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BRICS Blog (77)

Heads of state of the BRICS countries will gather in Ufa, Russia, this week for the grouping’s seventh summit, which comes at a particularly challenging time for Russian diplomacy. Precipitated by the conflict in Ukraine, Russia is barred from Group of Seven/Group of Eight processes and increasingly estranged from the West.
Some five weeks ago I attended the BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) Academic Forum in Moscow as part of the South African delegation. The discussions held there provide interesting insights into the future direction of the BRICS group.
After a late flurry of additions to the founding membership of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), attention now turns to setting the China-led AIIB’s rules and regulations. But important questions remain – most important, whether the AIIB is a potential rival or a welcome complement to existing multilateral financial institutions like the World Bank.
Wednesday, 15 April 2015 17:11

South Africa Beyond the BRICS

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South Africa’s role in global economic governance is mainly articulated through its membership of the G-20 and the BRICS grouping. The G-20 has emerged as the premier forum on global economic governance, while the BRICS countries have positioned themselves as a force for positive change in global economic affairs.
A new set of papers has just been released, looking at BRICS and Development Finance Institutions.
Tuesday, 17 February 2015 13:04

Where is the ‘A’ in ‘BRICS’?

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The BRICS certainly want to engage with Africa yet the consensus is that it is up to the continent to determine how it wants to use its platform to navigate the international system – and many questions remain unanswered. Rebecca Ramsamy, ECDPM's Young International Professional and former intern with SAIIA, reports on discussions at a recent Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung conference.
Monday, 19 January 2015 10:14

A fresh approach to credit ratings

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Over the past few years there have been discussions amongst the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) countries to open up their own rating agency that will compete with the 'big three' credit rating agencies - that is, Standard and Poor’s (S&P), Moody’s and the Fitch Group. S&P and Moody’s are based in the US.
Without question South Africa remains a vibrant, complicated and seemingly a growing troubled land. My colleagues from the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) one of the premiere think tanks in South Africa and the University of Pretoria, particularly the Department of Political Science there brought together some of their South African colleagues with experts from a number of countries for a conference (December 4th-5th) titled “Alliances Beyond BRICS: South Africa’s Role in Global Economic Governance”. 
Monday, 24 November 2014 12:06

Africa’s hope at Brisbane G-20 Summit

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The 2014 annual summit of the group of 20 (G-20) developed and emerging economies comes up from 15 to 16 November in the Australian city of Brisbane. As usual, the leaders of the G-20 countries will be deliberating on issues that will have ramifications for not only their respective economies but also the rest of the world, including those who will not be represented at the deliberations.
When Russia hosted the first BRIC Leaders’ Summit in June 2009, which was attended by Brazil’s President Lula, Russia’s President Dimitry Medvedev, India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and China’s President Hu Jintao, Russia's leader hailed Yekatarinburg the as 'the epicenter of world politics.' The need for major developing world nations to meet in new formats was 'obvious,' he said.
Tuesday, 14 October 2014 10:40

Washington after Fortaleza

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Four months after the BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) launched their New Development Bank and Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CAR) at a Summit held in Fortaleza, Brazil, the World Bank and IMF convened for their Annual Meetings. For all the fanfare that met the announcement of the BRICS’ new financial infrastructure, not a lot has changed.
The seaside resort of Fortaleza in the northern part of Brazil was the destination for the sixth summit for the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) group of nations. Flying into the city, one would not be immediately aware it was playing host to this increasingly significant geo-strategic platform of the Global South. Daily life moved along routinely.
A country’s international economic agenda is invariably shaped by its domestic constraints and socio-economic development objectives. The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) states are no exception.
After five years of introspection and institution building, the sixth BRICS summit offers an opportunity for the group to focus on its relations with the rest of the world. Relations with the Group of 7 (G-7) are particularly contentious. Russia's exclusion from the G-8 following the crisis in Crimea has moved the BRICS to the centre stage in Russian foreign policy thinking, and risks pulling the group onto an opposition footing with the West.
South Africa hosted the fifth BRICS Summit in Durban in March 2013. This summit was a first for South Africa and for the BRICS in more ways than one. Notable was the fact that it was the first summit held under a theme that went beyond the five BRICS members and resonated with the continent in which the Summit was being hosted. The theme for the Summit was, “BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Development, Integration and Industrialisation”.
The BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) were brought together by their investment returns and growth potential, but for the group to act they must find some common purpose.
In November 2011, a group of five like-mentioned organisations from among the BRICS group of countries came together in Shanghai, China to establish the BRICS Trade & Economics Research Network. They are: Fundação Getulio Vargas, Brazil; EcoAccord, Russia; CUTS International, India; Shanghai WTO Affairs Consultation Center, China; and South African Institute of International Affairs, South Africa.
Wednesday, 09 July 2014 15:26

