13 September 2017

Gambia: Xiamen Brics Summit Boosts Cooperation Among Developing Countries

The recent BRICS summit in China achieved an unprecedented success and provided a road map for boosting cooperation among developing countries.

Under the theme "BRICS: Stronger Partnership for A Brighter Future", the ninth summit of BRICS including Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa was held on September 3-5 in the southeastern Chinese coastal city of Xiamen, with the participation of five other developing states, namely Egypt, Guinea, Mexico, Thailand and Tajikistan at the invitation of China to convene for the Dialogue of Emerging Market and Developing Countries on the sidelines of the event.

Since the first meeting of their foreign ministers in 2006, BRICS countries have achieved 10 years of prosperity, with 42 percent of the world's population contributing 50 percent of global economic growth. The five-member bloc has focused on promoting cooperation in such areas as trade and investment, currency and finance, connectivity, sustainable development, innovation and industrial cooperation.

The BRICS New Development Bank (NDB), the first multilateral financial institution set up by emerging countries and officially opened in Shanghai in July 2015, is a pragmatic decision made by BRICS countries to drive economic growth and implement South-South cooperation and a substantial measure to promote international financial system reform and improve global governance.

The bank has so far approved more than 10 infrastructure and sustainable development projects in several countries. It is expected to approve about 10 to 15 loan programs, with a total sum between 2.5 billion to 3 billion U.S. Dollars this year. The NDB Africa Regional Center, the first regional office of the Bank, has been launched in South Africa recently.

While the bloc is dedicated to strengthening South-South cooperation, it is not intended to "move the cheese of anyone," as Chinese President Xi Jinping said at the summit in Xiamen, but to "make the pie of the global economy bigger."

Actions speak louder than words. President Xi announced at the summit that China will offer 500 million RMB yuan (about 76 million U.S. dollars) to facilitate practical cooperation in economy and trade, and another 4 million dollars for projects of the BRICS New Development Bank as the bloc's major contribution to the world financial system.

It is noteworthy that BRICS Plus, an innovative move proposed by China aiming to forge the most influential platform of South-South cooperation by inviting more countries to participate in the mechanism, provides a new approach for BRICS countries to further tap trade and investment potentials and establish broader partnership, a move that will turn it into an engine for developing countries to stimulate mutually beneficial and win-win cooperation.

The "BRICS Plus" mechanism, which will be a formal component of its annual event, is a logical outreach commensurate with the grouping's ambition to make its own achievements deliver wider benefits. By engaging more emerging economies and developing countries, which usually share extensive common interests in development-related areas, BRICS can indeed make global impacts and build a stronger case against the anti-globalization trend in some conservative pockets over the world.

BRICS leaders also express in Xiamen Declaration concern over the challenges faced by the African continent in achieving independent and sustainable development and in wildlife conservation. They reaffirm commitment to strengthen cooperation with Africa and help the continent to address illegal wildlife trade, promote employment, food security, infrastructure development and industrialization including through connectivity and developmental initiatives and projects. They reaffirm strong support for African Union's implementation of its various programs under Agenda 2063 in pursuit of its continental agenda for peace and socio-economic development.

To realize common aims and maintain shared interests, BRICS countries have showed solidarity, which not only helps safeguard stability and development of the BRICS five themselves, but also promote the building of a more just and reasonable world order.

As Chinese President Xi Jinping said "The BRICS cooperation is an innovation, which transcends the old pattern of political and military alliance and pursues partnerships rather than alliances."

"The BRICS mechanism surpasses the old mindset of zero-sum game and practices a new concept of mutual benefit and win-win cooperation," he said.

BRICS leaders reaffirm their firm stand in upholding a fair and equitable international order based on the central role of the United Nations, the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and respect for international law, promoting democracy and the rule of law in international relations, and making joint efforts to address common traditional and non-traditional security challenges, so as to build a brighter shared future for the global community.

Under China's presidency, the BRICS mechanism has entered its second "golden decade". With wider participation and cooperation, BRICS will surely increase its vitality and expand its influence. BRICS countries are set to make substantial progress in the new decade. The summit in Xiamen is just a new starting point for enhanced cooperation among the developing countries. Let's look forward to the next BRICS Summit to be held in South Africa in 2018.

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