News / Africa

BRICS Nations Convene in Africa Amid Growing Chinese Influence

Finance Ministers of BRICS nations in Durban, on March 26, 2013 (SAfrican Gov photo)Finance Ministers of BRICS nations in Durban, on March 26, 2013 (SAfrican Gov photo)
x
Finance Ministers of BRICS nations in Durban, on March 26, 2013 (SAfrican Gov photo)
Finance Ministers of BRICS nations in Durban, on March 26, 2013 (SAfrican Gov photo)
Solenn Honorine
The nations that make up the BRICS - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - are meeting in Durban for their fifth annual summit.  This year's theme is cooperation with Africa.  Trade between Africa and the BRICS has grown so quickly in the past decade that it is being compared to the scramble for Africa, Europe's 19th century colonization of the continent.  

Last year, the African Union inaugurated its brand new headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  The headquarters was financed by China and built mainly with Chinese labor.  It is a symbol of Beijing's growing influence in Africa.  China's direct investment on the continent reached $20 billion last year, and the country accounts for two-thirds of the BRICS' trade there.  This fact worries Gilbert Mosena, the secretary general of South Africa's National African Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

“Normally, when you trade with bigger brothers, like China, Russia and so on, we should guard against a situation where our economy can be dominated by a well-structured, well-dominated economy,” Mosena said.

Trade between China and its African counterparts weighs heavily in favor of China, which imports raw materials and exports manufactured goods.  Earlier this month, Nigeria's central bank governor warned that Africa risked “opening itself to a new form of imperialism."

But Simon Freemantle, an analyst for the South Africa-based Standard Bank, says the BRICS' involvement in Africa cannot be compared to the European colonization of the continent.

“African countries sit on abundant resources. We have agriculture potential which nowhere else in the world has.  So Africa is in a great position and I think the way we negotiate needs to be pragmatic and quite hard-nosed.  Whether this will be a neo-colonial relationship entirely rests on African countries and African governments.  And it shouldn't.  And it needn't,” Freemantle said.

During a visit to Tanzania, Chinese President Xi Jinping insisted on the need to “respect Africa's dignity and independence.”  Lynette Chen is chief executive officer of the business council for NEPAD, the African Union's development agency.  She says the Chinese are treating their African counterparts on a more equal footing than Western countries.  She says, therefore, it is up to the Africans to assert themselves.

“It's a symptom of Africa's colonial past, the matter in which the Bretton Woods institutions have invested in Africa, with a lot of conditions. I think the African governments have felt powerless in terms of putting forward their demands. It wasn't the traditional way.  What needs to be redefined is the terms of engagement of these contracts.  And I think the Chinese government is willing to comply with those,” Chen said.

Chen says it has the potential to signal a change in global economic relationships.

“It's a very exciting time because the BRICS countries can get together to figure out their own set of rules.  And that, I think that the West, the global economies, will have to be cognizant of,” Chen said.

In Durban, the BRICS will be launching their own development bank, which will be the first concrete step toward formalizing their economic cooperation.  Analysts say the move should give them more influence on international affairs.

You May Like

Israelis Quietly Expand Enclave in Palestinian District of Jerusalem

Estimated 500 settlers, armed or protected by paramilitary police, live in Silwan among 50,000 Palestinians More

Video US, Iran Face Similar Challenges in Syrian Fight Against IS

Both Washington, Tehran back fighters battling Islamic State militants in Iraq -- but in Syria they support opposing sides in country’s civil war More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid