by Dante Piras

The China Monitor: The BRICS Summit 2013

Centre for Chinese studies releases publication for BRICS Summit 2013

There is a strong interest in Africa's resources

On the occasion of the upcoming BRICS Summit 2013 in Durban, the Centre for Chinese Studies (CCS) at Stellenbosch University now presents a topical publication on the Africa policies of the BRICS members. The special publication, The China Monitor: The BRICS Summit 2013 – Is the road from Durban leading into Africa? provides academic background information by international experts from Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa, on the BRICS countries and their specific approaches for the African continent.

In the run-up to the BRICS Summit, this background piece aims at informing decision makers, journalists and the general public.

Considering the guiding theme of the BRICS Summit, “BRICS and AFRICA: Partnership for Development, Integration and Industrialisation”, Dr Sven Grimm, director of the CCS, argued that “the discussion should focus on what South Africa can achieve and which agenda it should promote.

The media term of a second ‘Scramble for Africa’ may be exaggerated, but rivalries between the BRICS states do exist when it comes to their interest in African countries. There is a strong interest in Africa’s resources, and it is also about access to markets. Although BRICS is not a bloc of countries with homogenous interests and a basic institutional structure, the summit provides a platform to search for common ground with regard to fleshing out mutual elements for an African agenda.

The CCS publication reveals that attempts of concrete co-operation between BRICS countries are increasing. Zhang Chun, deputy director of the Center for West Asian and African Studies at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, highlights “four key focus areas, namely the promotion of African infra- structure development, the establishment of a BRICS-led development bank, a BRICS think tank and a BRICS business council”.

Brazilian researcher Danilo Marcondes de Souza Neto indicates that co-operation could in time expand beyond pure economics and global politics. According to him, awareness between BRICS countries on a non-state level is increasing, for instance the “Brazilian Landless Movement recently expressed support for the South African agricultural workers who went on strike in January 2013”.

The CCS at Stellenbosch University is the first institution devoted to the study of China in sub-Saharan Africa. It promotes the exchange of knowledge, ideas and experiences between China and Africa, and conducts analysis of China-related research to stakeholders in government, business, academia and communities of non-governmental organisations.

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