South African Minister Pandor Speaks On Importance BRICS Economic Cooperation

Lawrence Freeman with Naledi Pandor, Minister of International
Relations and Cooperation, Republic of South Africa, in Washington DC, March 2024

June 16, 2024

The BRICS and the emergence of the Global South are providing an alternative to the Western created rules-based order, which is failing due to its flawed axioms of belief. Both Naledi Pandor, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Republic of South Africa, and Sergey Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister, addressed the importance of this new multi-polar dynamic in the world. Both presentations beg the need for the creation of a “new just economic order” based on a paradigm of economic development.  

Below are excerpts of Minister Pandor’s June 10th remarks.

We mark the expansion of BRICS to include further members of the global South and so increase our voice and influence as we continue to strive to shape a more fair, just and representative multipolar world order.

We also face very complex and political challenges that require ingenuity, innovation and increased global cooperation and we can be a force for good.

South Africa stands ready to work with our new members as they join all BRICS cooperation tracks and structures.

BRICS has increasingly become an important global forum. It is important that we maintain the momentum across all pillars of cooperation in the BRICS spirit of solidarity, openness, mutual respect and understanding in full consultation and consensus. Our collaboration can enhance effective action in all three pillars of BRICS, namely financial and economic cooperation, political and security cooperation, and cultural and people-to-people cooperation.

Together, we can realise the full potential of our BRICS economic partnership for mutually beneficial and inclusive economic growth and sustainable development. We therefore welcome the establishment of a Task Force to prepare a “BRICS Report on Improving the International Monetary and Financial System” and Central Bank discussions on the feasibility of establishing a BRICS international settlement and depository platform.

Our vision for BRICS is to foster a partnership that promotes the inclusion of countries of the global South in a fair, just, and equitable world, based on mutual respect and the equal sovereignty of nations. We see our partnership as a catalyst for sustained and mutually beneficial global growth and sustainable development that addresses the needs and demands of the entire world, not just the rich and the privileged.

As BRICS, we share a commitment to upholding and strengthening international law and advancing the central role of the United Nations in promoting inclusive multilateralism to foster increased cooperation between sovereign states in pursuit of international peace and security, sustainable development, democracy, human rights, and fundamental freedoms for all. (emphasis added)

Read Minister Pandor’s complete remarks: Pandor on BRICS

© Sergey Bulkin/TASS

Below are excerpts from Minister Lavrov.

Multipolarity is not something that depends on the wishes of a certain state or a group of nations. Multipolarity or polycentrism as we also call it, is an objectively developing historical process which cannot be stopped. Although the West is trying to stall it by crook or by hook in order to prolong its hegemony that was proclaimed as the main goal of the US and its allies. They openly say that the world order in which the leading role belongs to the Americans, NATO and the EU, cannot be allowed to change.

This is an openly neocolonial mentality, which is manifested in everything the collective West does. It is the West that is trying to divide the world into various blocs. Think back to how the Americans convened a special ‘summit for democracy’, where they personally appointed the participants and sent them invitations. There was only one criterion for being invited – loyalty to the United States, first of all, loyalty to the democratic administration of [US President] Joe Biden.

Read my earlier posts below on this subject:

Lawrence Freeman: Why The “Rules-Based International Order” Has Failed and Will Always Fail: The Case of Africa

Freeman Interview: Is The West’s Rules-Based Order Targeting Horn of Africa and South Africa?

“Pan African Visions” Freeman Interview: The Newly Expanded BRICS Has Indelibly Changed The Universe-Ethiopia and Africa

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is a teacher, writer, public speaker, and consultant on Africa. Mr. Freeman strongly believes that economic development is an essential human right. He is also the creator of the blog:  lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com

G-7 “Rules-Based Order” Meddling in the Horn of Africa for No Good

Watch Lawrence Freeman’s interview with Addis Assefa, OBN Horn of Africa, April 23, 2024

May 4, 2024

In this interview, I presented the fallacy of thinking by the so called rules-based international order, demonstrated in their G7-Foreign Ministers Statement. The G7 statement fails to articulate any policy promoting economic development for the nations of Africa. Rather, it shamefully,  merely lists the concerns and the condemnations of the G7 for several  African nations.

