Tuesday, September 19, 2023 12:44 pm
By Emmanuel Alegba
South Africa and President Cyril Ramaphosa have been in the news for all the right reasons in the last couple of months. It was a significant showcase for Africa as South Africa hosted the recently concluded BRICS summit, which saw the invitation of six new members. Africa alone had two new members, Egypt and Ethiopia, on the list.
For the first time in world geopolitics, Africa will have the largest representation of any international economic organization, where they are considered equals to their counterparts. This achievement is worth celebrating because it demonstrates Africa’s recognition on the world stage and its rise as a place of power. The advent of BRICS has transformed what was once known as the “third world” into the globally recognized “Global South.”
In 2001, renowned British economist Jim O’Neill coined the acronym BRIC to symbolize the emerging economic powers of Brazil, Russia, India, and China. The BRIC countries at the time seized the opportunity to strengthen their relationships and bilateral trade. In 2009, they held their inaugural convention and invited South Africa to join in 2010.
In 1995, the G7 and BRICS countries accounted for 44.9% and 16.9% of global GDP, respectively. Now, in 2023, those figures stand at 29.9% and 32.1%, respectively. The BRICS countries represent more than 3 billion people in the world’s population. Additionally, these countries possess the technology, agricultural capacity, industrial strength, and commodities necessary to sustain meaningful trade among themselves.
Nigeria, the world’s most populous African nation, was not invited to join BRICS. With Nigeria’s absence on that list, South Africa may have displaced Nigeria as the most important African nation in 2023, giving it the power to shape global politics and decide who will be invited as new members of this international organization. Will Nigeria be invited in the next round of countries to be admitted? This question should concern Nigerian leadership. For Nigeria to maintain its status as one of the most important African nations, it needs to take action.
The President should prioritize tapping into our enormous diaspora and local network to engage with countries like China, Russia, South Africa, and others, ensuring Nigeria’s inclusion in the next list. We must build a respectable relationship with our neighbours, treating each other as equals.
Nigeria cannot afford to be on the sidelines as a new world order takes shape. Nigeria cannot, at this time, be late to the party once again and have a very limited say in how global politics are decided. We have the intellect, talent, and resources, especially human capital, to influence and protect our stake on the global chessboard.
Emmanuel Alegba works in the private sector and writes about geopolitics