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.
Two new books on the emergence of the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) grouping will come under the spotlight during SAIIA’s two-day conference on ‘BRICS and Africa: A partnership for Development’ on Wednesday, 13 November 2013. A special discussion at the conference will explore the impact of this emerging powers bloc on the current global political and economic systems.
The South African Institute of International Affairs hosts a Speaker’s Meeting addressed by Mr. David Lipton, First Deputy Managing Director, International Monetary Fund (IMF) on “South Africa: Facing the Challenges of the Global Economy.”
The dialogue explored the foreign policies of India and South Africa within the context of their membership of multilateral partnerships such as the BRICS and IBSA, examining the relevance of these forms of South-South cooperation and their potential to be mutually beneficial.
It outlined, among others, the challenges faced by both countries in promoting their interests and values on the regional and global stage. Experts were also invited to discuss the state of India and South Africa’s bilateral relations, the role of both countries in the various maritime initiatives in the Indian Ocean as well as the emerging partners’ role in post-conflict reconstruction.
The event forms part of a partnership between IDSA and SAIIA that was established to foster scholarly ties between the two institutions in the sphere of research on security issues, and also international, national, technological as well as socio-economic problems.
A conference report will be available shortly.
In the lead-up to the Fifth Summit of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) grouping, the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) invited high-school learners to debate the key issues surrounding the BRICS and develop a Youth BRICS Communique containing their recommendations.
Two learners will present the Communique to members of the press and diplomatic corps on the day before the Summit. In this video, some of the youth participants explain their views on the BRICS and what they learned from the experience.
Since South Africa's accession to the BRICS group of emerging powers in 2011, there has been sustained interest in South Africa's role in the shifting dynamics of global economic governance. Given that South Africa will be hosting the BRICS Summit in 2013, this attention will only increase throughout the year.
A series of video interviews, papers and reports on the BRICS are available from www.gegafrica.org.
Brendan Vickers, from the Department of Trade and Industry, South Africa, is interviewed by the GEG Africa project (www.gegafrica.com) on the BRICS trade agenda.
Since South Africa's accession to the BRICS group of emerging powers in 2011, there has been sustained interest in South Africa's role in the shifting dynamics of global economic governance. Given that South Africa will be hosting the BRICS Summit in 2013, this attention will only increase throughout the coming year.
A series of video interviews, papers and reports on the BRICS are available from www.gegafrica.org.
At the fifth BRICS summit to date, and the first to be held on the African continent, the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa will discuss the creation of a new Development Bank and a “virtual secretariat”. The hosts of the summit also plan to acquaint the other BRICS members with African issues.
The agenda of the BRICS summit, which will be held on March 26-27 in Durban, South Africa, particularly highlights last week’s talks between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his South African counterpart Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.
It is known that one of the priority issues to be discussed by the leaders of the five-nation club is the creation of a BRICS Development Bank.
At a joint press conference on February 12, asked if Russia was in favor of such a structure, Lavrov replied: “The fact that the idea is being actively framed in preparation for the summit speaks for itself. It is being specifically addressed by the BRICS finance ministers, who will meet in Moscow on February 15, after which there will be more clarity on the matter.”
In addition, the leaders of the “five” will use the summit to discuss the creation of a permanent business council and a scientific research center under the BRICS aegis.
Also on the table will be the creation of a so-called BRICS “virtual secretariat.” Most likely, it will be an online resource to host materials on BRICS activity and enable officials to correspond with each other on pressing matters.
“The BRICS organization plays a very important role in guaranteeing the interests of each member country and other developing economies within the framework of reforming the international monetary and financial system. It is my expectation that the documents and agreements being prepared ahead of the Durban summit will allow us to make considerable progress in this direction,” said Lavrov.
He also said that Russia supported the “logic of our South African partners to brief the other BRICS members on a range of problematic issues for Africa as a whole.”
He also stated that Russian President Vladimir Putin would take part in the summit in Durban.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister and BRICS Sherpa Sergei Ryabkov told RIR that the decision to hold the fifth meeting of the organization in South Africa had been made at the previous summit in March 2012 in New Delhi.
“That top-level summit adopted the Delhi Declaration, the main document that unites Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa,” Ryabkov said. “It contains 50 clauses on global stability, security, and prosperity and a message to the world outlining the organization’s commitments. All of them are of fundamental importance as to the reasons and ambitions that lie behind the decision to unite our five emerging economies.”
A year ago, observers noted a decision on trade and economic relations that sought to reject the dollar in bilateral trade. But in the words of Ryabkov, rejecting the dollar is not yet a viable option.
“The task ahead of us is to phase in national currencies in mutual settlements gradually,” he explained.
Speaking to RIR, Vladimir Davydov, director of the Institute of Latin America under the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), corresponding member of the RAS, and member of the BRICS think tank, said that any talk of serious cooperation between the five nations was still premature.
“On the eve of their fifth summit, I think the BRICS countries have done everything necessary for the first step, but there remains a lot more to do. First of all, it cannot be said that the BRICS countries have managed to define the organization’s institutional model. Second, there is a lack of clarity regarding the position of the BRICS members in various core institutions of global governance. Third, there has yet to be established a set of mechanisms to regulate multilateral cooperation in the fields of economics, technology, and science,” remarked Davydov.
Furthermore, the BRICS do not see eye to eye on everything. For example, some are keen to discuss the issue of reforming the UN Security Council, while others are more interested in setting up a Development Bank. But despite the wide-ranging agenda, there is a clear dynamic for growth and cooperation. It is in this vein that preparations for the Durban summit are being made.
It is worth noting that in the midst of preparing for the BRICS summit in South Africa, U.S. bank Goldman Sachs has announced departure of 55-year-old economist Jim O’Neill as chairman of the asset management board. Twelve years ago, it was he who came up with BRIC as an acronym for Brazil, Russia, India, and China, the world’s largest emerging economies.
In addition to its economic purport, the term quickly acquired political meaning: the BRICs had a sense of commonality that they felt allowed them to compete with the U.S. and the EU.
The Financial Times links O’Neill’s departure to his department’s poor recent performance.
More details to follow on the official website: www.brics5.co.za.
New Delhi: Ahead of the BRICS summit in Durban in March, the national security advisers of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa will meet here next week to discuss key regional and international issues. National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon will represent India at the meeting that will be held here Jan 10. This will be the first structured meeting of the NSAs of the BRICS grouping comprising the five major emerging economies of the world.
The situation in the Middle East, the deadlock in Syria, the Iranian sanctions and counter-terror cooperation are among issues that are expected to figure in the discussions.
The 5th BRICS summit will be held in Durban March 26-27, the first time South Africa will be hosting the heads of states and governments of the BRICS countries.
The BRICS comprises nearly half the world's population and a quarter of global GDP.
This article copyright Indo-Asian News Service, via the South African Foriegn Policy Intitiative (SAFPI).
* Related from SAFPI: Manmohan to meet Xi Jinping on sidelines of BRICS summit
South Africa will host the fifth BRICS Summit from 26 to 27 March 2013 at the Durban International Convention Centre (ICC). This will complete the first cycle of BRICS summits.
These summits are convened to seek common ground on areas of importance for these major economies. Talks represent spheres of political and entrepreneurial coordination, in which member countries have identified several business opportunities, economic complementarities and areas of cooperation.
The GEGAfrica project has been funded by UK aid from the UK government; however the views expressed do not necessarily reflect the UK government’s official policies.