BRICS Summit 2014: Materials, Guides and Interviews

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In advance of the sixth annual BRICS Heads of State Summit, to be held in Fortaleza, Brazil from 14-16 July 2014, SAIIA has compiled an engaging range of new materials about the grouping's past, present and future.
Tuesday, 08 July 2014 16:04

BRICS and Africa: A lot to be done yet

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The emergence of the BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) grouping coincided with the notion of an ‘Africa Rising’, a term coined following Africa's growing economic prosperity. The rise of BRICS also overlapped with their increased involvement in Africa.
As the BRICS meet in Fortaleza, Brazil from 14-16 July 2014, attention is once again on the group’s efforts to establish two new financial institutions: the New Development Bank and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement. Negotiations are underway on both and, while it remains uncertain that they will be officially launched in Fortaleza, substantial progress is expected to be announced at the summit.
BRICS’ critics were dealt a crippling blow recently when the group, which is often accused of being a talk shop, showed they are also very keen on reading. In an unusual move for an international summit, the group released an official 'BRICS Bibliography', listing key readings for those wishing to know more about the leaders, economics, history, literature, politics and sociology of each country.
'The BRIC label shows (…) the key characteristic of the current global transformation: The paradigm that developing countries cannot be relevant actors is no longer true.' ~ Roberto Jaguaribe, Brazil’s Sherpa to the 2009 and 2010 BRICS SummitsAs Brazil is gearing up for the 6th BRICS Summit in Fortaleza in July, it is worth looking back to the 2010 BRIC Summit in Brasília. Why was the summit important and what were its lessons?
When walking through the streets of Rio de Janeiro, one could be forgiven for not realising that it will soon play host to one of the world’s biggest soccer tournaments. Brazil is well known for its fanatical love of the game but with only days before the kick-off of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, there seems to be little enthusiasm amongst ordinary Brazilians.
The visits from Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang are viewed as indicative of Africa's rising importance in the global economy, and of China's efforts to become closer to Africa.
With approximately a month to go to the IBSA Summit between India, Brazil and South Africa, it is useful to reflect on the significance of 2014 for the IBSA members as well as some other emerging economies. India, Brazil and South Africa are holding elections this year, while facing major economic challenges and domestic unrest.
While it is still unclear whether Russia pursues the occupation of additional parts of eastern Ukraine, there is a growing certainty that developments over the past month will have a lasting effect on the international system. The most immediate consequences are probably the strengthening of the NATO alliance and an acceleration of trade negotiations between the European Union and the United States. Cuts in defense spending in both the United States and Europe may be partially halted as a consequence. While trade between Russia and the West makes a new Cold War scenario highly unlikely, Vladimir Putin is likely to…
I was caught by the discussion in this morning’s New York Times in the "Room for Debate" section. Several old friends from global summitry analyses and a few new acquaintances set out their opinions on whether to kick Russia out of the Group of 8 (G-8) or not.
2013 was a difficult year for the five BRICS countries. China and Brazil faced slowing growth, South Africa and India were hit by currency instability, and concern over Russia’s governance deepened (before recent events in the Ukraine pitched them into all-out crisis). As doubts have mounted, investors have increasingly turned back to traditional investment destinations like the United States and Europe, as well as to new formations like the MINTs (Mexico, India, Nigeria and Turkey).
What do the activities of Chinese businesses in Angola, Brazilian state agencies in Mozambique and Indian exporters in South Africa have in common? For one thing, they all might be seen to represent the trend of (re-)growing linkages between African, Asian and Latin American countries.
The South Sudan Petroleum and Mining Minister, Stephen Dhieu Dau, has recently announced that China has decided to give South Sudan's mining sector a boost by lending the young state between US$1 billion and US$ 2 billion. The full amount will be spread between infrastructure projects, the mining industry and agricultural projects. Together, the two countries will conduct South Sudan's first geological survey, funded by a US$ 43 million Chinese loan.
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