently weak and relatively voiceless – are taken into account.”

“In this regard, the BRICS countries are driving a quiet and yet profound shift from the old locus of political, economic and social power to a multi-polar system. In essence, the BRICS concept represents a counter to hegemonic governance into a more pluralistic co-determination of policy agenda setting that recognizes even the voices of the voiceless. As emerging economies become more integrated and interdependent, they increasingly shape the global economy and influence its dynamics.”

He posited that BRICS offers an historic opportunity to explore new models and approaches towards more equitable development and inclusive global growth by emphasizing complementarities and building on our respective economic strengths.

“The BRICS countries are also at the forefront of pushing for global reforms that want to see an expanded UN Security Council, more democratic, decision-making structures in the IMF and the World Bank, a stronger developmental orientation in the World Trade Organization’s agenda, stronger multi-polarity and global multilateralism and peaceful resolution of conflicts all over the world. In this sense, they share the ideological outlook of Africa that has the possibility of shifting the logic of global power towards non-imperialist orientation” said the PAP President.

On infrastructure development, Chief Charumbira maintained that Africa’s fortunes are changing for the better as a result of the partnership with BRICS countries.

“Economic growth rates are increasing in many of our countries – new infrastructure is being built, communication systems and electronic connectivity are expanding, and the manufacturing industry, though still weak, is starting to expand. BRICS countries are partners in a number of development projects, particularly with regard to infrastructure development. There is a direct interest in extending cooperation between all the BRICS countries and Africa to support the continent’s development agenda, especially as it relates to infrastructure development and industrialization.”

Chief Charumbira also identified reducing dependency on western controlled institutions as another benefit of BRICS to Africa.

“A supportive international environment is important for Africa. It’s not by accident that Africa’s emergence from the period of imposed structural adjustment programmes from the mid-70s to the mid-90s coincided with the emergence of the large BRICS countries as economic giants. These countries have given African nations the ability to start to escape the clutches of neo-colonial dependence on foreign aid, and the policies and ‘advice’ of Western-controlled finance institutions. Trade and mutually beneficial foreign investment from countries without colonial mind-sets are starting to free Africans to shape their own national economies and polities.”

“For countries such as Zimbabwe and Sudan, which have been reeling under the yoke of illegal western-imposed sanctions for over a decade, the BRICS countries with their relative independence from the West, have provided a means of relief against the debilitating sanctions. Zimbabwe, for example, adopted a “Look-East Policy” after the imposition of illegal economic sanctions by the United States and its western allies, thus opening the doors for enhanced trade with China which has proven to be an all-weather friend to Zimbabwe. Various infrastructure development projects, including the new world-class Parliament Building, the renovation of the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport, among others, have been done in partnership with BRICS countries. BRICS countries have thus provided a means of succour for African countries from the heavy burden of western imposed sanctions” he concluded.

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