BRICS XIV Tackles Issues of Global Peace and Development
The 14 th BRICS Summit is held in Beijing this month in virtual format under the theme of
“Foster High-quality BRICS Partnership, Usher in a New Era for Global Development”. BRICS
is a grouping of five major emerging economies - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -
which together represent about 41% of the world’s population, 26% of the planet’s land mass
across four of the continents, 25% of global GDP and 20% of world trade.
The summit was chaired by President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China, as chair of
BRICS for 2022, under the theme, ‘Foster High-quality BRICS Partnership: Usher in a New Era
for Global Development’. The Summit will be attended by leaders of relevant emerging markets
and developing countries comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
The 14 th BRICS Summit under the theme “Foster High-quality BRICS Partnership, Usher in a
New Era for Global Development”, aims to deepen cooperation form a high-quality partnership
to drive global development among all BRICS member countries. The summit comes as the
world faces the continued spread of COVID-19, a tortuous world economic recovery and
increasingly salient peace and security issues.
Similar to the two last ones the 14 th BRICS Summit is hosted online through video conference by
China as a precaution to minimize risk of interruptions due to Covid 19. Under the theme "Foster
High-quality BRICS Partnership, Usher in a New Era for Global Development," the Chinese
Foreign Ministry, Wang Yi said earlier in the year that public health and vaccine cooperation
have been identified as one of the key areas of BRICS cooperation in the year 2022. his year, as
the world continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
President Xi Jinping in his keynote speech during the BRICS Business Forum pointed out that
the 14 TH BRICS Summit is held at a time when the world is “facing drastic changes and a
pandemic both unseen in a century. Various security challenges keep emerging. The
world economy still faces strong headwinds on its path toward recovery, and global
development has suffered major setbacks. Where is the world headed: Peace or war?
Progress or regression? Openness or isolation? Cooperation or confrontation? These are choices
of the times that we are confronted with.” President Xi asked these pertinent questions as a way
of paving a roadmap for a discussion on how to “Foster High-quality BRICS Partnership, Usher
in a New Era for Global Development”.
President Xi went on to point out the main task that befalls the BRICS member states in the
current geopolitical situation. He pointed out that “BRICS countries, as important emerging
markets and major developing countries, need to act with a sense of responsibility to bring
positive, stabilizing and constructive strength to the world. The statement was uttered as an
antidote to the recent venom of unilateralism that seem set on destabilizing multilateral
principles and achievements of the United Nations Charter. In stressing the importance of
multilateralism President Xi pointed out that nations ought to “refuse to be led astray by any
turn of events or intimidated by any risk. We should rise to challenge and forge ahead with
resolve toward the goal of building a community with a shared future for mankind.”
In conclusion President Xi stated that in the face of formidable and complex circumstances,
BRICS countries need to speak out for equity and justice and jointly encourage the international
community to practice true multilateralism. In a manner of speaking the president sought to act
as a voice of reason in the mist of upsets mired by unilateralism and laager mentality. He
emphasized that BRICS member states and the developing nations ought to be watchful of
tendencies towards aimless sanctions and the need to reject a Cold War mentality and bloc
confrontation in order to oppose unilateral sanctions and reject small circles built around
hegemonism by forming one big family in a community with a shared future for mankind.
In a polite but firm response to the developed world’s reaction to the Ukraine-Russia imbroglio,
President Xi pointed out that BRICS countries should support each other on issues concerning
their respective core interests, practice true multilateralism, uphold justice, fairness and unity,
and oppose hegemony, bullying and division. The statement aims at resoluteness for BRICS
members to serve as main actors to promote the effective implementation of the Global Security
Initiative to contribute to global stability.
As a measure towards to expand BRICS initiatives to other nations and regions, President Xi
pointed out that; member countries “do not form a closed club or an exclusive 'clique’." Instead,
they are members of a family and partners for win-win cooperation.
He continued to point out that “over the past five years, the "BRICS Plus" approach has set a fine
example for emerging markets and developing countries to advance South-South cooperation
and gain strength through unity”.
