The BRICS bloc has played a crucial role in ensuring that countries in the Global South are not side-lined by providing them with COVID-19 vaccine aid and strengthening infrastructure-building through the New Development Bank, according to the Deputy Director-General in the Department of International Relations (DIRCO) Professor Anil Sooklal.
Professor Sooklal, who is Deputy Director-General for Asia and the Middle East for DIRCO, recently highlighted the role of the BRICS mechanism in ensuring the voices of developing countries are heard on the international stage.
“I think BRICS has a very important role to play to ensure that the Global South is not once again marginalised in terms of the global financial, economic and trading architecture,” Sooklal said in a recent interview with the China Global Television Network.
According to Sooklal the BRICS countries, which comprise of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, had stepped up during the COVID-19 pandemic to offer much-needed vaccines to affected lower-income countries like those in Africa.
“When you had the outbreak of the pandemic, it was BRICS countries that came forward to assist, especially Africa. You saw this in terms of making vaccines available to South Africa by India, by China as well as Russia, and also to the larger African continent. China was the first to be struck by the pandemic, but China managed to contain it and emerge out of it. But immediately that China emerged out of the pandemic, they shared their experience with the fellow BRICS countries,” he said.
The Shanghai-based New Development Bank (NDB) was also singled-out as one of the examples of the mechanisms introduced by BRICS countries to support sustainable development.
Since the beginning of the NDB’s operations in July 2015, the bank has approved approximately 80 projects throughout all its member states, covering sectors such as of transport, water and sanitation, clean energy, digital infrastructure, social infrastructure and urban development. Altogether totalling a portfolio of US$30 billion.
This week 14th BRICS Leaders’ Summit, which will be hosted virtually by Chinese President Xi Jinping between 23 and 24 June. During the Summit, leaders will focus on strengthening intra-BRICS relations and mutually beneficial cooperation across the BRICS pillars of cooperation, namely political and security, economic and finance, social, and people-to-people partnership.
An important part of the BRICS Economic Partnership strategy, particularly for South Africa, is to diversify trade so that more manufactured goods, rather than raw commodities, are traded.
~ From the Desk of the President, 20 June 2022.https://t.co/T8kA4JsPGJ pic.twitter.com/F3NIY8ZEaA
— DIRCO South Africa (@DIRCO_ZA) June 20, 2022