The BRICS come of age [But what role for ECAs?]

(Project Syndicate, Cairo, 18 August 2023) by Hippolyte Fofack, Chief Economist and Director of Research at the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank). Given the BRICS’ economic success, more than 40 countries have shown an interest in joining the group and 22 have formally applied for membership. Expansion, trade and investment facilitation will be high on the agenda of the group's summit scheduled for August 22-24 in Johannesburg. They include many issues on which the bloc’s views diverge from those of the G7, such as sustainable development, global governance reform (especially reform of the IMF), and de-dollarization. An enlarged grouping could deepen trade and settlement in local currencies, accelerate de-dollarization, and lead the transition to a more multipolar world. The economic potential of Brazil, Russia, India, and China, the group – called the BRICS since the addition of South Africa – contributes more to global GDP (in purchasing-power-parity terms) than the G7. Since 2014, Russia’s trade with G7 countries has fallen by more than 36%, owing to unprecedented Western sanctions, while its trade with the other BRICS has increased by more than 121%. The International Monetary Fund forecasts that China and India alone will generate about half of global growth this year.  With geopolitical tensions running high, and the weaponization of the dollar for national-security purposes continuing to escalate, the BRICS have taken on new significance, offering trade diversion and other relief to weaken the effectiveness of sanctions and fast-tracking the transition to a multipolar world. Read the Summit Declaration here.