South-South Cooperation in the News

Reflections on BRICS : Prospects for South Africa and Africa

I would like to extend my warm appreciation to the University of Johannesburg for the opportunity to interact with the students present here today to foster a better understanding of what South Africa’s membership of the Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa (BRICS) partnership means ahead of the Fifth BRICS Summit, which President Zuma will host on 27 March 2013 in Durban.

Allow me to reflect on Government’s strategic intent as we strive to bring together the triple helix of government, academia and industry, in support of Government’s growth and development strategies.

UNESCO published a study in 2011 which found in recent decades that university-industry partnerships have moved high onto the policy agendas of many governments worldwide and become a new and expanded phenomenon. The university-industry partnership is conceptualised as a means to bridging the perceived gap between the science base and the productive sector which would allow new knowledge to be transformed rapidly into innovation.

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SA must be pragmatic about Brics

South Africa will host the fifth Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) summit in March next year. What should the government's priorities be?

This is a subject of earnest discussion in government, business and civil society circles. The Cabinet was reported to have approved a new draft Brics strategy last month, which identifies objectives and opportunities for South Africa through its membership of the group. But the details of this strategy have not been discussed widely and the dialogues by South African stakeholders on Brics issues remain parallel rather than inclusive.

What is widely agreed now is that South Africa deserves to be in the grouping. Economically, South Africa is not a Bric, according to the criteria envisioned by Jim O'Neill, who coined the concept in 2003: fast-growing economies with bulging middle classes and promising markets that were likely to overtake the developed nations of the G7 as the best-performing economies by 2040. South Africa does not fit this mould – let us accept that and move on.

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Chinese exploiting Zim labour: Report

ZIMBABWEANS providing cheap labour in the fast-growing Chinese mines bear the brunt of extremely harsh conditions and low wages, a Johannesburg-based advocacy group, Southern Africa Resource Watch (SARW) reveals in its research, the first such report detailing China's labour practices in the country.

Hard labour, exposure to risky conditions, violation of labour laws, long working hours, non payment of overtime, disregard of public holidays and use of Chinese language in corporate literature were among extreme conditions faced by workers at most Chinese interests in Zimbabwe, the report said.

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China’s Caution May Slow BRICS Bank Plan

New Delhi: Officials in China’s banking regulatory authority and Export-Import (EXIM) bank have indicated their backing to push forward a BRICS development bank, but have voiced caution at recent moves to accelerate setting up the body ahead of next year’s Durban Summit.

Officials in interviews with The Hindu outlined a number of factors that they believed might pose obstacles to the initiative, including differences within the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) grouping and managing Beijing’s relations with other multilateral lending institutions, some of which have expressed wariness at the proposal.

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What's a BRICS bank supposed to do?

It’s about time. A BRICS development bank is likely to be launched next year. The annual BRICS nation summit will be in Durban, South Africa in March 2013, where they will present the results of a feasibility study for a BRICS led development finance institution.

It would be the main stage debut for South-South cooperation, which represents about 10% of Official Development Assistance and has grown 52% in the last five years. In addition to representing approximately 2.9 billion people, it is hoped that the BRICS bank will begin to level the playing field with respect to setting development cooperation norms and changing aid instruments and policies, especially conditionality.

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About The Project

Funded by the Open Society Foundation for South Africa (OSF-SA), the project focuses on the changing dynamics and implications of South- South cooperation, in the context of South Africa's avowed commitment to this cause in its international relations. The need to understand the complexities of South-South dynamics and their implications for foreign policy is particularly urgent for South Africa, which, while working to advance South-South multilateralism, must also contend with the corresponding need to remain true to other universal values underpinning its foreign policy as well as guarantee the specific interests of its immediate environment, that is, the African continent.

Key Themes

In recent times, South-South cooperation has received renewed attention, inspired mainly by the emergence of new southern clubs such as IBSA, BRICS and CELAC. This trend reflects a growing push by developing countries to respond to current global challenges in a coherent and concerted manner.

 

Aims and Objectives of The Project

The aim of the project is therefore to contribute, through critical research and dialogue, towards a nuanced understanding of contemporary South-South cooperation. In particular, it seeks to appreciate the basis on which countries in the South cooperate or compete with one another, and the implication of these dynamics for South Africa's policy.

 

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