Bangladesh firmly believes that the summit of prominent emerging economies — Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS) — should not be perceived solely as a “geopolitical platform,” but rather as a cooperative platform dedicated to assisting emerging economies in advancing the cause of developing nations.
The upcoming 15th BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) summit, scheduled from 22nd to 24th of August in Johannesburg, bears great significance for the group’s developing member states. As South Africa assumes the role of rotating chair of BRICS, the summit is expected to address crucial global geopolitical, economic cooperation, and emergent economy issues. This gathering of leaders from diverse regions has the potential to reshape international discourse, strengthen economic partnerships, and establish a more just and equitable world order.
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The summit’s scope and attendees
The upcoming BRICS summit in South Africa marks the first ‘in-person summit’ since the commencement of the COVID-19 pandemic. At least 40 heads of state and government, including South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will be present at the event. Notably, Russian President Vladimir Putin will participate virtually through Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov due to risks of detention over allegations of war crimes in Ukraine.
In addition, 67 leaders from Africa, Latin America, Asia, and the Caribbean, as well as prominent personalities such as the UN secretary-general and the president of the New Development Bank, have been invited to the summit.
In response to the summit’s invitation, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is scheduled to attend the highly anticipated event of the world’s leaders.
Fostering support for developing economies
The outlooks and viewpoints expressed by foreign ministers and leaders reflect the overarching concept of BRICS as a supportive platform for developing countries. As an observer nation, Bangladesh has a unique perspective on the function of BRICS. Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen emphasizes that BRICS should be viewed as a platform to support emergent economies and developing nations, and not as a geopolitical conflict zone.
“The developed countries should be happy that the BRICS emerging countries, who have resources, would like to help developing countries,” Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen expressed on a briefing arranged ahead of Premier’s visit.
He said, “It should be win-win for all the countries though some people speak more about the geopolitical tension for some reason.” Momen, however, said that the countries of the Global South are facing difficulties as many banks were expelled from the SWIFT, a bank messaging system for transacting dollars.
“Many speak about de-dollarisation, but it is not easy. We don’t have much to comment on this. So, if the emerging countries support us with funding, the developed countries should be happy. In that case, their responsibilities will be shared. None is their enemy,” Momen added.
Bangladesh firmly believes that the summit of prominent emerging economies — Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS) — should not be perceived solely as a “geopolitical platform,” but rather as a cooperative platform dedicated to assisting emerging economies in advancing the cause of developing nations. Bangladesh’s stance and support aligns harmoniously with BRICS’ fundamental principles, aiming to counterbalance Western hegemony and foster a fairer and more inclusive global order.
How BRICS can foster support to developing nations?
With its ambitious agenda and evolving initiatives, BRICS has the potential to greatly impact the global economic landscape. Here’s how BRICS fosters support for developing countries and why its expansion is important:
Expansion for inclusive growth:
The effort by BRICS to increase its membership by 23 nations, including Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh and Egypt, demonstrates its commitment to fostering inclusive development. BRICS provides a platform for developing economies to collaborate, share knowledge, and learn from the experiences of its more established members by welcoming new members. This expansion paves the way for greater cooperation, technological exchange, and economic growth, which are crucial for the growth of developing nations.
Common currency and financial autonomy:
The discussion around reducing the dominance of the US dollar in international transactions and the exploration of a common payments system underscores BRICS’ intent to empower developing nations with greater financial autonomy. By facilitating transactions in local currencies, BRICS minimizes dependency on external financial mechanisms that may carry constraints and conditions. This move directly benefits developing countries, ensuring smoother trade and financial interactions.
The New Development Bank:
The New Development Bank (NDB), a vital component of BRICS, serves a crucial role in promoting the growth of member and prospective member nations. The NDB provides accessible financing for essential infrastructure projects and sustainable development initiatives by emphasizing lending in local currencies. This strategy reduces financial obstacles, promotes sustainability, and encourages regional collaboration. The NDB’s influence is evident in the extraordinary 56% increase in trade between BRICS members over the past five years, which contributed to the group’s nominal GDP of $25.9 trillion, or 25.7% of global output.
Aligned with BRICS’ commitment to a more equitable and prosperous global landscape, the NDB’s initiatives enable developing nations to improve economic growth, employment creation, and the general well-being of their populations.
Fostering peace and stability:
The collaborative approach taken by BRICS to resolve global challenges, such as the Russia-Ukraine conflict, exemplifies its role in promoting peace and stability. Despite the fact that individual members may have their own interests, BRICS seeks diplomatic solutions to conflicts that can harm developing countries. This cooperative posture promotes a peaceful international order, thereby mitigating the detrimental effects of conflicts on the economies of developing nations.
Empowering the global south:
Around 40 countries, including Argentina, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, are interested in joining BRICS, demonstrating its popularity and influence among developing nations. As a unified bloc, BRICS represents the aspirations of the Global South, providing a robust forum for these nations to express their concerns, advocate for their interests, and work collaboratively towards more equitable international structures.
Sheikh Hasina to leave for BRICS Summit
On August 22, Prime Minister Hasina is set to depart from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA) aboard Emirates Airlines flight EK 583 at 10:15 am. After a brief stopover at Dubai International Airport, the flight is scheduled to land at O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa, at 8:50 pm.
At the airport, the Prime Minister will be greeted by a minister-in-waiting of the South African government and the High Commissioner of Bangladesh to South Africa. Sheikh Hasina will then be escorted to her residence, the Radisson Blu Hotel Sandton Johannesburg.
On her first day in Johannesburg, the Prime Minister will attend the Bangladesh Trade and Business Summit on August 23 at 10:00 am at the Radisson Hotel and Convention Center. She will attend and speak at the Bangladesh Envoys Conference in South Africa at 12:30 pm on the same day at the Palace of Residence.
The Premier will presumably hold a bilateral meeting with Chinese President XI Jinping at 3:30 p.m. at the Hotel Hilton in Sandton. She will later attend a banquet and cultural performance in Johannesburg’s Gallagher Estate.
On August 24, the Prime Minister will participate in the Friends of BRICS Leaders Dialogue (BRICS-Africa Outreach and the BRICS Plus Dialogues) at the Sandton Convention Centre, beginning at 9:00 a.m. She is scheduled to deliver a five-minute speech at the summit.
On the sidelines of the summit, the Prime Minister is expected to hold a number of bilateral meetings with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Mozambican President Filipe Jacinta Nyusi, and New Development Bank President Dilma Vana Rousseff at the Sandton Convention Centre. She will attend a brunch hosted by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. On August 25, the premier will attend a meeting of community leaders.
Sheikh Hasina is set to depart O.R. Tambo International Airport on an Emirates Airlines flight (EK 762) at 1:40 p.m. (local time) on August 27 and arrive at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport at 8:40 p.m.
The BRICS summit reflects the aspirations of developing economies and serves as a beacon of cooperation and transformation. Its ability to promote economic development, challenge established norms, and amplify the voices of developing nations highlights its significance on the international stage. The world anticipates that the BRICS summit will define the global narrative in ways that promote greater equity, stability, and progress.