Brics cannot but signal a new dawn for the South

Kae Matundu-Tjiparuro

Against the best wishes of the Big Brothers of the capitalist order, the 15th Summit of Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), has come and gone.

Hailed by its constituents and proponents as having been a resounding success. And rightly so! If only for the mere fact that it took place where and when it was scheduled to, in South Africa. Against all odds. The sword of the world economic disorder, because what and how else can one describe the current economic order anything else but organised chaos masterminded by colonialists. Today’s neo-colonialists to continue their imperialists’ neo-colonial capitalist project, which is the continued extraction of the natural wealth of the South by the North.

The very same objective which motivated the colonisation of the South by the North. For the extraction and pillaging of the natural resources of the South, namely the colonised and exploited countries. Which is still the reality today of so-called globalisation and all glamorous justification jargons which has been coined by the capitalists and their proxies to mastermind the continued exploitation of the South by the North. Led notably by the Bretton Woods institutions like International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

Since the dawn of capitalism and colonialism, people of the South have been clamarouring and aspiring for an economic world order speaking to their economic interests, especially that of the people, the downtrodden.

Amongst others, one cannot but recall the New International Economic Order (NIEO). The fundamental founding principles thereof of which were: All nations are sovereign and equal. The people in these nations have a right to self-determination, and no country can interfere in the internal affairs of another nation. There should be peaceful cooperation between all member countries. Put forward during the 1970s by some developing countries through the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development to promote their interests by improving their terms of trade, increasing development assistance, developed-country tariff reductions.

This was informed and predated by the continued exploitative economic relations between Europe and its newly politically so-called independent and sovereign African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries as per first and initially the Lomé Convention of the early 1960s. Which is today circumscribed by the so-called Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), and the much vaunted African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

“To build anything that comes close to a ‘partnership of equals’, Europe and Africa must have the courage to envision a partnership beyond money. The power asymmetry in the partnership is rooted in both tangible (economic) and intangible (mentality) factors. While Europe has to see Africa as more than a charity case, Africa needs to lay down a strategic agenda vis-a-vis the EU and engage proactively.

Refocusing the partnership from aid to trade and investment has been an objective of the partnership in the past few years. Yet the realisation of it has not been to everyone’s liking as there is often a big gap between commitments and their attainment when it comes to trade, investment and technological transfer,” reads a passage from an article this March by Lidet, Tadesse and Shiferaw from the Centre for Africa-Europe Relations titled: The EU-Africa Partnership: One step forwards, two steps backward.

This article cannot but take Yours Truly Ideologically years back when the Lomé Convention was ten years old. In an a research paper reviewing the then ten years relationship between the EU and the ACP countries, I could not but conclude that for the ACP countries, the relationship had been one of shattered dreams as I then titled my research paper. Fast track this to 2023, and we see some of the countries of the South still eagerly looking for a new economic and trade direction.

Obviously the current trade relationships have been at best exploitative, as if they may have been designed to be anything else other than exploitative as they are.

Yours Truly Ideologically cannot but wonder what may have happened to all good-sounding concepts like globalisation, where the world, especially people of the South, have been made to believe they are equal partners in a global village? Not to mention the NIEO, which for that matter, was at the initiative and insistence of the South. As good as the intentions of the South may have been then, simply the Big Brothers have not been ready to genuinely listen to the people of the South, let alone treat them as equals. But perhaps today the world is geopolitically a different terrain from then. If only for the people of the South having having realised, amongst others, the raw deal they have been getting, but that they are now also global players in their own rights. That the Big Brothers of the North can only ignore at their own peril. Hence France’s eagerness to invite self to the just-ended Brics Summit in South Africa but to be sent back home with its tail between her legs. Indeed the geopolitical terrain ha
s changed. There can be and must now not looking back for the people of the South to be able to define and chart their own destiny.

Yes, some of the constituents of Brics may have their own strategic geopolitical interests, rightfully so because who cannot and does not have her own interests after all. But as much they must be aware that the time when people of the South could be taken for granted is no more. When they were mere zombies and passive actors at best, and at worst silent exploited by Big Brothers.

People of the South as being proven by Brics have now , have not only awaken to the deceit of gloablisation and development aid but also to their own competencies and capabilities. As much as to their own ideologies based on their own eccentricities and economic imperatives and interests. Informed, most importantly, by their commonalities, and also mutual respect and equality.

Yours Truly Ideologically could not but observe the concepts circumscribing such mutuality and commonality such as cultural and people to people exchanges, as opposed to hollow concepts such as globalisation, development, and what-have-you.

Cultural and people to people underlines the grassroot base and/or approach or inclination giving it, if only a semblance that it is rooted in uplifting the masses and/or ordinary people, compared to the bourgeoisie nature of most of the capitalist oriented economic blocs, most of which are based more on unequal trade relations. Which many a times are removed from the livelihoods of the ordinary people thus making them as far as the ordinary person in the street but fairytale mechanism tailored more to capitalist aspirations and wants rather than the need of the ordinary person, who most of the time are in dire need of uplifting.

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