Information Bulletin of the BRICS Trade Union Forum

Monitoring of the economic, social and labor situation in the BRICS countries
Issue 27.2023
2023.07.03 — 2023.07.09
International relations
Foreign policy in the context of BRICS
As the Quad Blossoms, Why Does BRICS Matter for India? (В то время как расцветает Четверка, почему БРИКС важен для Индии?) / India, July, 2023
Keywords: expert_opinion

India's External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar while attending the 2023 EU-India Pacific Ministerial Forum declared that "a multipolar world is feasible only by a multipolar Asia." India's multipolar model demands an international political system where it can exercise greater agency and influence in different strategic regions, institutions, and negotiations. To achieve this goal, New Delhi has been pursuing a "multialignment" or "issue-based alignment" strategy, which aims to simultaneously participate and pursue its interests in multiple strategic and economic coalitions, such as the Quad and BRICS.

The key drivers of India's multidirectional foreign policy reflect its key interests: economic prosperity, technology advancements, research and innovation, norm influencing, and strengthening security. In this endeavor, BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) and the Quad (Australia, India, Japan, and the United States) are the two strategic organizational platforms that have become a top priority for India.
Today, the Quad mostly tends to dominate Indian foreign policy discourse, especially after the 2020 China-India border standoff, which fractured bilateral relations. However, it's important to dive deeper and try to figure out where exactly BRICS fits into India's current geoeconomic and geopolitical strategy. What does BRICS bring to the table? And what is the strategic logic behind India's continuing membership in BRICS?

During the 2023 BRICS Foreign Ministers Meeting, Jaishankar asserted that "the BRICS gathering must send a message that the world is multipolar, that it is rebalancing, and that old ways cannot address new situations." As the international order incrementally becomes multipolar, principles of equality, mutual respect, and consensus will drive state interactions in multilateral institutions and coalitions.

Currently, BRICS seems to incorporate what India looks for in its development-focused diplomatic engagement. BRICS, which initially started as a consultative grouping of five developing economies, is now gaining political undertones with plans for its expansion. Countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Bangladesh, Argentina, and Indonesia have registered their interest in joining BRICS.

BRICS's development-focused diplomacy resonates strongly with India's core interests – energy security, combating terrorism, and climate change financing. At the same time, its wider and deeper issue items and agenda separate BRICS from other strategic forums that India currently participates in. BRICS constantly emphasizes themes ranging from "promoting economic recovery," "expediting implementation of 2030 agenda on sustainable development," and "strengthening and reforming multilateral governance." These further reflect the socioeconomic realities that developing countries face.

But more importantly, BRICS may be an equally vital geopolitical force in the future because of the grouping's constant attempts to amplify non-traditional security threats and promote economic security within the forum. It has mainstreamed non-traditional threats as part of a broader security agenda, which is often missing in global discussions. Moving forward we will likely see politicization of non-traditional security and its implications on economies of countries.

BRICS also provides India with the agency and political support to push against what New Delhi sees as unfair coercive systems such as the EU's Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) taxes, economic concentration, and unilateral sanctions. The CBAM in particular is expected to have an impact of $8 billion annually on India's exports of steel, aluminum and iron ore. India has thus asked for a carve out for its small and medium enterprises during its negotiations with the EU. India is working with fellow BRICS partners South Africa, China, and Brazil to firmly oppose this.

Opposition from the current BRICS members becomes more critical as many developed countries are expected to join the CBAM bandwagon. The G-7 joint communique stated that the G-7 member states "will work together, and with partners beyond the G-7, to expand the ambitious use of carbon markets and carbon pricing." This points toward India's concern regarding carbon tax provisions, which not only affect India's and developing countries' economic interests, but also undermine the principle of "common but differentiated responsibility and respective capabilities" which addresses the contextual socioeconomic realities and climate justice issue.

Furthermore, provisions like the United States' Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), with its green subsidy package, add to the worries of developing and less developed nations. These are manifestations of two broader trends: increasing mercantilist tendencies, and the erosion of principles negotiated and fought hard for by India and developing countries.