Major topics discussed included:

  • The involvement of forces outside the region meddling in the affairs of the Horn of Africa for geopolitical control; usurping the authority of  sovereign African nations.
  • The absence of motivation for any nation in the Horn of Africa to initiate military engagement with neighboring nations.  
  • The ongoing process of regional economic integration in the Horn of Africa.
  • The potential for increased physical economic growth in the region resulting from the Memorandum of Understanding between Ethiopia and Somaliland for port access.
  • The lack of a policy by the G7 rules-based order to promote physical economic growth.
  • The use of “climate change” to prevent African nations from using their sovereign natural resources to produce electricity for the purpose of improving the standard of living for their citizens.

Read my earlier posts:

Anglo-American Elite Continue Threats to Break-up Ethiopia

Stop Foolish Talk of War in the Horn of Africa-Promote Economic Growth Instead

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for 35 years. He is a teacher, writer, public speaker, and consultant on Africa. Mr. Freeman strongly believes that economic development is an essential human right. He is the creator of the blog:  lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com, and also publishing on: lawrencefreeman.substack.com, “Freeman’s Africa and the World.”

China & Freeman Agree With The African Charter: “Economic Development is a Human Right”

June 24, 2023

The concept that economic development is a fundamental human right has been rejected by the United States, the United Nations, Europe, and all Western institutions, including  Non-Government Organizations (NGOs). This failure to understand the essential, vital importance of promoting real-physical economic growth in developing nations has prevented the West from achieving its goals for  human rights, good governance, and democracy, if they are even truly sincere about these objectives.

I concur with Zhang Weiwei when he writes: China has politically recognized poverty reduction as not only a human right, but also a core one…, in his column, China’s poverty eradication and implications for global human rights governance.

Zhang Weiwei is right: The United States has never considered poverty eradication as a human rights issue. I might add that the United Nations has officially refused China’s request to list economic development as a core human right.

However, contrary to the UN and U.S., the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, correctly states in Article 22:

All peoples shall have the right to their economic, social, and cultural development…States shall have the duty…to ensure the exercise of the right to development.

China has succeeded in lifting three quarters of a billion of its people out of poverty; a feat that the Western financial institutions could not accomplish with their monetarist policies. This has been achieved through a dedicated effort by the Chinese government over several decades. Should not concerned nations in the West, collaborate with China to eliminate poverty worldwide, as a shared common mission?

U.S. Has lost Its Vision for Development

As the U.S. vision for the world has shrunk and its culture corrupted, we have produced no statesman, much less a visionary leader, who can articulate a policy for uplifting humankind. There are no Kennedys, Roosevelts, or Lincolns, in the political class of America today. As a result, the notion of developing other nations, (much less our own) has virtually vanished from the American lexicon, and U.S. strategic policy. Tragically for the U.S. and the rest of the world, the diseased doctrine of geopolitics has become the dominant ideology in formulating foreign policy. In this warped creed, might makes right, and the desire to remain on top dominates, in a belief structure of a fixed zero-sum world. In this perverted mind-set, what drives a nation’s foreign policy is the thirst to maintain its power.

Demands for so called human rights, good governance, and the insistence for Western structured democracy, are not only terribly flawed, but in fact, have been used  as weapons to bludgeon nations into accepting the dictates of the “rules-based international order.” This is the new term for geopolitical control by the West, with its unipolar view of the world, following the demise of the Soviet Union. China and Russia are wrongly viewed as enemies of the U.S. However, it should be understood that China and Russia China, along with an increasing number of nations in the expanding non-align movement are indeed a threat to the hegemony of the “rules-based order.

