The BRICS summit 2020

By Syrializm Analytics

On November 17, Russia hosted the Twelfth (Virtual) BRICS Summit under the slogan of BRICS Partnership for Global Stability, Common Security and Innovative Growth.

The BRICS Emerged as an Economies Group, which was formally established in 2009 and includes in its membership Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, Collectively, they cover 26 percent of the planet’s area, 42 percent of the world’s population, as well as 20 percent of global GDP, capabilities that place the BRICS countries in a good position to play an important role in global development, especially in developing countries, Especially since these countries are distributed in all major regions in the developing world.

The summit was held at a very difficult time, as the BRICS countries – and with them the whole world – face thorny issues and challenges, which have implications for the local conditions of these countries, on top of which is the exacerbation of Covid-19 crisis, which may have affected one out of every 10 people around the world, according to the World Health Organization, which means that 10 percent of the world’s population may have contracted the virus. 

The organization estimates that the real number of people who have contracted the disease worldwide is close to 800 million people.

After more than eleven months, the crisis has shown no sign of over. 

Many countries are experiencing second waves of the epidemic after easing restrictions, and some are seeing a sharp increase in the number of cases. 

The number of cases around the world exceeded 55.6 million, and 1.34 million deaths, as of November 20.

The matter becomes clearer, given the situation in the BRICS countries.

Despite the success of China in overcoming the Covid-19 pandemic and reaching “zero” cases, the other BRICS countries are still suffering from the spread of the disease among their citizens, and there are three of these countries (India, Brazil, Russia is among the ten countries worst affected by the pandemic globally.

As of the twentieth of this November, the total number of cases in India exceeded 9 million people, and more than 132 thousand people died, and in Brazil the number of cases reached about 5.98 million people, and the death of more than 168 thousand people, and in Russia the total number of cases exceeded 2 million People, and more than 35,000 deaths. 

In South Africa, the total number of cases exceeded about 760 thousand people, and more than 20 thousand people died. 

This poses a major challenge to the health and social systems, the financial sector, development and the well-being of the most vulnerable groups in the BRICS societies.

In addition to the challenge posed by the Coronavirus crisis, there is another challenge facing the BRICS countries, represented by the increasing trade protectionism and unilateralism of the United States under the administration of President Donald Trump, in accordance with the principle of “America first”, in addition to the trade war against China. 

There is a state of uncertainty in the future of the global economy, especially in terms of global growth expectations, as the International Monetary Fund last June lowered its forecast for global economic growth to negative 4.9% in 2020, a decrease of 1.9 percentage points from its forecast in April of the same year.

The cumulative losses of the emerging Coronavirus pandemic and the resulting health and financial crisis in 2020 and 2021 are expected to exceed 12.

Over the years since the establishment of this mechanism, the BRICS countries have succeeded in achieving many achievements, raising their rankings in the global economy, according to the figures of 2019, the Chinese economy came second in the world, with a total GDP of 99.09 trillion yuan (about 14.38 trillion) The Indian economy ranked fifth in the world with a gross domestic product of $ 2.94 trillion, while the Brazilian economy ranked ninth in the world with a gross domestic product of $ 1.85 trillion, and the Russian economy ranked eleventh in the world with a gross domestic product.

Its value reached 1.64 trillion US dollars, while South Africa ranked nineteenth in the world economically, with a gross domestic product of 358.8 billion US dollars.

Since the establishment of the BRICS in 2009, the five countries have strengthened their participation in the global economy. 

Driven by China and India, the GDP of the BRICS countries reached 25% of global GDP (21 trillion US dollars), and the share of BRICS in international trade was about 20% (6.7 trillion US dollars) in 2020.

Over the past five years, the BRICS countries have expanded the scope of all-round cooperation among themselves, especially in the economic and commercial sectors. 

Exports among the BRICS countries grew by 45%, and the share of intra-BRICS exports in total international BRICS trade increased from 7.7% to 10%. 

The GDP of the five countries also grew faster than the global GDP and the Group of Seven, at an annual average of 5.31%, according to the International Monetary Fund.

The New Development Bank for the BRICS countries (the group’s financial arm) achieved a number of successes and consolidated its position as a multilateral development bank focusing on sustainable infrastructure, approving 65 infrastructure and sustainable development projects worth US $ 21 billion in all member states during the past five years. 

From urban development to sanitation for water, and from clean energy to smart cities, Bank President Marcos Trujillo said. 

The bank has also provided up to $ 10 billion in aid related to the Coronavirus crisis and economic recovery projects through the Covid-19 Pandemic Emergency Response Program in member countries.

Although some underestimated the ability of the BRICS group to agree on pioneering ideas and rise to the level of its potential as a global leader, inferred to this by failing to reach a consensus on practical measures for the joint production and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, the Moscow summit produced important results.

In this regard, especially at the economic and commercial levels, and facing the repercussions of the Coronavirus crisis. 

Where the BRICS reaffirmed their commitment to pluralism and the principles of mutual respect, equality in sovereignty, democracy, inclusiveness and enhanced cooperation. 

