Interview: BRICS expansion to give Global South a louder voice -- South African expert

(Xinhua) 14:05, August 28, 2023

JOHANNESBURG, Aug. 27 (Xinhua) -- What is critical to BRICS expansion is for Global South countries to have a global role to play in balancing international relations and building consensuses, a Johannesburg-based expert has said.

"Global South countries will benefit from getting united and speak with one voice on key issues of their interests," David Monyae, director of the Center for Africa-China Studies at the University of Johannesburg, told Xinhua in a recent interview.

BRICS leaders agreed on Thursday to invite six countries, namely Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), to join the group, during a three-day annual summit held here this week.

Debunking the misconception of BRICS as anti-West, Monyae said a glimpse at the history will suffice to tell that BRICS is "a gradual progression of what Global South has been saying from the Bandung Conference in 1955 to for example the Group of 77 and China and now BRICS."

The expansion conveys a simple message that "Global South countries need a say on key issues" including the reforms of the United Nations and its agencies, fair play on climate change, and rebuilding a peaceful, secure international order, he added.

Monyae said that China, a key founding member and growth contributor of BRICS, has a lot to provide for the Global South, including practical cooperation in the areas of infrastructure, trade as well as science and technology under the Belt and Road Initiative, deeming his home country South Africa a beneficiary of partnership with China.

The two countries mark their 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties this year and have recently agreed to build a high-level community with a shared future, as agreed by their presidents this week.

A central focus of the summit is how to boost the cooperation between BRICS and Global South countries, and that could extend beyond the spheres of trade, economy and society to be broader and more comprehensive.

That, he said, involves looking at the whole and in a holistic manner, to include not only development but global peace and security, and not just South Africa and China, but the larger African continent and even the entire world.

Underscoring China's contribution to the Global South in terms of pooling wisdom and consensus, he said the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative, and the Global Civilization Initiative "feed into something South Africa itself is also championing to work with other Global South countries to revive," which includes amplifying the voice of the Global South.

Together, these Global South countries will benefit from that amplified voice, Monyae said, adding that "people-to-people exchanges" and "love of civilizations," among others, are what could help build common grounds on global security and reshape the international order for the better.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Wu Chaolan)


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