BRICS future role: A policy review
IN a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of this year’s BRICS summit, the Chinese President Xi Jinping called on the BRICS business community to expand cooperation on cross-border e-commerce, logistics and local currencies.
Emerging socio-economic partnerships but weak global prospects, China’s anti centric geopolitical consolidation and, last but not the least, conflicting geostrategic scenarios have already alarmed many countries including China.
To counter this onslaught, Chinese policy-makers, especially President Xi, floated the Global Development and Global Security Initiatives that give a message of hope, harmony and prosperity in the region and beyond.
This year BRICS meeting has further consolidated the Xi GDI and GSI and has proposed many doable proposals for global economic recovery, fight against COVID-19, unilateralism and, last but not the least, widening digital gap between the West and East through rational global governance.
Moreover, its proposed expansion by including many new countries from all continents like Indonesia, Malaysia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Argentina, Nigeria, Bangladesh and Pakistan would be game and fate changer in the world.
Hopefully, it will further promote and strengthen spirits of multiculturalism, un-polarity, economic equality, immense socio-economic prosperity, economic sustainability and fair-play in the realms of power politics.
Ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict and ultimate inclusion of the latter in the EU have changed the landscape of regional as well as international power chessboard.
The West’s constant denial about Russian serious concerns in terms of sovereignty and territorial integrity because of planned Eastern expansion of the NATO in Black Sea and cold fish attitude towards Chinese permanent peace efforts to end the unending conflict have now circulated sense of insecurity, intimidation and misappropriation among the regional countries.
Thus this year meeting of BRICS and its various proposals has strategic importance for mitigating the spillover socio-economic, geopolitical and geostrategic ramifications and prepare a joint strategy to diminish unilateral sanctions against Russia.
It seems that world is yet again forced to change or make adjustments according to the wish lists of the US, and the West.
Principal stance of all the BRICS countries against autarchic sanctions against Russia have flared up the heat due to many developing and under developing countries in the line of fire in terms of serious disruption of global supply chains of food & energy commodities, inflation, price hike, poverty and unemployment.
Thus BRICS resistance may be inching towards better conflict resolution in the days to come. Even COVID-19 pandemic has also changed the global geopolitics.
Chinese global role in combating worldwide spread of COVID-19 has become a miracle which saved millions needy people and struggling communities from death.
Thus economic disintegration, political polarization, deteriorating globalization and global governance have now become burning issues for the BRICS.
In this regard, overhauling and transformation in BRICS countries participation in global economic governance through rigorous structural reforms would build a new governance mechanism according to new objective requirements.
BRICS countries should reflect the direction and potential of future development and expand more space in the field of global governance.
Critical analysis rightly suggests that paradigm shift in the new global governance system should be multifaceted and multilayered.
It should change the UN system, the G20, BRICS Plus, and regional mechanisms. In this connection, the UN system should be more productive, responsive and participatory to make it the global governance system of the 21st century.
Climate change and public health have become urgent governance issues which needs urgent action plan from BRICS.
Emerging socio-economic trends and complexity of the banking & financial realities and monetary innovations speak loudly for the drastic change in the G20.
It suggests that there should be new comprehensive roadmap for countering new global inflation and supply chain problems through its institutionalization.
It seems that rapidly changing world order urgently needs change in the existing global governance system and should promote equitable process of globalization and global governance through a complementary relationship not conflicting equations in which BRICS may play an important and leading role in the days to come.
Perpetual Western obsession of imposition of unilateral sanctions should be discouraged at every level.
In this context, western-dominated monetary system should be placed through monetary policy consortium, cooperation and coordination of all the BRICS countries.
In this connection to avoid irrationality of western dominated international reserve currency and international settlement system should be transformed and accommodated to help all the emerging economies in which active role of BRICS is the way forward.
It should not stop striving to establish a more equitable and rational global governance environment.
Thus this year’s BRICS summit displays the potential of a new future. In 2021, BRICS countries accounted for 26 percent of the global economy and had a combined population of 3.2 billion people over 40 percent of the world’s population.
It focuses on development, economic and trade cooperation which will provide the impetus for the recovery of the global economy.
China being the leading and magnetic force in BRICS continues its economic and trade cooperation with BRICS partners expanded in 2021, with its total trade value increasing by 39.2 percent year on year to $490.42 billion.
China has remained Brazil’s largest trading partner for 13 consecutive years. The two countries’ trade volume hit a record high of $164.06 billion in 2021.
The bilateral trade between China and Russia grew by 35.8 percent to $146.89 billion the same year.
It is reality that Russia and Brazil are major exporters of food and energy, which are critical in curbing global inflation.
China and India are critical links in the supply chain, and South Africa is the most complex and affluent country in Sub-Saharan Africa which has now become coal paradise for the EU falling energy requirements.
The New Development Bank, which was founded in 2015 by BRICS countries is producing befitting results for all the countries.
It welcomed two new members, Bangladesh and the United Arab Emirates, in 2021.It has approved about 80 projects with funds of $31.5 billion since it was established.
Now it announced its plan to deploy $30 billion as financial support to member countries from 2022 to 2026, among which 40 per cent of the funds will be used to slow the process of climate change.
In addition, the BRICS has seen rapid expansion in the development of its shared economy and mobile payments.
Its vast population has laid the foundation for a deep consumer market and digital economy.
The New Development Bank provides an important vehicle for cross-border financing, which is key to facilitating digital trade and infrastructure, which she viewed as two important collaboration areas for BRICS countries in the future.
To conclude, BRICS countries should further enhance cooperation in macroeconomic policy, food & energy security, banking & finance, monetary & fiscal cooperation, artificial intelligence, climate change, biodiversity, water conservation and agriculture development.
—The writer is Director, the Centre for South Asia & International Studies Islamabad & regional expert, China, CPEC & BRI.