Egypt attended the meetings of the BRICS Summit with other promising emerging countries on the sidelines of the global gathering in China between 3-5 September. It is a key step in connecting with the five-country bloc that includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, whose economies have grown remarkably over the past decade. Today, they are responsible for 50 per cent of global growth and their combined GDP is $17 trillion, while the capital of the group’s bank in Shanghai is $100 billion and bloc members own 23 per cent of the global economy. Egypt’s participation, after positive economic accomplishments in recent years that improved global predictions about the country’s economy, must be reflected in investments and trade between Egyptian and BRICS members, as well as the world, in the coming phase.
BRICS countries are also home to 42 per cent of the world’s population and seek to achieve economic, political and geopolitical integration among themselves, develop infrastructure and create an effective apparatus for cooperation during economic crises. Also, to find a way to grant and exchange loans with BRICS without economic impacts or instability in any of the member states. They also seek more favourable credit terms for Third World and developing countries, internationalising local currencies and trading amongst themselves using local currencies. China invited five countries, Mexico, Tajikistan, Thailand, Guinea and Egypt to the BRICS Summit for the first time in the bloc’s history.
The participation of President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi in the dialogue between emerging and advanced markets is akin to participating in a crucial global dialogue at a time when the global community is encouraging Egypt to attract foreign investment. The outlook of the political administration in Egypt includes pivoting economically towards Asia and Africa. Some of the world’s largest economies are found in Asia, such as China that today rivals the US as the largest economy in the world.
Egypt-China business and trade circles estimate Egypt’s share in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) for countries through which the Silk Road passes at $40 billion, since the road is a trade artery connecting Asia, Africa and Europe. Al-Sisi’s talks at the BRICS Summit primarily focused on encouraging Chinese companies and other BRICS members to increase cooperation in all fields, while keeping in mind the participation of Chinese companies in many ongoing infrastructure projects in Egypt, including the new administrative capital, as well as key contributions in electricity, energy development and transportation projects. Egyptian-Chinese relations have gained momentum in recent year, crowned by signing the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Agreement in December 2014, and the Executive Programme to boost relations in the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between 2016-2021.
BRICS members oppose protectionism and agree on maintaining a multilateral trade order. Protectionism is an economic policy limiting trade between countries by raising tariffs and capping imports, restrictive quotas and other constricting government regulations to slash imports and prevent foreigners from seizing local markets and companies. BRICS encourages other countries to do the same as well as to join the WTO, while urging the organisation to be more committed to less developed countries.
BRICS believes maintaining a multilateral world trade order and opposing protectionism serves the common interests of emerging and developing economies.
Source: Al Ahram Weekly