Briefing Paper

BRICS Partnership: A Case of South South Cooperation? Exploring the Roles of South Africa and Africa

Currently the global events, such as the economic crisis in the advanced industrialized economies, and hand-wringing over the crisis in Syria, have brought the group, and its individual members, to the forefront of international
decision-making. The BRICS partnership is developing rapidly and is no longer simply an economic and historical phenomenon;
it is increasingly becoming an actor with agency in the current international milieu. This was most recently evident in the pledge of BRICS – along with other emerging markets – in mid-June 2012, of more than USD 90 billion to boost IMF reserves. This serves as an indicator both of these states’ ability to affect international outcomes, and their intentions to do so. However, serious questions need to be asked about the extent to which BRICS can agree on common positions, and claim its agency in international affairs. With each successive summit, the BRICS states have enunciated additional plans for future action, as well as core areas of interest and areas of commonality. The objectives of this policy brief are to examine the concept of ‘South-South cooperation’ in relation to BRICS; to analyse South Africa’s role within BRICS; and to situate Africa within the context of BRICS’ growing global significance and activity.