Xi added that the expansion process of the BRICS cooperation mechanism should be pushed
forward to allow like-minded partners to join the big BRICS family at an early date.
The speech by President Xi may be summarized into following four points;
- a need to embrace solidarity and coordination and jointly maintain world peace and
- a need to reach out to each other and jointly promote sustainable global development;
- a need to tide over difficulties together and jointly pursue win-win cooperation
- and to be inclusive and jointly expand openness and integration.
The first point urges BRICS member states to learn from history in order to prevent tragedies of
the past perpetrated through tendencies towards group politics and bloc confrontation. It points
out that the Ukraine crisis is another wake-up call for all in the world. It reminds us that blind
faith in the so-called “position of strength” and attempts to expand military alliances and seek
one’s own security at the expense of others will only land oneself in a security dilemma. It calls
on member states to stay committed to the Global Security Initiative, and follow the vision of
common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security; stay committed to respecting the
sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries; stay committed to abiding by the purposes
and principles of the UN Charter and to stay committed to taking the legitimate security concerns
of all countries seriously; stay committed to peacefully resolving differences and disputes
between countries through dialogue and consultation; and stay committed to maintaining security
in both traditional and non-traditional domains.
The second point seeks to promote and implement goals of the global UN’s 2030 Agenda for
Sustainable Development. It seeks to alleviate the plight of almost 1.2 billion people in nearly 70
countries that are confronted with COVID-19, food, energy and debt crises. It finally seeks to
consolidate and prevent the loss of decades of achievements in global poverty reduction.
The third point seeks to consolidate and strengthen gains of the post-Cold War technological and
global economic achievements. It aims to prevent politization of global economy where regional
advantages are used as weapons to wilfully impose sanctions in an effort to seek
primary position in the international financial and monetary systems.
The fourth point seeks to promote open and inclusive world will create greater development
opportunities for all and deliver a more prosperous future for all. It seeks to promote
inclusiveness, shared benefits and win-win outcomes. It emphasizes openness and elimination of
all barriers to the development of productivity, and steer globalization in the right direction. The
point urges member states to uphold and promote the WTO-centered multilateral trading system,
remove barriers to trade, investment and technology, and keep the global economy open.
All four points combined serve as evidence to resoluteness of member states to achieve the goals
of the 14th BRICS Summit theme; to ‘Foster High-quality BRICS Partnership: Usher in a New
Era for Global Development’
South Africa is fortunate to be a member of the BRICS framework and it is well positioned to
help the entire region and the continent to benefit from gains of the resilient BRICS advances
and development. South can leverage from its BRICS membership as a voice of reason to a
variety of issues beyond its national borders to include the region and the continent.
What are lessons that South Africa is able to learn from the proceedings of the 14 th BRICS
Summit? First, South Africa can promote regional efforts and cooperation to safeguard regional,
continental and world peace and tranquillity. Second, South Africa should persist in cooperative
development and jointly deal with risks and challenges in the region and the continent. Third,
South Africa ought to persist in development and innovation taking advantages of its cooperation
with other BRICS member states. Fourth, South Africa ought to persist in openness and
inclusiveness and pool collective wisdom and strength. South Africa ought to take these lessons
and examples from BRICS resolutions as a blueprint that stands to help development in the
The role of South Africa besides adding value through its economic contribution and opening
markets in the region is to facilitate and expand means of cooperation fostering regional
cooperation with the entire BRICS member states.
As with all previous summits the 14 th BRICS Summit, the group aims to restructure the global
political, economic, and financial architecture to be more suited for a type of development that is
more suited to the needs of the global south and conducive to bringing advances and prosperity
for south-south cooperation member states. This is in line with South Africa making concerted
efforts to place the African continent and the Global South on the agenda of BRICS, and to
endeavour the harmonization of policies to align to Africa’s Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda
for Sustainable Development.
TEMBE is a Sinologist and founder of SELE Encounters.