The Group pledged to continue working to strengthen and reform international governance so that it would be more inclusive, representative and democratic, with greater meaningful participation by developing countries in international decision-making, and more in line with contemporary realities. 

The need to strengthen international cooperation with the aim of strengthening individual and collective capabilities to jointly address emerging threats in all parts of the world, especially the Covid-19 pandemic and its negative effects, in an effective, practical, coordinated and urgent manner. 

It welcomed Russia’s proposal to establish an integrated early warning system for the BRICS group to prevent the risks of mass infectious diseases. 

It called on donor countries to fulfill their ODA commitments, facilitate capacity building and technology transfer to developing countries, as well as additional development resources.

It also reaffirmed its commitment to contribute, in coordination with the entire international community, to health care and economic recovery. 

Given the share of the BRICS countries in the global economy and trade, they have demonstrated their commitment to taking the lead in revitalizing multilateral cooperation and strengthening international efforts, with the aim of formulating joint, effective and sustainable solutions to address the current crisis and ensure economic growth.

In connection with the above, it reaffirmed the importance of open, stable and secure global markets, as well as the importance of building more flexible global supply chains in order to increase the production of health and food products and other important industrial and agricultural products at the national level and in special regional contexts, in accordance with the rules of the World Trade Organization. 

It also welcomed international efforts to provide support to low-income countries, notably through the initiative to suspend debt service and extend it for a period of 6 months.

It recognized the crucial role of international trade in economic recovery, and the continued commitment to a multilateral trading system that is transparent, open, inclusive and non-discriminatory, based on the rules of the World Trade Organization. 

And asking all members of the organization to avoid unilateral and protective measures that contradict the spirit of the organization and its rules.

The summit also adopted the BRICS Economic Partnership Strategy for the period (2021-2025) as a key guiding principle to enhance their cooperation in trade, investment, the financial sector, digital economy and sustainable development, with the aim of facilitating rapid economic recovery and raising living standards in them. 

During the summit, BRICS leaders affirmed their support for the process of expanding the membership of the New Development Bank, which would enhance its role as a global development finance institution, and contribute more to mobilizing resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in the bank’s member countries.

However, despite these important successes, this global bloc still needs to build on what its countries have achieved, through more cooperation and cooperation in their efforts more closely to unlock more possibilities for cooperation of their own, despite the current difficulties. 

These countries need to achieve the following:

First, to work with the rest of the world in the decisive battle against the pandemic, as the BRICS countries should enhance cooperation in the field of public health, exchange experiences in the field of epidemic prevention and control, and make joint contributions to ensure that vaccines, once ready, are affordable and available globally.

These countries also need, on condition of preserving health safety, to resume work and production and to establish “fast lanes” and “green corridors” to facilitate the flow of people and goods in an orderly manner.

Second, deepening economic and trade cooperation between them to inject new momentum into the global economy. 

The BRICS countries need to strengthen macroeconomic policy coordination and jointly stabilize global manufacturing and supply chains. 

In the long term, these countries should leverage their strengths and jointly explore new growth engines, in order to achieve higher quality, as well as more resilient and sustainable development, and open new pathways that can inspire emerging markets and other developing countries.

Third, improving global economic governance to reflect the current shifts in the global political and economic landscape. 

The BRICS, as representatives of the developing world, share a commitment to increasing the voice and influence of emerging markets and developing countries on the international stage. 

To this end, the BRICS should advocate for the principle of intensive consultation, joint contribution and co-benefits in improving global governance, and push for reforms of the global economic governance system to strike a balance between equity and efficiency.

The BRICS group can count on China in facing the aforementioned challenges and transformations, as Beijing plays an important role in activating and strengthening cooperation between the BRICS countries, in light of its huge potential that made it reach the second place in the global economy, not to mention the Chinese solutions to its problems.

The developing world, embodied by pioneering experiences and experiences in confronting and dealing with international health and economic crises, also shared with the BRICS countries, was appreciated and admired by the entire international community.

During his participation in the summit, Chinese President Xi Jinping put forward a series of important proposals and solutions to achieve solidarity and cooperation among the BRICS countries with the aim of overcoming global challenges, including the Covid-19 pandemic and global economic recession, which are: supporting multilateralism and protecting global peace and stability.

Deepening solidarity and cooperation in jointly addressing the challenges of Covid-19, supporting openness and innovation to enhance global economic cooperation, giving priority to people’s lives and supporting sustainable development all over the world, and finally supporting green and low-carbon development and supporting harmony between man and nature.

In my estimation, the BRICS countries, foremost among them China, and through the visions and solutions proposed by the Moscow summit to the many challenges and problems they currently face, which were reflected in the Moscow Declaration issued at the conclusion of the summit, possess strong will and determination, not to mention the huge potential and resources.

What makes it able to overcome the many challenges it faces, by achieving a stronger partnership between them, the positive results of which are reflected not only on the BRICS countries, but also on the whole world.