By Samuel Abasiekong-Abasiekong
As the world moves away from unipolarity, where the United States of America is seen as ‘gatekeeper’ of the world economy through its Dollar which is the measurement currency for foreign trades, and being already persuaded
that some leading economies in the West are no longer committed to the interests nor prioritises the wellbeing and security of smaller and medium economy of some countries, Brasil Russia, India, China and South Africa have come together to form a finance development club known as – BRICS to better their lots and support weaker economies.
BRICS is an acronym extracted from the progenitors’ countries name initials and stands for Brasil Russia India China and South Africa.
The term BRIC was formulated by a Goldman Sachs economist, Jim O’Neil in 2001 when Brazil, Russia, India and China economies experienced significant growth and raising concerns on their impact on global trades.
The club which was initially known as BRIC co-opted South Africa into the emerging economy world order team in 2010, thus amending the acronym to BRICS.
And because of over 40 applicant countries who have indicated interest to join the new economic development block, the name is intended to be amended to BRICS+ in years ahead.
The BRICS group was not initially intending to wrestle economic power with any formal multilateral organization but now it has established a bank known as ‘New Development Bank also known as (BRICS bank) which focus is on economy cooperation, increasing multilateral trade and development with members States.
The new multipolar club which international posture may likely be a major threat to G7 countries ( US, Japan, France, UK, Canada, Germany, Italy) was initiated by Vladimir Putin of Russia as an informal group in 2001, but now has drafted some G20 countries and some in the middle East, Northern Africa such as UAE, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Algeria to control over 42% of the world population and account for over 31% of the world GDP according to the World Factbook.
Since its formal operation in 2009, the BRICS countries have already held 15th General Assembly meetings with the most recent one hosted by South Africa in August 22, 2023 with Nigeria not in the picture.
Nigeria is known to be a leading economy in Africa. With a current GDP of $440,834 million ahead of BRICS African countries such as South Africa with a GDP of $419,015 million, Egypt $404,143 million and Algeria $163,044 million, but yet she is missing in the composition of the BRICS despite of the club multiple juicy economic benefits for members States.
Aside from indicating interest to join the new world economy powerhouse, new interested nations are being chosen and recommended for membership by existing members countries based on their geopolitical importance and not by their ideologies.
Iran which accounts to over a quarter of oil reserve in the Middle East and the oil heavyweight Saudi Arabia were recommended by Brazil and Russia into the block in June 2023.
Argentina was drafted into BRICS by China in 2022
These countries which have much betters economy than Nigeria have jumped into the BRICS moving train irrespective of any diplomatic and business treaty they have with the West which is a competitive economic block to BRICS
Iran, Saudi Arabia and UAE for instance do not want to severe their bilateral relationships with the United States but they are very much desirous to join a total parallel finance development block such as BRICS to better the lots of their economies.
Nigeria needs the BRICS membership more than them all and should lobby power brokers to introduce her into the block.
Nigeria poverty ratio per citizen is all time high, unemployment, infractructures decay, high cost of living due to incompatibility of Naira/Dollars exchange rates, foreign and internal debts has put the immediate past administration and the incumbent in a situation where the government of the day has resorted to fire brigade approaches of sharing few cups of grains to households identified as the poorest of the poor as an attempt to appease the heat of hunger roasting Nigerians.
As it stands Nigeria is in an economy policy crossroads and the Federal Government which has over 200 million citizens looking up to her has not found any sustainable/long term way out from the economy quagmire the past and present administration has put the country into. All what the masses hear from the Federal Government is: “you should be patient, let’s do more sacrifice, the Federal Government is working hard to overturn the present economic situation”.
While businesses are folding up, and investors are moving to much better economies, the Federal Government of Nigeria should lobby the BRICS power brokers to seek admission into this emerging world order with enticing and feasible financing opportunities.
The BRICS block which is increasingly influential in its economic plan has
reforming global financing as top of its agenda.
In April this year, Russia was the first member county to ratify an agreement and had dropped a $100m foreign currency into BRICS ‘reserve pool’
The pool, known as the Contingent Reserves Arrangement – CRA is essentially a store of foreign currency where any of the BRICS countries can dip its hands into if they have need to finance their economy.
Having this emergency storehouse will support their balance of payments, effectively covering debts for a short-term crisis.
Moreover being a member country comes with many benefits for BRICS country nationals
For instance, for BRICS nationals, who have foreign currency, the block policy might help stabilise their economy in foreign trades.
The stability of currency that will be enable by BRICS will encourage trade, tourism and lower unemployment.
The stability here mentioned mean steady exchange rates, making travelling abroad or even buying a house overseas easier to budget for and safeguard sharp devaluation so that the citizen of BRICS countries can feel more secure in their purchases.
They’re a lot more advantages and opportunities the BRICS countries will have. Space will fail me if I attempt to list all of them here.
There are some indications that Nigeria may join the BRICS block any time soon having seen former Nigeria President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in the just concluded general assembly meeting held in South Africa on August 22.
Obasanjo who also spoke at the summit seems to have been personally invited by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa but not in representive capacity as a delegate of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
The BRICS summit in Johannesburg, South Africa deliberated extensively on alternative measures for weaker economies to circumvent the Dollar as an international reserve currency and medium of global trade, which affects countries like Nigeria who sent all her crude oil to Dollars driven economies to refine, and returned to Nigeria at a Dollar price which consumers cannot afford because of Naira/Dollars incompatibility.
Not only in oil and gas subsector, Nigeria imports most of her goods and household consumables in Dollars an this affects the landing prices which are grossly unaffordable for the poor masses.
Mostly African countries and some Middle East nations have seen the BRICS multilateral policies as a sure driver to move them to an earthly economy paradise where their local currency will be stabilize and maintain its value in even in foreign trades
Brazil President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said at the meeting that this emerging multipolar bloc will soon invite more members chosen for their regional importance and not by their ideology.
New countries who have applied to join the BRICS block but yet to be ratified are: Indonesia, Ethiopia, Cuba, Bolivia, Comoros, Gabon, Algeria, Kazakhstan, Egypt, Democratic Republic of Congo. amongst others.
Written by: Samuel Abasiekong-Abasiekong, French & English Journalist, Researcher, Public Affairs Analyst. email@example.com