BRICS is emerging as an alternative to the “international rules-based order.” Ocotober 2019. (Courtesey of wikapedia)

Again, I agree with Zhang Weiwei: “Only through development can poverty be eliminated, and the root causes of many conflicts be removed.” Allow me to extendthis line of reasoning by stating unequivocally: poverty is the enemy of human rights, the enemy of democracy, and the enemy of peace and stability.

Democracy and human rights are a cruel illusion: when almost half of one’s nation lives in poverty; when the majority of the citizens have no access to electricity; when mothers have to search for food each day to feed their children; when the lack of productive jobs forces young men and women to hustle for survival in the informal economy; and when families believe they have no long term economic security for the future.  

Democracy is more than voting every four years. Democracy requires that its citizens have the material standard of living and leisure time to inform themselves  so they can intelligently discuss and debate national policies that will impact the present and future of their nation. Electing candidates who will offer a meaningful and dignified life for its people, and hope for the future, requires a society with a culture that fosters a thinking citizenry. What makes us human is our creative imagination that allows us to discover the laws of the universe. Thus, each human being should have a rising standard of living that provides for one’s material needs and the freedom to nurture the creative potential of their mind.

Why isn’t the right to electricity a human right? Why isn’t the right to have a productive job a human right? Why isn’t the right to a quality education a human right? These omissions from the mantra of the “rules based order,” and the U.S. State Department, are glaring and fatal.

Common Aims of Humankind

A nation’s foreign policy towards other nations is clear and elementary, if one understands this crucial principle: all people share a universal similarity as members of the human species, who are uniquely endowed with the potential of creative reasoning. Thus, the interest of each nation is the same: the material and spiritual development of each of its citizens. Therefore, it is in the self-interest of each nation to cooperate with other nations to foster the enrichment of the mind, soul, and body of every human being. From this higher understanding of civilization, we redefine a nation’s relationship to the rest of the world, away from geopolitics to one of collaboration in creating a new paradigm based on economic development

President Franklin Roosevelt, and Prime Minister Winston Churchil, Casablanca Morocco. 1943, (Courtesey of the National War II Museum)

It has not always been the case that U.S. foreign policy towards developing nations excluded economic development. President Franklin Roosevelt was appalled at the conditions of Africans living in British controlled colonies. Prime Minister Churchill was furious when President Roosevelt confronted him with this ugly reality. Elliott Roosevelt, President Roosevelt’s son, who was present at many of his father’s meeting with the Prime Minister, reports in his book, As He Saw It, their diametrically opposed view on colonialism.Elliott Roosevelt recalls a heated conversation, when his father told Churchill, that after the war he intended to dismantle the British Imperial system. President Roosevelt also told his son of his intention to help turn the Sahara Desert green with vegetation.

Sixty years ago, a young President, John Kennedy, reversed his predecessor’s  aloofness towards Africa, and embraced the newly independent African nations. He made a commitment to assist in modernizing and industrializing their underdeveloped economies. This was most evident in President Kennedy’s agreement with Ghana President, Kwame Nkrumah, to support the construction of the Volta River Dam project. To this end, the Kennedy administration provided a $40 million loan for the hydroelectric dam and bauxite smelting manufacturing facility to produce aluminum.

President Kennedy invites President Kwame Nkrumah to Washiongton DC, March 8, 1961, for the first State Dinner of his new presidency

When in the last five decades has the U.S. led any effort to assist an African, or developing nation, in significantly expanding its manufacturing capability?

In examining whether a nation’s foreign policy is successful or not, the criteria is  obvious, and one that I have long ago adopted. Does it result in an improvement in the conditions of life? Does it lead to a reduction of poverty? If it does not, the policy should be discontinued, and replaced with a strategy to increase the production of physical economic wealth for the benefit of the people.

It is well past time for the “rules-based order” to be replaced with principles that benefit humankind. Principles are always superior to rules.

Read my earlier post: My Thoughts: Poverty & Ethnicity Kill Democracy in Africa

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is a teacher, writer, public speaker, and consultant on Africa. He is also the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton