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Johannesburg summit a historic milestone in Global South unity

2023-08-31 12:10:46 Click Num:393

By Adnan Akfirat 

The recently concluded BRICS Summit in Johannesburg took a significant step toward building a new international order in which developing and emerging market economies will determine the relationship framework.

Since developing countries are opposed to US hegemony, they are making efforts to build an egalitarian, just and development-based international order. At the BRICS Summit, the Global South crossed a critical threshold on the way to building institutions that will protect the interests of humankind as a whole.

With the inclusion of Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in BRICS at the Johannesburg summit, the grouping now has 11 members. These six countries will become full-time members on Jan 1, 2024, though.

The Johannesburg summit will leave an indelible mark on history — similar to the one left by the meeting of Asian-African countries in Bandung, Indonesia, on April 18-24, 1955. The Bandung Conference became a symbol of the oppressed nations which had gained independence after the end of World War II to mobilize against imperialism and colonialism. In fact, many countries gained independence by following the "Bandung Spirit". The Bandung Conference brought together former colonies and poor countries to seek more representation in international institutions such as the United Nations.

That the Johannesburg summit was attended by representatives of 55 developing countries shows the Global South is on the way to building a fair, just and equitable world order. The developing countries are doing so because they are home to the majority of the global population and contribute more than the developed countries to the global economy, and therefore are determined to stop a handful of rich countries from trampling on the rights of the vast majority.

Although the leaders of all BRICS member states contributed to the successful summit, President Xi Jinping deserves the most credit for its success, as he has been committed to BRICS' development. As he said, "Development is not the prerogative of a few countries, but an inalienable right of all countries."

While South African President Cyril Ramaphosa did justice to his role as the host of the summit and raised hopes of Global South solidarity by inviting two African countries to join BRICS, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula De Silva played their due roles in promoting the BRICS' agenda.

That the United States is alarmed by the rise of the developing world was evident in the US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan's announcement on Aug 22, the day the BRICS Summit began, that President Joe Biden will call for reforms at the G20 Summit in New Delhi next month to ensure the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank better serve the needs of developing countries.

"We have heard loud and clear that countries are asking us to step up our support in the face of the overlapping challenges they face," Sullivan told reporters. According to him, Biden will devote much of his energy at the G20 Summit to seek the reform of multilateral development banks such as the IMF and the World Bank.

The US knows that the IMF will become irrelevant if it continues to control it. The IMF and the World Bank, established as part of the Bretton Woods system, are instruments that a few developed countries have been using to protect their own interests and impose harsh conditions on developing countries.

Even UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said that "the IMF's rules unfairly favor rich countries". Using an example to illustrate this fact, Guterres said: During the COVID-19 pandemic, the wealthy Group of Seven nations, with a population of 772 million, received equivalent of $280 billion from the IMF while the least-developed countries, with a population of 1.1 billion, were allotted just over $8 billion.

The G7 currently holds 41.25 percent of the votes in the IMF, which means the US and its allies have almost complete control over the IMF's decision-making. Developing countries have enough experience to realize that Biden's "promise to reform" the IMF and the World Bank is just another tactic to maintain the US' hegemony.

One of the greatest injustices in the world is that Africa — with 54 countries and 1.3 billion people — is not represented in the UN Security Council, although more than 60 percent of the issues discussed by the Security Council concerns Africa. African countries can participate in such discussions only as non-permanent members of the Security Council.

The Jophannesburg summit has created a path to correcting the injustice done to Africa and the African people for centuries. And BRICS will help the continent to seek justice in the new era.

The author is chairman of Turkish-Chinese Business Development and Friendship Association. The views don't necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

Source: China Daily

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