Strate­gic­part­ner

South Africa con­tin­ues to co­op­er­ate with other BRICS mem­bers to en­hance eco­nomic en­gage­ment and de­vel­op­ment

ChinAfrica - - Cover Story - By dolana Msi­mang

Since South Africa be­came part of the BRICS group in 2010, BRICS has de­vel­oped strate­gic co­op­er­a­tion mech­a­nisms on nu­mer­ous is­sues, some of which have been im­ple­mented al­ready while oth­ers are part of on­go­ing dis­cus­sions dur­ing BRICS meet­ings. The BRICS flag­ship ini­tia­tive is the New De­vel­op­ment Bank (NDB) which was op­er­a­tional­ized on July 21, 2015 with its head­quar­ters in Shanghai.

It is very sig­nif­i­cant to note that this pro­posal was only en­dorsed by the lead­ers at the Fifth BRICS Sum­mit in 2013 hosted by South Africa. In just over two years, the NDB has had func­tional of­fices.

In April 2016, the NDB an­nounced its first set of ap­proved loans in­volv­ing fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance of $811 mil­lion, to be dis­bursed in tranches, sup­port­ing prepa­ra­tion, but will also, in con­sul­ta­tion with BRICS part­ners, re­spond to the in­fra­struc­ture co­op­er­a­tion pro­pos­als re­ceived from the African lead­er­ship when they met the BRICS lead­er­ship in 2013.

The ARC will be a ve­hi­cle through which the African con­ti­nent will ben­e­fit from fund­ing of its in­fra­struc­ture projects. The medium-term vi­sion for the ARC is that it will be­come a con­ti­nen­tal cen­ter of ex­cel­lence spe­cial­iz­ing in ca­pac­ity build­ing and tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance.

The BRICS group is co­op­er­at­ing in a mul­ti­tude of fields, which has en­hanced BRICS in­tra-trade as well as se­cu­rity and so­cial ar­eas, es­pe­cially in the sec­tors of health, pop­u­la­tion mat­ters and ed­u­ca­tion. BRICS coun­tries have fre­quent ex­changes on is­sues re­lated to the United Na­tions (UN) as well as in the con­text of other mul­ti­lat­eral fo­rums. A re­cent ex­am­ple is the BRICS Lead­ers’ In­for­mal Meet­ing on the Mar­gins of the G20 Sum­mit in Hangzhou.

BRICS is an im­por­tant group where is­sues af­fect­ing the de­vel­op­ing world, or Global South, can be dis­cussed. We are par­tic­u­larly in­ter­ested in the com­pre­hen­sive re­form of global eco­nomic and fi­nan­cial ar­chi­tec­tures. This is a fo­cus area for BRICS fi­nance min­is­ters who meet on the mar­gins of the an­nual and other meet­ings of the Bret­ton Woods In­sti­tu­tions. BRICS min­is­ters of foreign af­fairs hold an an­nual meet­ing on the mar­gins of the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly to ex­change views on per­ti­nent is­sues of mu­tual in­ter­est. One such is­sue for ex­am­ple is the po­si­tion for the UN Sec­re­tary Gen­eral. BRICS has two per­ma­nent mem­bers of the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil of the cur­rent five and for South Africa it would be im­por­tant that the elected can­di­date will pro­mote the African Union’s con­ti­nen­tal agenda.

The core of the BRICS agenda is to en­hance in­tra­co­op­er­a­tion amongst its mem­bers. In BRICS, there is in­creased syn­ergy on ma­jor po­si­tions and this is re­flected in the lead­ers’ sum­mit dec­la­ra­tion. This is

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