South Africa Views BRICS as Platform to Promote Continent’s Needs

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 / Go to the mediabankFlags of four of the five the BRICS countries: South Africa, India, Brazil and China. / Go to the mediabankInternationalIndiaAfricaExclusiveSouth Africa will host the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India and China at the 15th BRICS Summit in August this year.South Africa considers BRICS a platform for advancing and addressing wider African developmental needs, said Professor Anil Sooklal, ambassador-at-large for Asia and BRICS.Sooklal, who is also South Africa’s BRICS sherpa, explained that since the state joined the group in 2011, it considered itself a representative for the whole continent. When South Africa assumed the presidency of BRICS in 2013, he recalled, the country “put forward the idea that if BRICS is happening on African soil, it can’t be about South Africa, it must be about Africa.”Moreover, since the country became a member of the group, he underlined, every BRICS declaration touches upon the topic of Africa and discusses ways of resolving its socio-economic issues.“It’s not just about South Africa, it’s about our continent. Because you can’t have South Africa as an island of prosperity in a sea of poverty,” he asserted.According to the professor, the group has always been inclusive in terms of cooperating with other countries that are not members of the bloc, in particular with nations of the Global South.AfricaBRICS to Discuss Reforming Global Political and Economic Architecture, South Africa Says15 February, 11:05 GMTThere are two initiatives within the organization that provide for inviting other states to the BRICS dialogue. He called them the main dimensions for “interacting with the world.” The Outreach initiative was proposed by South Africa in 2013 and has since been supported by all members. In 2017, Sooklal stated, “China brought an additional layer” in terms of the group’s cooperation with the world – BRICS+.

He also recalled that years ago, when African leaders wanted to start open dialogue with the G7 about African development needs, they faced “closed doors,” as the members were reluctant “to speak to countries outside of the bloc.” They had to push forward for a chance to speak out on behalf of Africans at this platform.

However, he highlighted, unlike the G7, BRICS has always been “positive for Africa” as every member state has a dynamic relationship with the countries of the continent. He further drew examples of the member states organizing regular meetings, bringing together African leaders to discuss their nations’ needs and support them in any way possible. Thus, Sooklal underscored, all BRICS countries are deeply involved in a dialogue with Africa.Talking about the pressure from the West faced by African countries over their cooperation with Russia, he noted that the main result of it was the reverse of what it looked to achieve. Sooklal emphasized that “cooperation with Russia is as strong as ever.” Furthermore, the interaction between African states and the BRICS group has recently intensified and strengthened, with more than a dozen countries from the Global South seeking to become “part of the BRICS family.”AfricaSouth Africa to Advance African Agenda in BRICS, Ramaphosa Says9 January, 14:53 GMT

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