Often, assumptions about China-India relations based on their border dispute are used to prejudge the working of BRICS or negate its importance altogether. Such an approach fails to take into account nuances and complexity of their relations beyond the region, including cooperation on climate change or in multilateral institutions like the World Trade Organization (WTO) against subsidies programs. BRICS has continued to play a critical role in pushing for an "open, transparent, inclusive, non-discriminatory and rules-based multilateral trading system" that favors India's and developing countries' interests; there is also a rising demand for inclusiveness and fair institutions. This concern becomes more important as trade protectionism and anti-globalization sentiment is rising in the West. BRICS becomes a critical platform to counter the trend of strategic insularity proliferating in the Global North.

India's global aspirations and interests, such as on reforms in multilateral institutions like the International Monetary Fund, WTO, United Nations, and U.N. Security Council are also backed by BRICS. BRICS gives India the opportunity to voice its developmental interests in a way that no other grouping can match. In addition, BRICS members are playing a greater role in shaping the global political landscape, an area where India finds itself standing against the likes of the United States, Japan, and Australia – fellow members of Quad. In the contemporary world, BRICS represents global socioeconomic realities that are often relegated to the periphery of international politics.

More immediately, the diplomatic calendar makes BRICS a vital forum to shape the discourse, agenda, and discussion items for the next few years. India is this year's host of the G-20 summit, and Brazil will be hosting the COP30 and G-20 summit in 2024, followed by South Africa in 2025. With that in mind, BRICS will provide New Delhi an organizational platform to create consensus on key issues that directly impact India's economic, food and energy security.

Nonetheless, New Delhi remains concerned about Beijing's intention to shape the evolution of BRICS into a key non-Western geopolitical forum to expand its sphere of influence. These objectives may include adopting a common BRICS currency for intra-BRICS trade. Therefore, India remains cautious of any arbitrary expansion of BRICS and has asked for a standardized process to follow. New Delhi is also concerned about the potential hijacking of BRICS by China as an "anti-Western" grouping against G-7. Still, it is important to realize that disagreements between India and China will not always overshadow the larger prospects and interests of the grouping.

Indian strategic circles recognize BRICS's primary role in shaping the international trade order, climate change policies, financing, and reformed multilateralism. New Delhi aims to play a larger role in international politics and negotiations, which would further emphasize the critical role of BRICS. While the focus would remain on promoting, protecting, and leveraging Indian strategic interests and raising its status, some would also argue that New Delhi should prioritize the Indo-Pacific region, given the rising status of the Quad in India's strategic calculations. The choice seems to be between a multipolar Asia and a multipolar globe. The former reflects India's regional interests, and the latter its global aspirations. Currently it's not a game of either-or, but one of preferential diplomatic management.
                PM Hasina formally invited to attend BRICS Summit in South Africa (Премьер-министр Хасина официально приглашена на саммит БРИКС в ЮАР) / Bangladesh, July, 2023
                Keywords: summit, top_level_meeting

                Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been invited to attend the next BRICS Summit in South Africa.

                Bangladesh received the formal invitation from the host but it could not be known immediately whether the prime minister will attend it or not.

                Parliamentary Standing Committee Chairman on Foreign Affairs Faruk Khan confirmed UNB about the formal invitation.

                BRICS leaders are expected to attend the 15th BRICS Summit in South Africa from August 22 to 24.

                The summit will be hosted at the Sandton Convention Centre (SCC) in Johannesburg, Gauteng.

                BRICS leaders will engage with business during the BRICS Business Forum and engage with the New Development Bank, BRICS Business Council and other mechanisms during the Summit.

                South Africa will also continue its Outreach to Leaders from Africa and the global South and hold a BRICS Outreach and BRICS Plus Dialogue during the 15th BRICS Summit.

                Earlier, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said Bangladesh will welcome if BRICS invites Bangladesh formally to join the group of five member states - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

                "We will surely join once they invite us. We are yet to receive any formal letter (inviting us to join). BRICS leaders are thinking of taking some emerging economies – around eight new countries including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia and Bangladesh," he told reporters.

