‘BRICS won’t colonise Africa’
Maputo – Mozambique’s President Armando Guebuza has quashed talk that the relationship between BRICS and Africa is based on a new colonisation.
He was speaking at the end of the recent BRICS Summit in South Africa.
The BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – are Africa's largest trading partners and they represent the biggest new group of investors on the continent in recent times.
BRICS-Africa trade is seen passing the US$500 billion mark by 2015, with China taking the lion's share of 60 percent of this, according to Standard Bank.
President Guebuza described the relationship between the two sides as one based on friendship.
“African countries are not looking to be colonised again. They are looking for friendship and co-operation. It is within this framework that we held meetings with BRICS member countries,” he said.
President Guebuza, who is the SADC chair, was countering claims from some quarters that the BRICS, with their radically larger economies, would essentially colonise Africa.
“…I believe that the BRICS are not seeking to colonise anybody. They are just looking to strengthen trade co-operation and friendship with our continent,” he explained.
Several commentators, particularly from Western countries, have criticised BRICS, claiming the group represents some kind of “sub-imperialism” in its political and economic relationship with Africa. President Guebuza instead praised the outcomes of the BRICS Summit, stressing that “it was a success because it allowed the five countries to exchange their views with African leaders, on African soil”.
BRICS leaders pledged to increase co-operation to achieve the twin goals of faster growth and reforms in global governance.
Collectively, the five BRICS nations account for 42 percent of world’s population, 20 percent of its economic output, and nearly all of current growth in the global economy.
It was the fifth annual summit of the BRICS nations.
“We felt that during our exchange of views there was a common understanding that the BRICS have a role to play to accelerate the development of African economies and also to strengthen peace, although this was not the main focus of our discussions,” said President Guebuza.
BRICS leaders launched formal negotiations on a development bank, though they could not agree on its voting structure and operational base.
Cash-rich China will be a major player and the bank headquarters will likely be in Shanghai.
The BRICS Bank will provide an alternative to the World Bank and IMF and will be active in infrastructure projects, particularly in Africa.
The two biggest BRICS economies, China and Brazil, are creating a US$30 billion fund that will finance bilateral trade in their own currencies.
The BRICS are also setting up a US$100b contingency reserve arrangement to provide mutual assistance in case of financial emergencies.
The Durban Summit created a five-nation business council that will meet twice a year to expand ties and promote exchanges between academics and think tanks.