News / Economy

Activists Push for Increased Political Role for BRICS Group

A man walks past a floral display announcing the 5th BRICS Summit in Durban, Mar. 25, 2013.A man walks past a floral display announcing the 5th BRICS Summit in Durban, Mar. 25, 2013.
x
A man walks past a floral display announcing the 5th BRICS Summit in Durban, Mar. 25, 2013.
A man walks past a floral display announcing the 5th BRICS Summit in Durban, Mar. 25, 2013.
Anita Powell
At just five-years old, the BRICS economic bloc is defining its role at a summit in South Africa.  Group members Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa are meeting to lay the foundation for a development bank, but activists are urging them to enter the political realm. 
 
BRICS’ main focus is business, which was obvious Tuesday as businessmen in suits manned booths at the Durban exhibition center, touting everything from wine to diamonds to missiles. 
 
These men are not here just to talk, they said, and neither are the well-suited political leaders who will follow Wednesday.  Those heads of state plan to establish a BRICS development bank that could serve as a counterweight to the powerful, but entrenched lending institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. 
 
BRICS

  • The world's five largest emerging economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa
  • Total population of BRICS nations is almost 3 billion people
  • Total BRICS GDP is $14 trillion
  • The fifth annual BRICS summit starts March 26 in Durban, South Africa
BRICS is a relatively recent arrangement, but the economies of the five nations - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - are booming relative to the traditional economic powers.  The group is collectively worth more than a quarter of the world’s GDP. 
 
But humanitarian organizations are calling for the group to use that economic muscle for a political cause.  Activists met Monday in Johannesburg to call for the BRICS nations to speak out against atrocities in Syria.
 
The five nations have previously said they oppose foreign intervention in Syria, and Russia, China and South Africa have voted against resolutions on Syria at the U.N. Security Council. 
 
Aid group Doctors Without Borders said it would like to see BRICS use its weight to press for humanitarian access to Syria.  
 
The aid group’s South Africa director, Daniel Berman, said “We think that it is unacceptable that the issue of Syria is not firmly on the agenda.  And that this group of emerging countries which have considerable global power are not using their might to negotiate some humanitarian aid in Syria.”
 
Analyst Simon Freemantle of South Africa’s Standard Bank says BRICS is likely to say something about Syria, but that it will not be a dramatic statement or influence business. 
 
“I think they will be expressing solidarity for some of the victims of the violence there, they will advocate for the peaceful resolution to continue to be pursued ... I do not perceive the BRICS to start to become a very dramatic interventionist foreign policy mechanism, that is unlikely to happen for some time," he said. 
 
The South Africa-based CEO of the NEPAD Business Foundation, Lynette Chen, says a coordinated stance is not necessarily a bad thing for business and can make a difference as long as the BRICS nations stick to one stance.  NEPAD, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, works to foster business within Africa.
 
“I think the BRICS grouping will definitely alter the global playing field. So, if you have the BRICS countries sticking together, for example, on issues like Syria, in example, in the U.N. Security Council, for example,I think that you will see more of a concerted effort around interventions in these situations," she said. 
 
The summit continues Wednesday.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7537
JPY
USD
103.79
GBP
USD
0.6032
CAD
USD
1.0957
INR
USD
60.522

Rates may not be current.