                              Belarus hands note of intent to join BRICS over to Brazil (Беларусь передала Бразилии ноту о намерении присоединиться к БРИКС) / Russia, July, 2023
                              Keywords: brics+

                              The Belarusian envoy and the Brazilian deputy foreign minister discussed ways to strengthen cooperation as part of multilateral diplomacy and highlighted the two countries' readiness to boost trade and economic ties

                              MINSK, July 7. /TASS/. Belarus has handed a note of intent to join the BRICS group (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) over to Brazil, the Belarusian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

                              "On July 6, Belarusian Ambassador to Brazil Sergey Lukashevich held a meeting with Brazilian Deputy Foreign Minister Maria Luisa Escorel de Moraes who is in charge of cooperation with Belarus. A note confirming Belarus' intent to join BRICS was handed over to Brazil at the meeting," the statement reads.

                              The Belarusian envoy and the Brazilian deputy foreign minister discussed ways to strengthen cooperation as part of multilateral diplomacy and highlighted the two countries' readiness to boost trade and economic ties.

                              In late January, Belarusian Foreign Minister Sergey Aleinik stated that Russia had expressed willingness to support Minsk should it decide to join BRICS.

                                            South African president invites all African leaders to BRICS summit — sherpa (Президент ЮАР пригласил всех африканских лидеров на саммит БРИКС — шерпа) / Russia, July, 2023
                                            Keywords: summit

                                            The summit will take place under the theme: "BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Mutually Accelerated Growth, Sustainable Development and Inclusive Multilateralism"

                                            PRETORIA, July 7. /TASS/. The heads of all African countries have been invited to the summit of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), to be held in South Africa's Johannesburg next month, South Africa's lead organiser of the BRICS summit Professor Anil Sooklal has said.

                                            "President Ramaphosa has decided to invite all African leaders as part of the BRICS outreach so we have extended an invitation to all African leaders to come and have dialogue with BRICS leaders," he said after a two-day conference of sherpas and sous-sherpas held near the southern city of Durban.

                                            "As you know as part of chairship this year we have an Africa focus and that is why our theme has emphasised this partnership with Africa and our theme speaks to that BRICS and Africa partnership for mutual accelerated growth, sustainable development and inclusive multilateralism," Sooklal added.

                                            He reiterated that the summit will take place under the theme: "BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Mutually Accelerated Growth, Sustainable Development and Inclusive Multilateralism."

                                            The African Union, which brings together all countries on the continent, comprises 55 members.

                                            The BRICS summit will run in the South African city of Johannesburg between August 22 and 24. Ramaphosa invited all leaders to participate, but only Chinese President Xi Jinping has confirmed his arrival to date.

                                            Russia will assume the rotating presidency of BRICS in 2024.

                                                          Investment and Finance
                                                          Investment and finance in BRICS
                                                          Russia affirms BRICS' plan to establish a currency backed by gold (Россия подтверждает план БРИКС по созданию валюты, обеспеченной золотом) / India, July, 2023
                                                          Keywords: economic_challenges

                                                          According to reports from state-run RT, the Russian government has reportedly confirmed that the BRICS nations, comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, are planning to introduce a trading currency backed by gold. This development is anticipated to be officially announced during the upcoming BRICS summit scheduled for August in South Africa. The gold market could potentially witness a surge in bullish momentum as the world potentially moves towards a new form of gold standard, as per the information provided.

                                                          The latest development will provide fresh impetus to the ongoing de-dollarization trend unfolding in the global economy. Central banks worldwide have been actively purchasing gold since mid-2022 at an unprecedented rate, partly driven by a desire to diversify their reserves away from the U.S. dollar.

                                                          For numerous analysts, the introduction of a gold-backed currency represents the next phase in this progression. China's recent gold acquisitions, according to many analysts, have been interpreted as an effort to enhance international credibility for the yuan.

                                                          Simultaneously, the U.S. government's utilization of the U.S. dollar as a geopolitical tool against Russia in response to the Ukraine invasion has generated geopolitical uncertainties for some nations aligned with Russia.

                                                          While the anticipation of a gold-backed BRICS currency will provide substantial support for gold, several analysts believe that it will take time before its impact is truly felt in the market.

