The BRICS countries show uneven development

25 july 2018

On July 25-27, Johannesburg will be hosting the 10th anniversary BRICS summit. What are the priorities of South Africa's chairmanship in BRICS? What issues are to be discussed at the summit? What are the tasks of the new energy research platform? These were the questions asked at the press center of Russia Today during the round table "BRICS summit in Johannesburg: the priorities of South Africa's chairmanship and Russia's interests"; among the participants was the chief adviser of the Analytical Center Leonid Grigoriev.

The BRICS nations have established friendly relations with each other and have learned a lot about each other as well. However, the expert noted that the countries show uneven development. "South Africa witnesses the world's most unequal society. The country needs to educate the lower classes, offering them not only general education but vocational training as well. It is essential to create new jobs and promote the development of labor intensive industries," the analyst said. According to him, South Africa has the highest levels of poverty and unemployment (about 25%). Another big problem is colossal migration. "Whoever lives north of northern Congo moves to Europe and whoever lives south of northern Congo moves to South Africa. On average, this translates into 100-120 thousand migrants per year. Given such an influx of immigration, the 2 percent per year GDP growth seen in South Africa is practically the same as population growth. As a result, the per capita GDP in the country is not growing at all," the expert summed up. There is also a lot of social inequality in Brazil, India and China. All these countries are stuck in the middle income trap, according to Mr. Grigoriev.

The analyst also believes that the trade tendencies in the BRICS countries differ radically. "Thus, the BRICS nations could not absorb the rising exports from China. For China, the main markets are the developed nations in Europe, North and Latin America," the expert explained.

As for the energy platform, while a shared understanding of the problem is needed here, the countries should also come up with their own forecasts and global development estimates, Mr. Grigoriev believes. There are 3 basic forecasts in the world today: the US forecast, the forecast of the International Energy Agency and the forecast for the development of the energy sector in Russia and the World being prepared by the Institute of Energy Research of the Russian Academy of Sciences in cooperation with the Analytical Center. "This September, we present a new forecast focused primarily on the energy sector of Africa and China," the expert said.

The analyst also said a few words about the cooperation between the countries. "China is involved in replacing the old mines with better quality ones to reduce the amount of environmental problems it is facing while also building more efficient power plants. The coal in the country's total energy balance should fall from 65% to 55%. It is a colossal effort, given the amounts of coal and natural gas China is consuming," the expert said. "Russia increased sales of coal to China by a factor of 1.5 in 2017. We are selling them high quality coal which Chinese companies mix with their own coal to reduce power plant emissions. It is very important from the point of view of reducing their environmental footprint"

For a video of the event go to the website of the Press-center of Russia Today

Photo: provided by Russia Today