Reflections on the BRICS summit

Phumlani Majozi says core mission of partnership will be to advance an alternative international political and financial system

The 14th BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) summit took place this week.  Like last year, this year's summit was hosted virtually in a video conference. South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa, attended.

This summit was closely watched by many around the world. Because it came at a critical period in human history. For more than two years, the world has been battling the COVID19 pandemic, and Russia is now in a war with Ukraine. A war that began in February this year.

The consequences of this war have been damaging to the world. The war disrupted oil supplies, food supplies; and accelerated the inflation that was already on the rise before the war. The inflation is now at crisis levels.

Since the war began, nations around the world have been divided on the causes of the war, and how it should be ended. That debate rages on five months into the war. 

I am not interested in this Ukraine-Russia war continuing. The war must stop for the benefit of humanity. I'm also no longer interested in people who want this war prolonged, simply because they want their side to win. 

I'll repeat what I said in my column last February - that both the West and Russia must compromise to end the war. Whether you enjoy hearing that or not, it's the only way for this war to come to an end. 

My take from this year’s BRICS summit is that we are entering another era. It is an era of a divided world; where one part of the world is led by China, and the other part led by the United States of America (USA).

The current sanctions against Russia are overwhelmingly from the West. They are not from developing countries. Partly because developing countries cannot afford to impose sanctions, and they are small powers in the global market.

In his opening speech at the summit, China's President Xi Jinping took aim at the West, and condemned the sanctions.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin said that the sanctions on Russia are "selfish actions" by the West. He also called for a strong partnership in the BRICS nations.

It is hard to dispute that the ties with China, the world’s second biggest economy, will help Russia survive the heavy sanctions.

Brazil, India and South Africa, have, at least according to what they say, chosen to be neutral on the war.

This summit clearly became an opportunity for BRICS countries  to advance their envisioned alternative international system.

We are in Cold War II, and China is basically building structures that will reinforce its global footprint and influence.

This divided world we are entering, will pose a bigger challenge for smaller developing regions like Africa. 

The Ukraine-Russia war has worsened the food crisis in the African continent. As it disrupted essential supplies  in the global market.

What the war shows us, is that any conflict between the US and China would destroy the world. Hence, a continuous dialogue between China and the USA must take place in decades to come; in an effort to avoid any potential conflict.

Africa's biggest creditor and trading partner is China. Any kind of global conflict involving China, like any other global conflict, would not be in the interest of African countries.

It is crystal clear that the BRICS partnership will become stronger; its core mission will be to advance an alternative international political and financial system.

The alternative global reserve currency by BRICS is already in the works, according to Putin.  

If this alternative reserve currency becomes a reality, it will reshape international trade, and competition will take a different form. A form that has not been seen in the modern era.

We are witnessing how destructive a global conflict can be in a world that has become hyper connected on technology and trade.

It is a lesson; a lesson that any form of global conflict must be avoided going forward. Compromise, and respecting each other's interests as nations will be key to avoiding global conflicts

The US and other wealthy nations must seek engagement and cooperation with the BRICS nations. As that is in the interest of the world.

In fact, it would do the world good if the Ukraine-Russia peace settlement could be negotiated between the BRICS nations and G7 (world's wealthiest nations) along with Ukraine. That would help.

Phumlani M. Majozi is a senior fellow at African Liberty. His website is phumlanimajozi.com. Follow him on Twitter: @PhumlaniMMajozi.