                                                          Thorsten Polleit, the chief economist at Degussa, acknowledged the announcement as a positive step but cautioned that significant progress is still needed before the concept becomes a reality.

                                                          "At first glance, a new transaction unit, backed by gold, sounds like good money – and it could be, first and foremost, a major challenge to the US dollar's hegemony," he said in an exclusive comment to Kitco News.

                                                          "For making the new currency as good as gold, a truly sound currency, it must be convertible into gold on demand. I am not sure whether this is what Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa have in mind," he said. "Using gold as money, the unit of account would be a true game changer, no doubt about it. It could lead to a sharp devaluation of many fiat currencies vis-à-vis the yellow metal (including the BRICS fiat currencies), and it could catapult up goods prices in terms of fiat currencies. It could be a shock to the global fiat money system. I am not sure that this is what the BRICS wish to achieve."

                                                          Polleit suggested an alternative approach where the BRICS nations could establish a new bank focused on financing foreign trade, which would mandate the holding of gold as capital.

                                                          "Against this gold stock, the new bank could say, grant financing loans to exporters, and issue the "new currency"; or BRICS exports will be sold against the "new currency" and/or gold," he said. "I think it is fair to say that it is early to come up with a final conclusion where this will lead us to – we need more details."

                                                          According to Naeem Aslam, the chief investment officer at Zaye Capital Markets, although the potential establishment of a gold-backed currency by the BRICS nations could offer long-term support for gold, the precious metal still confronts immediate hurdles. Aslam further stated that despite the announcement, the realization of a gold-backed currency is still a distant prospect for the world.

                                                          "But this doesn't mean this can't be achieved at all," he said. "For now, any additional positive news on this could certainly help the gold price, but more importantly, traders are now going to be focused on the US CPI data, which is due next week."

                                                          Other analysts remain highly doubtful about the announcement."Talk of BRICS gold-backed currency seems like an echo chamber. They do not have the gold to back a currency meaningfully," said Marc Chandler, managing director of Bannockburn Global Forex. "Have we not learned anything from the EMU experience of monetary union without fiscal union? Color me profoundly skeptical."

                                                          Analysts have been discussing the possibility of a new global currency to rival the U.S. dollar as the world's reserve currency. Jim O'Neill, former Goldman Sachs chief economist, highlighted in a published paper that the U.S. dollar's dominance is causing instability in global monetary policies. He suggested that a BRICS currency challenging the U.S. dollar's supremacy could bring stability to the global economy.

                                                          "Whenever the Federal Reserve Board has embarked on periods of monetary tightening, or the opposite, loosening, the consequences on the value of the dollar and the knock-on effects have been dramatic," he said.

                                                                        Russia is our fourth largest BRICS trading partner (Россия — наш четвертый по величине торговый партнер БРИКС) / South Africa, July, 2023
                                                                        Keywords: expert_opinion, trade_relations
                                                                        South Africa

                                                                        Russia is South Africa's fourth largest trading partner within the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) grouping. In 2022, China accounted for 9.4% of South Africa's exports, while India had 4.5%, Brazil 0.4% and Russia only 0.2%, according to the South African Revenue Service (Sars).

                                                                        China dominated South Africa's imports with a 20.2% share, while India's share was 7.2%, Brazil had a 1.4% share and Russia managed only a 0.5% share.

                                                                        In rand terms, exports to China totalled R188.4 billion, while exports to India were R90.1bn, exports to Brazil R8.3bn and exports to Russia only R4.6bn.

                                                                        South Africa imported goods worth R367.4bn from China, R130.6bn from India, R26.1bn from Brazil and R9.2bn from Russia, resulting in a trade surplus in favour of China worth R179bn, in favour of India of R40.5bn, in favour of Brazil R17.8bn and in favour of Russia R4.6bn.

                                                                        The very small share of trade with Russia in 2022 may be due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February, 24, 2022 that resulted in American and European sanctions on Russia that disrupted supply chains with Russia.
                                                                        In 2021, Russia imported only R6.1bn of South African goods for a 0.3% share of total exports, while Russia exported R9.2bn to South Africa for a 0.7% share of total imports.

