•China is ready to work with BRICS partners to pursue the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind
•Xi said that China would like to propose that BRICS expand cooperation on education, enhance the role of the BRICS alliance
The 15th BRICS Summit held in Johannesburg, South Africa marked the third time the meeting of the emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and Spout Africa was held on African soil. In his remarks during the summit on August 23, Chinese President Xi Jinping noted that the world has entered a new period of turbulence and transformation, and it is undergoing major shifts, division and regrouping, leading to more uncertain, unstable and unpredictable developments.
He observed that BRICS is an important force in shaping the international landscape. “Our track record shows that we have consistently acted on the BRICS spirit of openness, inclusiveness and win-win cooperation, and taken BRICS cooperation to new heights in support of our five countries’ development,” he said.
BRICS has upheld fairness and justice in international affairs, stood up for what is right on major international and regional issues, and enhanced the voice and influence of emerging markets and developing countries. BRICS countries invariably advocate and practice independent foreign policies, and always address major international issues based on their merits, making fair remarks and taking fair actions.
BRICS should deepen business and financial cooperation to boost economic growth. Development is an inalienable right of all countries, not a privilege reserved for a few. The world economic recovery remains shaky, with less than three percent of growth for 2023 according to estimates by some international financial institutions. Challenges for developing countries are even more formidable, hampering their efforts to realise the Sustainable Development Goals.
BRICS should focus on practical cooperation, particularly in fields such as digital economy, green development, and supply chain, and bolster economic, trade and financial exchanges. Under the BRICS Remote Sensing Satellite Constellation mechanism, the group will explore the establishment of a BRICS Global Remote Sensing Satellite Data and Application Cooperation Platform to provide data support for agriculture, ecological conservation and disaster reduction in various countries. China will also work with all parties to jointly establish a BRICS Framework on Industrial Cooperation for Sustainable Development as a platform of industrial coordination and project cooperation in implementing the United Nations (UN) 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The Cold War mentality is still haunting our world, and the geopolitical situation is getting tense. All nations long for a sound security environment. The Ukraine crisis has evolved to where it is today because of complex reasons. BRICS should expand political and security cooperation to uphold peace and tranquility. It should encourage peace talks, promote de-escalation, end the fighting, and realise peace.
BRICS countries should keep to the direction of peaceful development, and consolidate the BRICS strategic partnership. Artificial intelligence (AI) is a new area of development. BRICS agreed to launch the AI Study Group of BRICS Institute of Future Networks as soon as possible. We need to enable the Study Group to play its full role, further expand cooperation on AI, and step up information exchange and technological cooperation.
BRICS should increase people-to-people exchanges and promote mutual learning between civilizations. BRICS needs to champion the spirit of inclusiveness, advocate peaceful coexistence and harmony between civilizations. We need to make good use of such mechanisms as the BRICS seminar on governance, the BRICS forum on people-to-people and cultural exchanges, and the Women Innovation Contest to deepen people-to-people exchanges and strengthen the bond between our peoples.
Xi said that China would like to propose that BRICS expand cooperation on education, enhance the role of the BRICS alliance for vocational education, explore and set up a cooperation mechanism on digital education, and foster a paradigm of all-round cooperation on education. In addition, we also need to strengthen exchanges on traditional cultures and promote the renewal of fine traditional cultures.
Global governance must be strengthened if the international community intends to share development opportunities and tackle global challenges. International rules must be written and upheld jointly by all countries based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, rather than dictated by those with the strongest muscles or the loudest voice.
BRICS should practice true multilateralism, uphold the U.N.-centered international system, support and strengthen the World Trading Organisation-centered multilateral trading system, and reject the attempt to create small circles or exclusive blocs. We need to fully leverage the role of the New Development Bank, push forward reform of the international financial and monetary systems, and increase the representation and voice of developing countries.
I am glad to see the growing enthusiasm of developing countries about BRICS cooperation, and quite a number of them have applied to join the BRICS cooperation mechanism. We need to act on the BRICS spirit of openness, inclusiveness and win-win cooperation to bring more countries into the BRICS family, so as to pool our wisdom and strength to make global governance more just and equitable.
Africa’s philosophy of Ubuntu, which believes that “I am because we are,” highlights the interdependence and interconnectedness of all peoples. Similarly, harmonious coexistence has been the aspiration of the Chinese nation for thousands of years.
China is ready to work with BRICS partners to pursue the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind, enhance the strategic partnership, and deepen cooperation across the board. As fellow BRICS members, we should meet our common challenges with a shared sense of mission, shape a brighter future with a common purpose, and march together on the journey toward modernization.
Stephen Ndegwa is the Executive Director of South-South Dialogues, a Nairobi-based communications development think tank.