A bigger and better BRICS benefits Africa and the world

On August 24, 2023, the 15th BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) Summit was successfully concluded in Johannesburg, South Africa, adopting the Johannesburg II Declaration.  

Sixty-seven leaders from Africa and the Global South countries were invited to the Summit

Historical expansion 

From January 1, 2024, Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates will become full members of BRICS.  

This historical expansion demonstrates the BRICS commitment to cooperate in unity with all developing countries, which meets the expectations of the international community.  

It will also inject new vitality into the BRICS cooperation mechanism and further strengthen the forces for world peace and development.  

It is reported that more than 40 countries have expressed their desire to join the BRICS, within which 23 countries, including the above-mentioned six countries, have formally submitted applications for membership.  

BRICS countries have reached consensus on the guiding principles and procedures of expansion process and will further develop a list of prospective partner countries. 

Partnership for inclusive multilateralism 

The BRICS reiterates the commitment to inclusive multilateralism and express concern about the use of unilateral coercive measures, which are incompatible with the principles of the UN Charter and produce negative effects notably in the developing world.  

The BRICS supports a comprehensive reform of the UN, including its Security Council, to increase the representation of developing countries in the Council’s memberships.  

The BRICS calls for reform of the Bretton Woods institutions, that reflect the role of emerging markets and developing economies in the world economy.  

The BRICS also reaffirms the support for the rules-based multilateral trading system with the WTO at its core, with special and differential treatment (S&DT) for developing countries, including Least Developed Countries.  

Finally, the BRICS reaffirms the commitment to ensuring the promotion and protection of democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all with the aim to build a brighter shared future for the international community based on mutually beneficial cooperation. 

Support for Africa’s peace and development 

The BRICS reiterates that the principle “African solutions to African problems” should continue to serve as the basis for conflict resolution.  

In this regard, the BRICS supports African peace efforts on the continent by strengthening the relevant capacities of African States.  

The BRICS remains concerned at the situation in the Sahel region, in particular in Niger.  

Currently, high debt levels in some countries reduce the fiscal space needed to address ongoing development challenges aggravated by spillover effects from external shocks, particularly, from sharp monetary tightening in advanced economies.  

One of the instruments to collectively address debt vulnerabilities is through the implementation of the G20 Common Framework for Debt Treatment, with the participation of official bilateral creditors, private creditors and Multilateral Development Banks in line with the principle of joint action and fair burden-sharing.  

The BRICS reaffirms the importance of the G20 to continue playing the role of the premier multilateral forum in the field of international economic and financial cooperation. 

Therefore, the BRICS is committed to a balanced approach by continuing to amplify and further integrate the voice of the global South in the G20 agenda as under the Indian Presidency in 2023 and the Brazilian and South African presidencies in 2024 and 2025 

The BRICS reiterates its support to the African Union Agenda 2063 and to Africa’s efforts towards integration, including through the operationalisation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).  

The BRICS also stresses the importance of issues, including industrialisation, infrastructure development, food security, agriculture modernisation for sustainable growth health-care, and tackling climate change for the sustainable development of Africa.  

The African continent remains on the margins of the global trading system and has much to gain through BRICS collaboration.  

AfCFTA and BRICS cooperation presents opportunities for the continent to transition away from its historic role as a commodity exporter towards higher productivity value addition. 

Enhancing China-Africa cooperation 

During the Summit, Chinese President Xi Jinping and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, also co-chaired a China-Africa Leaders’ Roundtable Dialogue under the theme: “Promoting African integration and jointly building a High-Level Africa-China community with a shared future”.  

The Dialogue was attended by 11 State leaders and representatives from the African Union (AU), the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), ECOWAS and other regional institutions. 

On which path suits Africa best, the African people have the most say.  

Advancing modernisation through integration is the independent choice made by African countries and people.  

On this path to modernisation, China has all along been a firm supporter, and walking side by side with Africa.  

Looking ahead, China will work to strengthen cooperation mechanisms with Africa through Belt and Road cooperation and FOCAC.  

China will work actively at the G20 Summit next month to support the AU’s full membership in the group.  

China supports making special arrangements on the UN Security Council reform to meet Africa’s aspiration as a priority.  

China will call on multilateral financial institutions to enhance the say of African countries.  

To help Africa bring its integration and modernisation into a fast track, China makes the following three proposals: 

—China will launch the Initiative on Supporting Africa’s Industrialization. In implementing the Nine Programmes under the FOCAC framework, China will better support Africa in growing its manufacturing sector and realising industrialization and economic diversification.  

—China will launch the Plan for China Supporting Africa’s Agricultural Modernisation.  

China will help Africa expand grain plantation and enhance cooperation on seed and other areas of agro-technology.  

Meanwhile, China will also provide additional emergency food assistance to African countries in need. 

—China will launch the Plan for China-Africa Cooperation on Talent Development.  

China plans to train 500 principals and high-caliber teachers of vocational colleges every year, and 10,000 technical personnel with both Chinese language and vocational skills for Africa.  

China will invite 20,000 government officials and technicians of African countries to participate in workshops and seminars.  

To support Africa in strengthening education and innovation, China will launch the China-Africa Universities 100 Cooperation Plan and 10 pilot exchange programmes of China-Africa partner institutes.  

More to come, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo rightly said during the BRICS Summit that “a strong partnership with the BRICS nations can help construct a prosperous and self-confident Africa”.  

Next year, China will host the FOCAC meeting, where China and Africa may come together again and draw up new plans for our development.  

It is imperative that all stakeholders join hands to advance modernisation to deliver a better future for the Chinese and African people, and set a fine example in the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.  

By Lu Kung,
Chinese Ambassador to Ghana. 

Source: GNA 

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