                                                                        This shows that supply chain disruptions had more of any impact on South African exports to Russia, while Russian exports to South Africa remained virtually the same, declining by only R54.5 million.

                                                                        What is surprising is that the decline in South African exports to Russia was not broad-based with five out of 23 categories actually showing an increase in 2022 compared with 2021.

                                                                        The biggest beneficiary of this was the vegetables category, which includes fruit and grains. This category rose by R429m to R3.747bn for a massive 81.1% of South African exports to Russia in 2022. No other category managed to have a favourable swing of R12m.

                                                                        Export declines were concentrated in mineral products, which saw a large R841m drop to only R199m from more than R1bn in 2021. This took its share of South African exports to Russia to 4.3% from 17.1%.

                                                                        There were five other export categories that suffered declines of more than R100m. These were machinery (R557m), products of iron and steel (R143m), vehicles (R138m), prepared foodstuffs (R113m) and chemicals (R103m).

                                                                        The change in imports from Russia was much more mixed with eight of 23 categories showing an improvement in 2022 relative to 2021.

                                                                        The biggest beneficiary was chemicals, which includes fertilisers, which increased by almost R2bn to R4.748bn, taking its share of Russian exports to South Africa to 51.9% from 30.2%.

                                                                        The largest loser was products of iron and steel, which lost R1.337bn to R1.557bn. In 2021, this had the largest share of Russian exports to South Africa at 31.4%, but this share dropped to 17.0% in 2022. The other large losers were precious metals (R443m), mineral products (R344m) and vegetables (R173m).
                                                                                      New Development Bank mechanism "very fair": Rousseff (Новый механизм Банка развития «очень справедливый»: Руссеф) / China, July, 2023
                                                                                      Keywords: ndb, quotation, expert_opinion
                                                                                      Source: /

                                                                                      BEIJING, July 3 (Xinhua) -- The financial governance mechanism of the BRICS-led New Development Bank (NDB) is "very fair," Dilma Rousseff, the bank's president, has said.

                                                                                      The former Brazilian president said at the 11th World Peace Forum that no member has more financial resources than others in the BRICS bank. She explained that since the establishment of the bank, the shares of the five BRICS nations have been the same, about 19 percent each, and when new countries join, shares of all countries will be equally reduced.

                                                                                      Rousseff said that "each country's share in the BRICS bank is absolutely fair," denying claims that the bank has been controlled or influenced by some countries at the Q&A session.

                                                                                      She said the rotation mechanism ensures fairness. Currently Brazil holds the rotating presidency of the NDB, and another member country will take over in July 2025.

                                                                                      When asked about the BRICS membership expanding at the upcoming summit in South Africa, she refused to give names of new applicant countries, saying the BRICS mechanism is different from that of the NDB.

                                                                                      Headquartered in Shanghai, the NDB was established in 2015 by the BRICS nations, namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The bank started expanding its membership in 2021 with Bangladesh, the United Arab Emirates, Uruguay and Egypt as new members, marking substantial progress in the bank's membership expansion and beginning to move towards the direction of a global multilateral development bank.

                                                                                      The 11th World Peace Forum is being held at Tsinghua University with this year's theme being "Stabilizing an Unstable World through Consensus and Cooperation. More than 400 delegates, including former foreign political dignitaries, diplomatic envoys from various countries in China, experts, and scholars attended the event. ■

                                                                                                    BRICS+ regional powers: a re-assembly of the global economy (Региональные державы БРИКС+: пересборка мировой экономики) / Russia, July, 2023
                                                                                                    Keywords: brics+, economic_challenges

                                                                                                    The expansion of BRICS that is expected to be discussed during the BRICS summit in South Africa later this year is turning into one of the highlights of this year's global agenda. But what this expansion agenda is uncovering is a very important underlying trend that some of the observers are starting to acknowledge – the rising prominence the so-called "middle powers" or better "regional powers" of the Global South. This layer of the international community holds the future of the global economy in terms of economic growth rates, the expansion of the global "middle class" and the new patterns of economic alliances.

