Copyright © 2015 International Development Options
All Rights Reserved
Volume Seven Winter 2014-Spring 2015 Numbers 3-4.
EMERGING GLOBAL POWERS (BRICS): AN ASSESSMENT OF CHINA’S ROLE WITHIN
THE GROUP AND THEIR RELATIONS WITH AFRICA
Department of Political and Administrative Studies
University of Botswana
Published Online: March 15, 2017
This article endeavors to analyze the relations between the emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, the BRICS, an acronym that was coined by Jim O’Neill almost fifteen years ago when he was the head of economics at Goldman Sachs. The BRICS, which is dominated by China, the second largest economy in the world, claim that they want to contribute to the creation of a new, fair, peaceful, and prosperous international order that benefits all stakeholders through cooperation and zero-sum progress. They also contend that their engagement with Africa and the rest of the world is based on these principles. Some analysts and observers believe that after half a century of failed Western efforts to develop Africa, the BRICS, led by China, are providing a model that does not involve various preconditions. This model is viewed as a refreshing alternative for African states and other developing countries. On the other hand, critics, especially scholars from the West, have devoted considerable attention to denouncing the BRICS as the “new colonizing powers” of Africa or new exploiters whose sole aim is to exploit the continent’s natural resources and that this process is deindustrializing and deepening the continent’s dependence. It is against this backdrop that this article argues that the foregoing views are not only very simplistic and linear, but they do not capture an accurate picture of the complex and largely beneficial relationship between the BRICS and African states.