Several analysts have pointed out in recent days that the Brics, a group of countries including Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, have surpassed in terms of GDP the G7, a grouping of the 7 most industrialized countries in the world. A major geopolitical upheaval? What impact on Africa? The Brics have become more economically powerful than the G7:
The Brics have become more economically powerful than the G7
The facts. The curves have crossed. The Brics, a group of countries including Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, now have more economic clout than the G7, the seven most industrialized countries in the world, according to data from Acorn Macro Consulting, a British research institute.
The Brics bloc contributes 31.5% of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) compared to 30.7% for the G7. The trend should continue to grow in the coming years. The growth of the Brics is notably driven by the economic emergence of China and India. On Twitter, the information was highlighted by Acorn consultant Richard Dias and journalist George Mack, who noted: “It’s no longer the developed world and the developing world. It’s a rising world and a falling world.
The BRICS, which have begun to institutionalize their approach with regular ministerial meetings and launched their own development bank in 2014 to counteract the current global financial architecture designed by the Bretton Woods agreements, have for several years been calling for a greater role in global governance bodies and a shift to a multi-polar order. In fact, despite their economic and demographic importance (3.2 billion inhabitants), the BRICS group currently has only 15% of the voting rights in the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF); a relative share that undermines their real economic and demographic importance (3.2 billion inhabitants).
“BRICS is not just about South Africa. It’s about Africa.”
Some 20 states, including several African ones such as Algeria, Egypt and Zimbabwe want to join the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).
This organization “has been inclusive from the very first declaration,” said South Africa’s ambassador-at-large for this organization, Anil Sooklal, in an interview with Sputnik.
Moreover, Pretoria represents the entire continent in this group, not just South Africa, he said.
“When South Africa assumed the BRICS presidency in 2013, (it) was put forward that if BRICS comes to African soil, it can’t be just about South Africa. It has to be about Africa.”
“Because you can’t have South Africa as an island of prosperity in an ocean of poverty,” the official added. From the moment South Africa joined the BRICS, this participation meets the development needs of Africa, according to him.
Unlike the G7, “BRICS has been positive towards Africa because each member state has a dynamic relationship with Africa,” added Anil Sooklal. It was not easy to approach the G7, whose “doors were closed to us”. It was not easy to talk to them about Africa’s development needs either, he said.
On the other hand, the second edition of the Russia-Africa summit will take place in July. “You have the India-Africa Forum Summit, you have FOCAC (Forum on China-Africa Cooperation) and you have the Latin America-Africa Summit. So all four BRICS countries are deeply involved.”
Moreover, the dynamics of cooperation among BRICS member states have positively changed since the West urged other countries to refrain from maintaining close ties with Moscow.
According to Anil Sooklal, “the BRICS are highly valued” and its members continue to fortify “very strong cooperation.” And the rest of the global South wants to be part of it, he assures.
Africa and Brics, towards a new dynamic?
The group of emerging countries Brics seems to have entered a new dynamic on the African continent. Last June, Vladimir Putin said at the Brics summit that he was convinced of the role to be played by the Brics in the development of a “unifying and positive path towards the formation of a truly multipolar system”. In addition to a geostrategic interest in the context of the war in Ukraine, the Brics also have economic interests and influence.
Africa and Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa), towards a new dynamic, Senegal, Central African Republic, Ivory Coast. The Russian president of the Brics, Larissa Zelentsova, has been meeting with various actors of the continent in recent weeks. At the same time, the creation of a Brics representative for West and Central Africa was made official, headed by Ahoua Don Mello from Côte d’Ivoire. He highlights the priorities established…
“First, infrastructure projects, which are projects in the African Union’s Agenda 2063 as a priority, and also projects that we negotiate directly with the target countries chosen for the first actions. And these are really the major infrastructure projects of interconnection between African states. This includes highways, roads, railroads, telecommunications, energy and all other related services.
Chinese and Russian action on the continent
If the share of Russian investments on the continent, compared to other players, are now at the margin, Russia intends to catch up, says the representative of Brics also consultant of the Russian employers. “Obviously, China is the heavyweight. There is no doubt about it and we must ensure that all the Brics countries increase their interventions in Africa so that we can catch up quickly in terms of investment in infrastructure and industry.
But Chinese and Russian action on the continent is often criticized. Their detractors speak of the “Chinese debt trap”, or the plundering of African minerals. For Julien Vercueil, an economist at the National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilization, action via the Brics helps defuse these accusations.
“The Brics are a way for them to get around the difficulties they may encounter individually in their approach to certain countries. Then, of course, Russia has every interest in pushing the influence of the Brics in Africa because it reflects on its own influence. But the idea is really to try to show that we are in favor of a form of multipolarity and not that Russia on the one hand or China on the other hand wish to act as a counterweight to the United States and then largely to Western countries.
To this end, the Brics have their own development bank, which is intended to be an alternative window. However, it remains very constrained by its means and its obligations to international markets.