Opportunities and obstacles to cooperation between the BRICS: A view from South Africa



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The Brazilian Institute for Social and Economic Analyses


University of Cape Town

Cooperation between the BRICS states is often framed as being a part of new forms of South-South Cooperation (SSC). This is clearly problematic, given the presence of Russia, which is neither geographically nor historically part of the Global South, and China, which sufers from schizophrenia when it comes to its identity as part of the developing world. In spite of this, South-South rhetoric is used by both policymakers and scholars when referring to BRICS. This needs to be problematized as it suggests a particular kind of cooperation – diferent from traditional North-South cooperation. The idea of SSC tends to evoke a positive image of solidarity between developing countries through the exchange of resources, technology, and knowledge. This is intended to shift the international balance of power and help developing nations break away from aid dependence and achieve true emancipation from former colonial powers – with the underlying assumption that it is always mutually benefcial (mutual beneft being one of the principles of SSC identifed by the UN ofce for SSC).