Author: Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Founding Chair GSRRA, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Editor, Analyst, and Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), Email: [email protected]
In the wake of the 15th annual BRICS summit, a momentous occasion held from August 22nd to 24th, 2023 in the vibrant city of Johannesburg, South Africa, the world was witness to a remarkable development that would undoubtedly reshape the global landscape. The bloc, comprised of five major emerging economies—Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa—announced a momentous expansion plan that welcomed six new members into its fold. The soon-to-be-admitted nations—namely Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Argentina, and the United Arab Emirates—are poised to formally join the group on January 1, 2024. This expansion ushers in a new era, one that amplifies the voices and aspirations of the Global South, while enriching the world with the diverse perspectives and innovative energies of these nations.
The inclusion of these six new members not only broadens the geographical and cultural reach of the BRICS alliance, but also reinforces its economic and political prowess on the global stage. By establishing a formidable counterbalance to the Western-centric G7, BRICS showcases its commitment to reshaping the global narrative with optimism and collaboration. It is important to note that this remarkable expansion is just the beginning, as a staggering number of nearly sixty countries have expressed their interest in joining this influential bloc. While the journey ahead may require patience, the trajectory is clear—BRICS is poised to ascend as the second-largest entity on the global stage, rivaled only by the United Nations itself.
Bolstered by the collective strength of its member nations, the BRICS bloc now represents an astounding 46 percent of the world's population, and contributes significantly to the global economy. With 29 percent of the world's nominal GDP and an impressive 37 percent of global GDP at purchasing power parity, the BRICS nations stand as a beacon of collective prosperity. Notably, the inclusion of these new members, while monumental, maintains the enduring prominence of China and India. These two nations continue to hold sway in terms of both population and economic might.
The 15th annual BRICS summit held particular significance as it marked the first in-person gathering since the global upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Against this backdrop, leaders from Brazil, India, China, and South Africa convened physically, while the Russian President participated virtually. Each leader shared their perspectives and presented their respective nation's narratives within the BRICS context. Among them, the voice of Chinese President Xi Jinping resonated profoundly, offering a visionary outlook that transcended national boundaries.
President Xi Jinping's address encompassed not only China's viewpoint but also embraced a broader, more inclusive vision for the global community. He underlined that "development embodies our people's aspiration for a better life," reinforcing the collective pursuit of progress for developing nations and humanity at large. Expressing concern over the slow pace of achieving the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, President Xi called for a renewed focus on development and advocated for a more equitable representation of developing countries in global governance. His words were not merely rhetoric; they were a call to action—a plea to restore development to the center of the international agenda.
In line with this fervent commitment, President Xi Jinping unveiled China's Global Development Initiative (GDI), a testament to China's unwavering support for fellow developing countries. The GDI aims to invigorate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development through substantial measures and tangible cooperation. One noteworthy example is the establishment of the Global Development and South-South Cooperation Fund, infused with a generous 4 billion U.S. dollars. This financial commitment reflects China's dedication to uplifting nations and nurturing cooperative partnerships that transcend borders.
A true leader in innovation, China has also harnessed the power of collaboration to drive development across continents. Over 200 cooperation projects spanning regions from Asia to Africa have come to fruition, serving as testament to the tangible impact of China's engagement. President Xi proudly highlighted the emphasis on green development, new-type industrialization, and the digital economy under the GDI. These efforts, bolstered by the Partnership on New Industrial Revolution, epitomize China's commitment to high-quality development that is both resilient and inclusive.
Food and energy security, pivotal aspects of a nation's well-being, were not overlooked. President Xi outlined initiatives such as the China-FAO South-South Cooperation Trust Fund and the Food Production Enhancement Action, reaffirming China's dedication to fostering global food security and sharing agricultural technology.
At the heart of President Xi's message was an unwavering belief in unity and collaboration. He eloquently stated, "Victory is ensured when people pool their strength; success is secured when people put their heads together." These words encapsulated the essence of the summit—a call to unite, collaborate, and forge a shared future of development, leaving no nation behind in the process of global modernization.
President Xi Jinping's address radiated a unique global significance, showcasing not only his role as the leader of China but also as a compassionate global visionary. China's ascent as a positive force for global peace, security, development, and prosperity is a beacon of hope for all nations. Developing countries, in particular, are drawn to China's model of rapid development and are eager participants in transformative initiatives like the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and the BRICS alliance.
In conclusion, the 15th annual BRICS summit marked a historic turning point, with China's positive influence on global progress taking center stage. President Xi Jinping's visionary address illuminated a path forward—a path of collaboration, cooperation, and shared development. The expansion of the BRICS bloc heralds a new era of global influence, with China leading the charge towards a future of unity, prosperity, and collective growth.
(ASIA PACIFIC DAILY)