BRICS Leaders Call for Democratic Global Order

Amid a membership expansion, leaders of the bloc spoke out against sanctions, conditions on sovereign credit and dollar hegemony,  Abdul Rahman reports.

Cyril Ramaphosa at a BRICS summit in 2018. (, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 4.0)

By Abdul Rahman
Peoples Dispatch

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa set the tone for the BRICS summit in Johannesburg when he opened the gathering on Tuesday with calls for a more democratic global economic order with greater participation of countries from the Global South. He underlined that BRICS stands for inclusiveness and transparency in its development agenda and must continue to do so.

Along with the heads of states of the existing BRICS members — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — over 60 other countries participated in the 15th BRICS summit, which concludes Thursday

Chinese President Xi Jinping — in a speech delivered by China’s Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao — highlighted the formal membership application of more than 20 countries and reiterated that China rejects the “exclusive blocs” mentality pursued by the West and called for  expansion of BRICS.

[On Thursday, Ramaphosa announced that six countries — Saudi Arabia, Iran, Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia and the United Arab Emirates — will join the first phase of the group’s expansion in January, Al Jazeera reports.]

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said his government fully supports the expansion of the bloc, adding that it welcomed “moving forward with consensus on this.” India also reiterated its proposal for the African Union’s membership in the G20.

New Model of Development

In his speech, Xi emphasized that the BRICS model of development and growth is contrary to the West’s approach of hegemonization.  Asserting that countries should have the freedom to pursue their own development model, Xi claimed that one country, “obsessed with maintaining hegemony, has gone out of its way to cripple emerging markets and developing countries” — an obvious reference to the U.S.

Xi noted that the world is forced to face a choice — between peace and stability and a new cold war — due to the hegemonic agenda pursued by the West, and pointed out that “hegemonism disrupts development, violates the nation’s right to prosperity and sovereign development.”

Xi noted that BRICS’ New Development Bank (NDB) has been designed to pursue a sustainable development agenda without the political and economic conditionalities which often come with the other existing global financial institutions. 

BRICS’ New Development Bank headquarters in Shanghai. (Donnie28, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

The point was confirmed separately by former Brazilian president and head of the NDB, Dilma Rousseff.  “We repudiate any kind of conditionality,” she was quoted as saying. “Often a loan is given [by the World Bank or IMF] that certain policies are carried out. We don’t do that. We respect the policies of each country.”

The summit was held under the chairmanship of Ramaphosa on the theme of “BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Mutually Accelerated Growth, Sustainable Development and inclusive multilateralism.” 

During his speech on Tuesday, Ramaphosa emphasized the need for reform in international financial institutions (the World Bank and IMF, among others) so that “they can be more agile and responsive to the challenges facing developing economies.”

De-Dollarizing Trade

 Lula Da Silva in November 2022. (UNclimatechange, Flickr)

During their speeches, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin underlined the ongoing efforts by BRICS to de-dollarize international trade. 

Lula said that BRICS looks forward to a “new reference unit” to shield their trade from major reserve currency volatility. He also reiterated the need to shift to local currencies for mutual trade and noted that the NDB is already working to smoothen the process. 

Ramaphosa noted that BRICS is becoming a much more prominent player in the global economy, with over one-third share in the global GDP. He also noted that trade among the existing members of BRICS is increasing and has already crossed $762 billion in 2022. 

Putin addressed the group through a video link and criticized the West for the irresponsible policy of imposing sanctions and putting pressure on countries, particularly in the Global South, which were contrary to the established rules of trade and had caused massive inflation, unemployment and inequality. He said that BRICS is trying to pursue policies that will boost development in poorer nations and will be in the interest of the “global majority.”  

Putin highlighted that dollar settlements among the group members fell more than 28 percent in 2022, with increased efforts to conduct mutual trade in local currencies in the future. 

Africa in Focus

With Africa being the theme of the meeting, Ramaphosa stressed the economic potential of the continent and said that it is ready for all kinds of investments for the development of its infrastructure and exploration of its natural resources. 

He, however, underscored that African countries do not want to remain mere exporters of raw materials but want to process their natural resources and export finished products. 

Following Ramaphosa, Lula assured the African countries that after his predecessor Jair Bolsonaro had disastrously reduced investment and trade with them, Brazil is returning to the continent. He said Brazil was now ready to help Africa with the transfer of technology in areas such as agriculture, Sputnik reported

Putin said that Russia is ready to provide food grains to all African countries, both commercially and free, and announced that six African countries — Burkina Faso, Somalia, Mali, Zimbabwe, the Central African Republic and Eritrea — will receive between 25 and 40 thousand tons of grain free of charge from Russia. 

Abdul Rahman is a correspondent for Peoples Dispatch.

This article is from Peoples Dispatch.  

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

6 comments for “BRICS Leaders Call for Democratic Global Order

  1. shmutzoid
    August 24, 2023 at 23:38

    US militarism is deployed to prevent this multi-polar world from emerging. End of story.
    ——— Full Spectrum Dominance! —- You’re either with us or against us. ——> US foreign policy in a nutshell.

  2. CaseyG
    August 24, 2023 at 18:14

    An idea with nations joining together and yet producing what each nation does best. An ability to give more power to nations that are forming and willing to look at what is best for each nation.

    The sad thing about the world is that the forming nations, even ancient ones, realize this—but America, the UK and others seem to feel that their way is the only way.If America and friends do not wake up—there can be no America—just a sad and failed state.

  3. Verochka
    August 24, 2023 at 18:11

    China has the world’s largest holdings of foreign reserves. China has trade surpluses with the US, the EU, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, etc. China is the world’s single largest exporter. Good thing the world is multipolar LOL.

  4. Drew Hunkins
    August 24, 2023 at 13:03

    This BRICS summit in South Africa is a real watershed event.

    In the course of a week centuries of history are being re-written with a focus on a brighter future for billions of people.

    The “rules based order” will eventually be relegated to the dustbin of history.

    The crucial question for humanity is how quietly will the Washington-Zio hegemon go? Will it meekly fade away with a whimper or will it go rage, rage, rage in the face of the dying light?

    Putin’s SMO started the backlash against the Washington militarist elites last year. South Africa’s BRICS summit is carrying things forward regarding the geopolitical economic order.

  5. Caliman
    August 24, 2023 at 11:44

    Very informative and balance article.

    “[On Thursday, Ramaphosa announced that six countries — Saudi Arabia, Iran, Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia and the United Arab Emirates — will join the first phase of the group’s expansion in January, Al Jazeera reports.]”

    Interesting that three “friends” of America (Egypt, Saudis, Emirates) are in this first batch of the expansion. It seems that these countries’ eyes have been opened by the Ukraine overreaction of the west and they now realize that their investments in western banks and nations are only as secure as the whim of the western leaders. The great disentanglement from the west thus begins …

    • Valerie
      August 25, 2023 at 17:35

      “The great disentanglement from the west thus begins …”

      I like that phrase Caliman. It coincides with another phrase; “the great unravelling” – pertaining to the climate breakdown. Mere semantics at this point. But soon to become awkward reality.

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