Conscience of a Centrist: Brics not pulling its heavy weight

Johannesburg – As the world is caught in the pandemic of the century, developed countries have failed to take on a leading role in global cooperation for an equitable vaccine rollout.

This should have been the time when Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) should have risen to the occasion and shunned the dogmas of the past.

The grouping represents more than 3-billion people and a combined gross domestic product of more than $15-trillion (R226-trillion).

The boys club is said to be the “third giant” after the EU and the US.

The body has made some strides since its establishment in 2009. In 2014, at the Fortaleza Summit in Brazil, important institutions were created – the New Development Bank and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement.

However, the impact of the group is still in question. The failure of Brics to establish its own Covid-19 vaccine funding facility outside the Covax hoax is an indictment on the group. It is further proof that Brics cannot overhaul the US-led liberal world order in our lifetime.

The refusal of erstwhile president Donald Trump to be part of Covax, the globally pooled coronavirus vaccine procurement and equitable distribution effort, was a show of strength by the US.

It was a message to Brics and the world that the globe needs the US to get things done, hence the decision by the Joe Biden administration to join Covax cements America’s place as the world’s best hope.

This should have Brics hanging its head in shame. The grouping accounts for nearly half of the world’s population. Surely the leaders of the stokvel should have come together and devise credible plan to vaccinate their people and lift economies in the group out of the doldrums.

The good book might yet be proven true when it cautioned: Where there is no vision, the people perish. The Brics group’s potential to challenge or threaten the US-led world order is seriously undermined by its response to the pandemic.

The potential of Brics to reshape the world order should not be stymied by visionless leadership.

The five countries are the world’s most important emerging economies and must aggressively push their muscles on the world stage as power dynamics shift. The bloc represent a strategy for creating a world order that includes a bigger role for developing nations and is becoming a meeting place for developing countries.

The handling of the pandemic and the vaccine rollout should serve as a wake-up call to the bloc that it must shape up or be reduced to an insignificant group with no teeth.

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