South African Ambassador to China Siyabonga Cyprian Cwele (XIA YUANYUAN)
As the world's attention turns towards the 15th BRICS Summit, taking place from 22 to 24 August in South Africa, South African Ambassador to China Siyabonga Cyprian Cwele has shared profound insights that shed light on the essence of the BRICS group as more than just an international gathering.
In an exclusive interview with ChinAfrica, the ambassador emphasised that BRICS, which comprises Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, is not a mere “club.” Instead, it's a “partnership for development,” reflecting the collective aspiration of its member states to work collaboratively for the betterment of their nations and beyond. This unique approach underlines the fundamental spirit of mutual growth and cooperation that the BRICS group represents.
“Solidarity for peace, [and] solidarity for development, those are common values we all share as BRICS partners,” Cwele told ChinAfrica.
One of the notable features of the BRICS is the absence of the veto system, which often hampers decision-making in other international forums. The ambassador underscored that BRICS operates according to the principles of consensus and open discussion. Each member's voice is equally valued, reflecting a commitment to genuine multilateralism. This collaborative approach fosters an environment conducive to constructive dialogue and compromise, where ideas are exchanged freely and decisions are reached through mutual understanding. The decisions in the BRICS group are taken by consensus. “There's no one who is big … [in] our wisdom, we believe in discussion; [and] because we share so many common values, we normally find consensus,” he added.
An essential component of the BRICS group is the belief in dialogue as the cornerstone of progress. The ambassador highlighted the tangible benefits that member countries have reaped from being part of this alliance. According to the ambassador, the financial growth experienced by some member nations has been remarkable, with statistics showing a three-fold to five-fold growth in their economies. This demonstrates that the BRICS group is not just a platform for conversation; it's a catalyst for economic advancement.
A force for stability
While economic prosperity is a significant outcome of BRICS cooperation, the ambassador described the group as the “biggest stabiliser.” In a world marred by uncertainty and global challenges, the BRICS group offers a common vision that transcends borders. Member states are united by shared interests in addressing global issues, enhancing trade, fostering innovation, and promoting sustainable development. This unified stance contributes to stability and resilience in a rapidly changing international environment.
Peace, both within member states and across the world, remains at the heart of the BRICS' core values. The ambassador summed up the group's belief: "Peace advances us, war takes us back." This belief reflects the BRICS group’s commitment to diplomatic solutions and a rejection of conflict as a means of resolution.
This year’s BRICS summit is a testament to the power of cooperation and dialogue. Through its partnership for development, the BRICS group has become a beacon of hope, collaboration, and progress. With shared visions and a commitment to peace, the BRICS group continues to shape a world where unity prevails over division, and prosperity extends beyond borders. As we observe the summit's proceedings, it's a reminder that together, we can advance towards a brighter future for all.