A group of five major emerging economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS), has highlighted the growing importance of Africa in international affairs through the presence of South Africa in the bloc.
The BRICS members are known for their significant influence on regional affairs.
Some members in the BRICS agency at the weekend expressed their desire to see other African nations integrating into the BRICS given that only South Africa stands as a voice for Africa amid four other powerful countries in the cooperation.
The agency promotes multilateralism, multipolarity, multiculturalism and shakes up international relations.
A number of social activists gathered at a newly founded organisation, ‘New Dawn Vision’ organised a conference on Saturday, August 7, 2021 via Zoom, where the topic, “BRICS: Common Humanity for Shared Prosperity” was discussed.
One of the speakers at the event, Paseka Pharumele, an academic and a founding member of Convention for Pan-Africanism and Progress (CPP), discussed the topic from an afro-centric perspective.
He highlighted the growing importance of Africa in international affairs through the presence of South Africa in the BRICS.
He also addressed the question of the chain of development, saying, “For a country to be successful, there needs to be economic development, and in order for economic development to be achieved, you need to be funded and one cannot be funded if the country that is funding you is doing so focusing on its personal gain.
“Thus, the BRICS bank was created to assist developing countries free themselves from over dependence from imperialist banks and divert their financial requests to banks which do not center on Western imperialist ideologies.”
The BRICS bank called the New Development Bank is based in China that is about to surpass the United States of America as the biggest world economy in the world and who is investing heavily in Africa through infrastructure projects.
The forceful engagement of China in Africa also occupied a very important portion of the conversation.
Some see it as invasive, suspecting China of being a rising empire driven by an imperialistic agenda while others argued that China is presenting an alternative partnership paradigm that needs to be acknowledged.
In this vein, Heather Benno, who discussed the issue of Afro-Asian Solidarity since the era of struggles against colonialism affirmed that the BRICS expands the options of countries of the south namely African who did not have any other opportunity but to be remain in the shackles of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
Later she weighed in the debate on China influence in the world, saying, “China’s foreign policy is really not determined by any sort of revolutionary orientation or by feelings of giant imperialistic solidarity.
“It’s just that it’s still not a member of the small club of imperialistic powers that attempt to rule the world which other nations find problematic”.
In essence, she added that “China’s foreign policy can’t be seen as being revolutionary per say , however from a Marxist point of view, it is entirely proper for China to deepen her economic relations and trade with capitalist countries especially those in the former colonized and semi colonized worlds”.
The speakers and some attendees recalled that the BRICS is some how an offshoot of past alliances forged to combat systems of oppression such as colonialism, apartheid, and imperialism.
They noted that the economic dimension of these past alliances should be reinforced under the umbrella of the BRICS in the respective fertile sectors of agriculture, digital empowerment, medicine, education, and of the transfer of technology.
The speakers said that this model is preferred over the usual exploitative collaborations.
Several voices led by the speakers further advocated a strong African collective consciousness and Pan-Africanism in order for Africa to have a bargaining leverage be in its negotiations with the institutions of the Bretton Woods or with the BRICS.
A speaker in the audience lamented that the conversation overlooked the crucial importance of safety and security as the pillar and the building block of a developmental process.
He noted that China is not offering that sense of protection and security to the African countries who need it but the Russian Federation who has helped the Central African Republic neutralize a decade-long civil war and rebellion.
The event also discussed the issue of crypto-currency, where an attendee suggested Africa looks into the crypto-currency paradigm in order to free itself from the monetary imprisonment mainly the one that binds France with its former African colonies, members of the CFA Franc zone.