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Namibia contemplates Brics

Executive director of international relations and cooperation Penda Naanda says Namibia has not undertaken any steps or initiated any process to apply for membership to the Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (Brics) group of countries.

Many African countries have shown interest in joining Brics, a group of countries comprising the world’s leading emerging market economies, which aims to promote peace, security, development and cooperation.

In a written response to media queries, Naanda said Namibia would first assess the benefits and obligations arising from membership to any given regional or international organisation before joining it.

“Therefore, at present, nothing has been decided, no action has been taken, and no process has been initiated.

“Should Namibia decide to join, the necessary steps will be undertaken, a process will be initiated, and the nation will be informed accordingly,” he said.

South Africa has taken over the chairmanship of Brics from China and will host the group’s annual summit in August.

Chinese ambassador to Namibia Zhao Weiping at a recent press conference said China and African countries are all developing countries.

“The current members of Brics are also developing countries. And of course, Brics is already expanding, as at the beginning it had only four members.

“I think we have to be sure whether Namibia has applied to join,” he said.

Zao said it is a matter of whether Namibia has decided to join.

‘‘But I have noticed that Namibia is very supportive of Brics, so maybe some time in the future, Namibia will apply.

“But now I can’t give further comment,” he said.

Economist Salomo Hei says there is no harm in Namibia joining Brics.

He says Brics could become a multilateral conversion of countries that are almost at the same stage of development.

“Namibia could not lose anything from joining Brics, and I would think that if other countries, such as Egypt, are planning on joining, it’s an interesting time, because the Brics bank could potentially be a good thing to further extend the relationship between countries and the continent,” he says.

In January, Voice of Africa News reported that South African president Cyril Ramaphosa said he would use his chairmanship of the Brics group to focus on advancing African interests. “We want to use this opportunity to advance the interests of our continent, and we will therefore through the Brics summit be having an outreach process or moment, where we will invite other African countries to come and be part of Brics because we do want Brics in whatever Brics does to focus on helping to develop our continent,” Ramaphosa said.

He said the continent is pillaged, ravaged, and exploited by other continents and it should therefore want to build solidarity in Brics to advance the interests of South Africa and the continent as a whole.

Brics countries have a combined population of more than 3,2 billion people, making up about 40% of the world’s roughly eight billion people.

Saudi Arabia is reportedly interested in joining the bloc, as are Iran, Algeria, and Argentina.