The dividends of joining BRICS group

At the fifteenth summit of the BRICS group (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) in Johannesburg Ethiopia and other five countries have been endorsed to join the group. Many people believe that the formation itself of the BRICS group is to create a new economic force, if not political and diplomatic, that is bound to lessen if not challenge the domination of largely western countries in the international sphere.

They say it even intends to create a new world order in which it is alleged that it could be more equitable and just without the crushing influence of the Western economies. It is intended to balance the advanced west or north with the less developed south. The BRICS expansion is going to lead to better cooperation in the international community because the world is too much in trouble when it comes to inequality, climate change and geopolitical tensions.

Experts have been heard stating that the multilateral system has been failing countries for too long with the World Bank and IMF not responding to the calls of many developing countries in the way they have been expecting. Hence, the creation of BRICS seems to be a response to frustrations over these shortcomings.

Ethiopia along with Egypt from Africa, Saudi Arabia, Iran and UAE from Asia and Argentina from Latin America have been allowed to join this BRICS group after a reported long deliberation and discussion weighing if these countries do or do not qualify for membership based on the criteria set by the group.

The fact that Ethiopia has been allowed to join this group may have surprised many because many people consider BRICS as a collection of huge economies and that Ethiopia may not match those requirements. But the members have admitted Ethiopia to BRICS because of a number of important factors such as its historical importance even for Africa and the fact that it can be a bridge between BRICS and Africa along with Egypt and South Africa.

Ethiopia’s long and glorious diplomatic history is also another factor besides its economic potential with its more than one hundred twenty million people most of whom are youths. Besides, the GDP is bound to grow fast with the current economic growth trajectory. Hence Ethiopia has demonstrated to the world that it is not a minor power to be sidelined to anonymity even if there has been a lot of bad publicity attached to its name by many media outlets such as continuous conflicts and lack of stability in recent years as it is undergoing dynamic transformation.

Those who have been depicting the image of Ethiopia only in the negative are now served that this is not true and that there are several promising things going on in Ethiopia and BRICS has recognized that admitting it among the first six countries that are to join it.

Several diplomats and statesmen as well as economists have said a lot about what dividends Ethiopia will get from joining BRICS. For instance Brazil Ambassador to Ethiopia Jandyr Ferreira dos Santos said that Ethiopia’s joining BRICS will open a new and promising field of cooperation. The ambassador said the BRICS mechanism possesses a series of interlinked initiatives such as the New Development Bank, the BRICS Business Council, the BRICS Women’s Business Alliance, and many others.

According to the ambassador it promotes exchange in areas such as media, culture, education, sports, arts, youth, civil society, academia, science, and technology. Ethiopia will now take stock of what has been accomplished by the BRICS in each of these areas and start contributing its own initiatives and perspectives.

Ethiopia’s accession will bolster the BRICS’ call for inclusive multilateralism, respect for international law, and reform of multilateral political and financial institutions where all of them are dear to the developing world. Trade and investment ties are growing where the daily flights of Ethiopian Airlines connects Sao Paulo with Addis Ababa and there are many cooperation programs in place in areas of common interest such as agriculture in which Brazilian expertise can promote Ethiopian production.

Similarly Renmin University Economics Professor and Industrial Economy Department Head Yangua Huang said that the BRICS bloc is of multifaceted importance to developing countries. Ethiopia’s membership to BRICS will enable Ethiopia to further strengthen its economic and developing cooperation with the member countries. The New Development Bank will enable Ethiopia to get better financial support directly and it will also create opportunity for Chinese companies to make BRICS countries their primary investment destination. The professor advised that focusing on industries that create jobs in the country with a large population and large huge productive force is beneficial.

Minzu University Foreign Studies professor, He Keyong said on his part that Ethiopia is a very big country in history and it should learn from the civilization of forefathers and gain experience from other countries in order to ensure economic prosperity.

Former Ethiopian Ambassador to the UN Tiruneh Zena said that Ethiopia’s inclusion along with Egypt will help transform the continent and make its voices heard in the global arena. He mentioned the words of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed who said that Ethiopia’s joining BRICS will contribute a lot to realizing South-South cooperation. It is a great moment for Ethiopia as the BRICS leaders endorse Ethiopia’s entry into this group and Ethiopia stands ready to cooperate with all for an inclusive and prosperous global order.

Ambassador Tiruneh said that the inclusion of Ethiopia and Egypt as new members of the BRICS family would provide the bloc an opportunity to mobilize African countries toward ensuring a fairer world. Africa would also help transform the continent and make its voices heard in the global arena. BRICS is an alliance to negotiate with the Global North and strive for the world to become a just one and no country is marginalized or discriminated.

The ambassador went to add that Africa including Ethiopia will also further enhance its trade and economic relations with China, the biggest trading partner of the continent, bring in experience from India in agricultural development and seek support from Russia on security matters within the expanded BRICS platform.

Ambassador Tiruneh expressed his delight over Ethiopia joining BRICS adding that Ethiopia will enjoy a helping hand from other BRICS members in its bid toward industrialization and agricultural transformation through science and advanced technologies.

The ambassador added Ethiopia being a founding member of the AU as well as an influential nation in East Africa, it would be an important asset to the bloc to fight terrorism and serve as an important gateway to the continent. Ethiopia would also have the opportunity to voice the interest of Africa in BRICS and strive for a fairer and less discriminatory world.

The expansion of BRICS will add another additional force of the Global South to be heard and contribute to ensure a fairer world while they can use the grouping as a platform to resolve internal problems, including poverty and unemployment. Here it is also appropriate to mention that Ethiopia’s image in the process will gain and this has immense economic advantages such as the expansion of tourism and foreign direct investment.

State Minister of Finance Eyob Tekalign said Ethiopia’s joining BRICS is an additional opportunity and engine of financial and technological access and development fuel to the country. He stressed that Ethiopia will continue working with every country, group and financial institution to realize its interests and benefits. Eyob said the economy of the countries accepted along with Ethiopia from the several countries that wanted to join BRICS is big and it means a lot to Ethiopia. He said the endorsement of Ethiopia to join BRICS is a demonstration of Ethiopia’s status in Africa and a brilliant leadership.

Senior Economist Costantinos Berehe said Ethiopia’s membership to BRICS will potentially benefit it by boosting investment from member states thereby accelerating the overall economic growth as BRICS is a conglomeration of countries with fast growing economies which represent 40% of the world population and 30% of the world GDP, with geographical strategic position and technological advancement.

He said Ethiopia has a huge amount of agricultural resource, water and an educated young generation that can contribute to the development of the country. So BRICS countries can come and create investments that would contribute not only to the internal supply chain but also for exports. At the same time they will exploit all these young people that are coming out of the vocational schools and universities. Therefore a huge investment is bound to come to Ethiopia.

He added the country should be ready to welcome investment by making sure that the administration system up to the lowest echelon is competent enough to be able to receive investment and support investors with all the necessary elements. We have to fulfill all the requirements investors need or demand or else risk to lose them. The main pillars of the market economy must be put in place.

Ethiopia is a major economy with natural resources and a big population that can develop fast. And that is what the Chinese have seen while recommending Ethiopia to be a member of BRICS. Ethiopia’s international diplomacy in the UN and the AU has to be consistence and it should maintain its non-alliance status throughout. As the new Ethiopian year unfolds Ethiopians are hopeful that this will be a plus for the economy and the benefits will be recorded soon.


The Ethiopian Herald September 7/2023

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