The 2023 Brics Summit held in Johannesburg recently ushers in a revolution that has geopolitical connotations of yet unqualified proportions and, more importantly, it’s another opportunity to deliver for the people and make a sustainable impact.
The summit, attended by over 30 heads of state from across Africa, provides Africa with another occasion to be in charge of its destiny. Over 20 countries have formally applied to join Brics and more than 40 countries have expressed an interest in becoming part of the Brics’ family.
As Africa’s largest trading partner in Brics, Gauteng has a unique opportunity to attract investments to expand its manufacturing, mining and beneficiation, energy and renewable energy, as well as taking advantage of its export capability to trade in goods and services flowing from the Brics sectoral cooperation agreements.
With over 30% of the world’s land (about 68.5 million square kilometres, or 30% of the globe), a population of over three billion (41%), accounting for about 18% of world trade and GDP of nearly 31% ($20 trillion, or about R381 trillion), Brics is a force to be reckoned with.
The expansion of the bloc will put member nations on a growth trajectory, with the potential to contribute more than 50% of global GDP by 2030. Brics is poised to lead change in shaping the global political and socioeconomic landscape.
A decision was taken to admit six of the 20 countries that applied immediately: Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. When the six come in on 1 January 2024, Brics will account for 37% of the world’s GDP and consequent purchasing power, and 46% of the world population.
The geopolitical and global economic and structural shift is also marked by projections by S&P that India will be the fastest-growing economy in the G20 (and G7) and could overtake Japan and Germany to become the third-largest economy in the world. China is a close second to the United States.
Brics has matured into a comprehensive, multitiered framework exerting substantial global influence. It is time to leverage this for the entire continent of Africa.
The most obvious benefit for Africa is the potential for increased trade and investment with some of the biggest economies in the world, especially China and India, as well as having access to the New Development Bank.
South Africa has a duty to leverage Brics infrastructure towards the integration of Africa and lead in ensuring implementation of the initiatives under the theme: Brics and Africa: Partnering for Mutually Acceptable Growth, Sustainable Development and Inclusive Multilateralism.
We can build together and entrench Africa as an equal partner at the global and multilateral leadership table.