                                                                                                    The emerging regional powers are starting to exhibit global ambitions and are seeking to realize their potential via platforms such as BRICS/BRICS+. Among the growing number of countries that have formally applied or expressed interest in the BRICS are most heavyweights in their respective regions such as Argentina in Latin America, Bangladesh in South Asia, Egypt in Africa, Saudi Arabia in the Middle East, Indonesia in East Asia. One may liken this new emerging group of countries to the next wave or generation of BRICS, though this time around the number of countries is greater, with more emphatic implications for the revamping of global governance.

                                                                                                    There are several reasons why some of these "regional powers" are starting to come to the fore on the international stage:

                                                                                                    • Global geopolitical fragmentation: Extended periods of bi-polarity (Cold war) and unipolarity (mostly the 90s) that deprived the middle powers of playing a more prominent role on the world stage
                                                                                                    • Constrained modernization: Pent-up demand from middle powers for a stronger impulse towards modernization and the surmounting of the "middle income" trap; efforts to secure optionality and leeway to avoid burdensome conditionality and sanctions
                                                                                                    • The rise of regionalism amid cracks in the globalization process – this calls for novel gateways to international cooperation that bring together the regional leaders and middle powers rather than pursuing a top-down globalization pattern led by the select few advanced economies
                                                                                                    • Internal economic imbalances under the "unipolar" globalization paradigm – something that engendered efforts to play a greater role on the world stage while seeking to secure additional/alternative sources of financing
                                                                                                    The innovation of the BRICS+ concept was to discover and reveal the great potential of the regional powers on the international stage. By opening up the possibility of joining BRICS/BRICS+ it provides a platform for these powers to finally express themselves on the international arena through building horizontal ties across all of the main regions of the Global South. For the regional powers of the Global South the BRICS+ platform becomes not only a way to play a more active role on the international stage but also to capitalize on their regional role and the resources/capital built in their respective regional integration projects.

                                                                                                    In this respect the significance of the flurry of applications to join BRICS is that it serves to identify those economies of the Global South that not only have regional and global ambitions, but that also possess important political/economic/geo-economic strengths that entitle them to play a more visible and active role on the world stage. Rather than the scholars and pundits surmising the composition of the next wave of leading economies, the Global South leaders are "making the call" themselves and stepping into the global limelight. In effect, this "revealed ambition" of the regional powers of the Global South is a way to convert the regional potential and the value of the regional integration arrangements that they lead into global capital/recognition. And the arithmetic of the pros and cons of a unipolar system vs a regionalized global economy with a leading role played by emerging regional powers is increasingly shifting in favor of the latter.

                                                                                                    This is exemplified by the rising prominence of the emerging regional powers vs. leading developed economies and international organizations in terms of the resources and the financial prowess. The combined resources of all the Regional Financing Arrangements (RFAs) are greater than those of the IMF, which is even more the case in the comparison between the World Bank and the regional development banks (RDBs). The relative power of the regional integration arrangements (RTAs) is progressively rising compared to the lackluster WTO. In the financial space, 9 out of 10 largest sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) are from the Global South. And then there is also the political dimension as the rise of the leaders of regional powers from the Global South such as Lula may start to increasingly overshadow the prominence of the leaders from the advanced economies and "globalistic" international fora.

                                                                                                    The scale of changes witnessed around BRICS and BRICS+ may also be indicative of a certain life-cycle stage that the global institutional framework is going through. The "superstructure" of international institutions (attuned more to a globalized world) is less congruent with the increasingly regionalized "foundation" of the world economy. There needs to be a flexible and multipolar platform that can bring greater coordination into the operation of the increasingly impactful RTAs, RFAs and RDBs. In terms of its life cycle, the "unipolar paradigm" has gone from the phase of innovation and growth/maturity to a decline that is punctuated by an increasing frequency and severity of global crises. Hence, the need to turn the cycle back to the "innovation stage". Which is where BRICS+ comes in.

                                                                                                    As the world map is redrawn, the paucity of "global centers" will give way to an increasingly variegated pattern of regions. New economies will enter the global stage with ambitions and the zeal to deliver their contribution to building the new global economic architecture. The regions and their development institutions through building cooperation platforms with their counterparts in the Global South will increasingly become the incubators of "breakout nations", i.e. economies that demonstrate the most significant advances in growth and modernization. These new waves of BRICS+ economies will in effect be the "regional derivatives" of the main areas of the Global South.

