BRICS in Africa: Collaboration for Inclusive Growth and Shared Prosperity in the Fourth Industrial Revolution - that's the theme of the 10th BRICS Summit to be chaired by South Africa in Johannesburg this July. It's a theme that goes to the very heart of the BRICS ethos – embracing the inclusive global mindset where everyone can benefit. This approach is diametrically opposed to the new wave of protectionism and unilateral measures being led by the United States, and that is precisely what makes BRICS so relevant at this time.
When discussing the build up to the summit, Lindiwe Sisulu, South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation said multilateralism was under siege, but that South Africa remains deeply committed to multilateral diplomacy, calling for BRICS to keep on track of the challenges in the changing world, but remain resolute on the BRICS dreams.
The overarching commitment to inclusivity is clearly evident as South Africa has determined that an outreach will take place with various African countries including Rwanda, Namibia and Togo. In addition, South Africa will also host BRICS Plus Outreach on the borders of the summit, which will see countries like Argentina, Indonesia, Egypt, and Turkey participating.
Sisulu said South Africa proposed new areas of BRICS cooperation in peacekeeping, a Vaccine Research Center, BRICS Gender and Women's Forum, BRICS Tourism Track of Cooperation and advancing the Fourth Industrial Revolution to leapfrog the technology divide.
To drill down deeper into BRICS's operation and vision and bring greater clarity to its relevance, ChinAfrica has compiled a comprehensive package of reports and commentary to coincide with the summit. Included in this are the voices of Lin Songtian, the Chinese Ambassador to South Africa, who explains in what way BRICS cooperation has established a major force in shaping the modernization of international governance, and Dolana Msimang, the South African Ambassador to China, shedding light on how South Africa regards BRICS as a catalyst to its core foreign policy priorities, such as promotion of the African Union's agendas and the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
Academic He Wenping, a senior researcher of the Charhar Institute, offers insight into the importance of 2018 for both China and Africa, as the BRICS mechanism can collaborate with the Forum of China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and the Belt and Road Initiative to further promote African development; Garth Shelton, Associate Professor of International Relations at the University of Witwatersrand discusses why as Africa's voice within the BRICS system, South Africa has a historical responsibility to advance BRICS cooperation, while at the same time facilitating Africa's inclusion and constructive participation in the platform's process.
Perhaps the most important area of the BRICS mission is funding - for many projects and infrastructure development required. ChinAfrica had an exclusive interview with Leslie Maasdorp, Vice President of the BRICS New Development Bank, to learn about the major role the bank is playing in assisting Africa to realize independent and sustainable growth, bridging the widening gap for developmental finance not only for BRICS countries, but also emerging economies as a whole, another indication of the mechanism growing relevance. Ten years after the establishment of BRICS, it is clear that the bloc is not competing with other global organizations, but it does seek more global parity, and has thus broadened its vision to encompass economic, global political, security and social matters.