Trade at a glance: the BRICS and Japan’s engagement with Africa
Since the beginning of the new millennium we are increasingly noticing the influence on the structure of the world economy not only of some major emerging markets, namely Brazil, India and China, from a developing country perspective, but also of the rise of Russia (since the collapse of the Soviet Union). Their role in the global arena, from an economic and political perspective, has raised concern in the developed world about the manner in which their influence is shaping or shifting the balance of power. Concerns about the impact on the environment and governance issues have also been raised. However, in Africa, the role of some of these countries under the auspices of the so-called South-South alliances can be viewed as an opportunity to enhance cooperation with other developing countries, playing a significant role in the economic and social development of the region.
Poverty, poor infrastructure, lack of productive capacity and transfer of technology, the emerging threats associated with climate change as well as the food, energy, financial and economic crises, have been identified as areas where Africa can enhance its capacity by cooperating with other developing countries. Furthermore, the increased bargaining power of developing countries in multilateral negotiations, as reflected in the current Doha negotiations of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), has been cited as another reason for cooperation. It is against this background that since 2000, African countries have entered into new partnerships and arrangements with the South, increasingly driven by economic rather than political. The new partnerships are often based on formal frameworks with dialogue forums and action plans.
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