                                                                                                    With time the new layer of the regional powers/middle powers from the Global South may start to play the same role in the world economy that the "middle class" and SMEs play in the developed countries – we may witness their growing share in the total GDP pie, their rising contribution to innovation and employment. These trends are likely to be supported by continued urbanization, a rising share of the services sector, as well as greater emphasis placed in their modernization on the development of digital and green economy. There may also be increasing competition for swaying these economies closer to either the BRICS or the advanced economy camp, akin to the competition witnessed in the electoral process at the national level over the electoral range close to the "median voter". And it is this "median voter" that will likely increasingly drive outcomes and decisions in the re-assembled global economy.

                                                                                                    The role of the regional powers from the Global South will continue to grow on the international stage due to their increasingly coordinated actions – whether in sectoral fora such as OPEC+, or international platforms such as BRICS+. As these regional powers start to cooperate within the BRICS/BRICS+ platform, there will be also growing scope for the co-integration of their respective regional integration arrangements. This will open up further possibilities for smaller economies to find their niche in the re-assembled global construct to deliver a more palpable coordinated contribution to international development. Within such a paradigm, an increasingly sizeable "bulge of regional/middle economies" may also be conducive to reducing the power conflicts and inequalities on a global, regional and national levels (again in line with how the rise of the middle class at the national level is typically associated with declining inequality).

                                                                                                    In the end, the consolidation of the regional powers of the Global South may result in a transformational change of the global economy, a re-assembly of economic alliances that further shifts the center of gravity into the developing world. The top-down globalization that persisted in the preceding decades is increasingly superseded by a regions-driven paradigm with new pathways to economic integration and international economic diplomacy. The regional powers that are likely to drive the new stage in globalization will form the basis of the BRICS+ platform together with the respective regional blocks and regional partners. And it could well be that this new re-assembled paradigm will prove to be less crisis-prone and more sustainable than the previous "convergence-to-one-model" pattern of globalization.

                                                                                                                  World of Work
                                                                                                                  SOCIAL POLICY, TRADE UNIONS, ACTIONS
                                                                                                                  Youth Development Agency hosts 2023 Ninth BRICS Youth Summit and Youth Ministers Meeting, 18 to 20 Jul (Агентство развития молодежи проводит девятый Молодежный саммит БРИКС и встречу министров по делам молодежи 2023 года, 18–20 июля) / South Africa, July, 2023
                                                                                                                  Keywords: social_issues
                                                                                                                  South Africa

                                                                                                                  The National Youth Development Agency will host the 9th BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India China, and South Africa) Youth Summit and the Meeting of Ministers responsible for Youth Affairs, under the theme: "BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Mutually Accelerated Growth, Sustainable Development and Inclusive Multilateralism."

                                                                                                                  The BRICS Youth Summit is a platform for dialogue for delegates from member states, striving for the promotion of peace, security, development in a multi-polar inter-dependent and increasingly complex, globalizing world. The objectives of the summit are to bring together youth participants, affording them an opportunity to share ideas and work on a concrete Action Plan for co-operation in economic, humanitarian, mass media, and science sphere.

                                                                                                                  This year, South Africa as the head of BRICS will direct the summit to focus on mainly on discussions that aim to encourage young leaders amongst BRICS nations to actively participate in addressing the most significant global challenges, economic, social issues, and contribute to the developmental agenda. It further focuses to establish constructive engagements on issues relating to youth empowerment, the advancement of youth development and in creating a conducive environment where youth will devise a path to a brighter and better future.

                                                                                                                  The Youth summit precedes the BRICS Ministers responsible for Youth Affairs meeting, which will be attended by the Youth Ministers; Heads of Executive Authorities for Youth; Senior Government Officials; and youth. The outcomes of the BRICS Youth Summit will be presented to the Ministers' Meeting for decision making and adoption of the presentations and resolutions made by delegates from the summit.
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