Brics is not in competition with G7, says Minister Pandor

Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor is adamant that Brics is running its own race and not competing with Group of Seven (G7), another global economic power bloc.

Pandor was speaking at the Brics welcoming gala dinner in Midrand on Monday evening as South Africa hosts Brazil, India, Russia and China for the 15th Brics Summit.

There has been suggestions that the Brics is out to obliterate G7, which is dominated by the global north. The G7 is a grouping comprised of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US.

Pandor insists that Brics is not concerned about G7, saying it is moving in its own lane and is well on course to forge a truly multi-polar geopolitical environment.

“Brics is a forum of leading emerging markets and developing countries. We are not in some form of competition with G7, we wish to establish our place in the world and are doing so right now,” said Pandor.

Pandor was better explained through this year’s Brics Summit theme: Partnership for new accelerated growth, sustainable development and inclusive multilateralism.

At the core of forging this partnership, she said, would be having the buy-in of African countries.

According to Pandor, the Brics’ agenda is different to that of any economic grouping that ever existed, as it thrives on emerging and developing countries that treat each other as equals.

For Brics, she charged, it is all about mutually beneficial growth and driving inclusion of African countries and the global south in the world systems that have for long been a preserve of the global north.

“Through our working groups, it is our intention to advance the alignment of African Union’s Agenda 2063 and UN 2030 Agenda for sustainable development.

“We will continue to be responsive to the needs and concerns of the broader global south while ensuring we do not leave the African continent behind.”

She said the summit will also focus of charting a way forward towards transforming multi-lateral institutions such as the UN and others.

As it relates to UN security council, she complained, it should not be tolerated any longer that that decisions are being taken among the few by disenfranchising the many.

For the security council not to have a permanent member from Africa is one of the anomalies of the currently skewed balance of forces in world institutions.

The summit has received thumbs up from former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo, who praised the offensive to move away from the dominance of the US dollar on international trade.

“For me, it is not a matter of a new currency, but it is a matter of payment and settlement system,” said Obasanjo.

“If I want to buy something from India or Brazil, why should I be looking for dollars? What I want to buy in India, my supplier is not interested in dollars, he is interested in rupee.

“So, the issue for Brics is about payment systems and allowing countries to pay with whatever currency they want.”

The summit, held in Sandton in the north of Johannesburg, officially gets under way on Tuesday afternoon with statements from all five heads of states, albeit a recorded message from Russian Federation president Vladimir Putin, who is not attending the meeting physically.

Later on Tuesday, Ramaphosa will host a dinner with his counterparts where they will discuss, behind closed doors, burning issues in the geopolitical space.

Among other issues will be the issue of the use of local currencies for international trade.

With Brics having attracted a lot of interest from other countries wanting to join the winning team, the heads of states will also use the dinner to decide whether to open up membership.

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine will also likely feature during the open discussion.

Putin will connect to the dinner virtually from the Kremlin.

The three-day discussions will conclude on Thursday with Ramaphosa as the chair holding a press conference.


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