Africa in Review 2023: BRICS and The Emerging Global Reconfiguration

Abayomi Azikiwe, Global Research, January 1, 2024 —

Part II: International alliances independent of United States and NATO hegemony are seeking to reverse a pattern of western domination

During 2023 a greater emphasis was placed upon the necessity for the majority of the world’s population to seek new avenues for economic development along with the resolution of diplomatic disputes and regional conflicts.

A summit of the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS-Plus) in Johannesburg resulted in the expansion of the organization and a renewed commitment to building alternative methods of international relations and trade.

Two other African states, Ethiopia and Egypt, were approved for admissions into BRICS, hence the suffix plus. Other members which joined were Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in West Asia while Argentina was admitted from South America joining Brazil.

The BRICS Summit in South Africa held between August 22-24 marked the 15th of such gatherings. Although there are different views and social systems operating inside the BRICS grouping, there is obviously strong agreement on the need to create new mechanisms for fair trade and the acquisition of credit on favorable terms.

During the final year of World War II, the Bretton Woods conference in New Hampshire established the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. These institutions were ostensibly designed to provide capital for the reconstruction of Europe in the aftermath of the devastating war.

In later years of the 1960s and 1970s, the IMF and World Bank were utilized to capture the post-colonial states amid their efforts to build independent and sustainable societies. Many of these states inherited the unequal class structures and the dependent character of foreign relations with imperialism which were an essential part of the neocolonial system.

In the latest BRICS Summit, some of the observations and objectives were spelled out as follows:

“With the addition of six new members, BRICS now has 30 percent of the world economy within its collaboration, with a combined GDP of US$30.76 trillion. It also constitutes 40 percent of the world’s population. The necessity of expanding trade and investment among the BRICS member states and strengthening their relations was emphasized by the summit leaders. By 2050, leaders at the summit hope to account for 50 percent of the world’s GDP, which will fundamentally change the economic landscape.”

Obviously, if met, these goals would severely limit the ability of the Group of 7 countries to force their economic and political will upon the Global South. This growth in the proportion of the world’s GDP would occur as the internal contradictions within the western capitalist and imperialist states intensify.

The increasing exploitation of the working class and oppressed peoples inside the imperialist countries have prompted strikes and mass rebellions. In order to maintain the racist-capitalist system in Western Europe and North America, the repressive apparatus of the governments must rely on the security forces and legislative structures which provide a legal cover for the continuing expropriation of wealth from the majority.

Over the course of the year, in France, the United Kingdom and the U.S., millions of workers engaged in industrial actions aimed at regaining the lost household income and overall living standards sacrificed to the financial institutions, service and production facilities owners during the Great Recession of the first decade of the 21st century. At the same time the racism so prevalent in the western industrialized countries has sparked urban rebellions which have been costly in regard to property damage, injuries and deaths. Also, the influx of migrants from Africa, Asia and Latin America into the advanced capitalist states has aggravated the centuries-long existent discriminatory governance.

Despite its profound challenges, the AU member states are continuing to stride towards continental unity. Understanding this necessity, the 15th Summit in South Africa noted in its proceedings,

“[T]he BRICS summit members agreed to extend their support for an African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). The summit stressed the value of the political stability of the African continent in building market certainty. Leaders at the summit also explored potential ways and methods to strengthen communication and cooperation to expand AfCFTA. If successful, and if implementation moves ahead, such a move by the BRICS countries will help foster new dynamics of engagement, and on several other contemporary issues such as drug trafficking and terrorism…. The summit also discussed increasing population in BRICS countries and their increasing food security concerns. In order to improve food security, lower costs, and to achieve a carbon neutral economy, BRICS leaders favored the role of modern technology in advancing agriculture. They also hoped to make Africa a global food basket.”

Issues related to the building of a green economy based upon safe and renewable energy were an important element in the BRICS deliberations. Although the U.S. and other capitalist states attend the United Nations Climate Conference every year, their roles are far less than helpful towards the nations and territories of the Global South.

BRICS, through its exclusion of the Western capitalist governments, is capable of holding open and serious discussions on the challenges facing the emergent economies. There is no condemnation of the Russian Federation, the socialist Republic of Cuba, the People’s Republic of China, Republic of Zimbabwe, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and other governments which are considered principal adversaries of Washington, Brussels, London, Paris and other NATO capitals.

G77 Plus China: Majority Rule Will Come

Representing 80% of the world’s population, the Group of 77 plus the People’s Republic of China, held its summit in Havana, Cuba during mid-September. This gathering took place just prior to the 78th United Nations General Assembly in New York City.

Cuba identifies as an African country within the Caribbean and Latin American geopolitical region which maintains close links to the continent. Cuba played a pivotal role in the total liberation of Southern Africa by providing military and political support to the national liberation movements in Angola, Namibia and South Africa.

In its final declaration the meeting in Cuba emphasized:

“On 16 September, the Summit of Heads of States and Governments of the Group of 77 (G77) and China adopted the Havana Declaration, which emphasized the importance of South-South and triangular cooperation in science, technology, and innovation. The Summit – attended by more than 100 delegations, including over 30 heads of state and government – was held to address the pressing development challenges faced by G77 member countries. The primary focus of the Summit was on the critical role of science, technology, and innovation in addressing these challenges and promoting sustainable development…. The Summit also gave renewed impetus to core development issues of the nations of the South, based on the contribution of science, technology and innovation, as well as defined practical actions to address the existing disparities between developed and developing countries and advocated for the fulfillment of international commitments in terms of Official Development Assistance, technology transfer and financing necessary for the development of the countries of the South.”

Such a declaration is quite meaningful to the AU member states, many of whom were in attendance in Havana. The Republic of Cuba, even though it has been subjected to a draconian blockade by the U.S. for more than six decades, has made tremendous progress in the fields of science and medical research.

These advancements have benefited the African continent on material and ideological levels. The concrete support for national liberation, socialist construction and assistance in treating the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in three West African states during 2014. Subsequently, during the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cuban healthcare workers were deployed to several African countries including South Africa and Angola. The examples provided by socialist Cuba reinforces the determination of other states to move in the direction of self-reliance.

Contemporary Pan-Africanism and the Imperatives of the AU

These important alliances such as BRICS and the G77 plus China are pointing the way for the African continent to take its proper leading role in the struggle against western hegemony. Imperialism has its origins within the Transatlantic slave trade and colonialism where it accrued profits and technological capacity resulting in the restructuring of the world system after the 15th century.

Neo-colonialism is the modern-day system of imperialist domination throughout Africa and other geopolitical regions of the Global South. It will take a broad-based movement spanning several continents to overthrow the existing exploitative world order.

As President Dr. Kwame Nkrumah articulated during the post-World War II period through the early 1970s, the genuine liberation of Africa will only be achieved through unification and socialist development. These objectives require the organization and mobilization of the more than 1.3 billion Africans on the continent and those scattered throughout the Diaspora.

This is the central task of the third decade of the 21st century. With the U.S. being the dominant neo-colonial power among other imperialist states, Washington and Wall Street must be confronted and neutralized in the efforts to bring peace, stability and prosperity to the peoples of the world.


Abayomi Azikiwe is the editor of the Pan-African News Wire. He is a regular contributor to Global Research. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *