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BRICS and the Zimbabwe factor

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AS the globe continues to gradually drift from the West’s centuries-long hegemony, subsequently converging around the BRICS, an economic bloc that is bringing to the world a new economic and political order, there are many ways in which Zimbabwe can benefit from the fast growing group of nations. 

Comprising of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, countries like Iran, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Ethiopia and Egypt have since formally joined the BRICS that looks set to reshape the fast waning Western-dominated international system. 

Zimbabwe has been reeling from Western-imposed illegal sanctions over its land reform programme since 2000 and has adopted a Look East Policy that has seen the likes of South Africa, China and Russia — key members of BRICS — rescuing it from brazen military invasion attempts and fervent pursuit of regime change in the country. 

The support from these countries has not only been political but economic as evidenced by the phenomenal increase in trade and foreign direct investment (FDI) over the past decade. 

That collaboration is now set to expand in the next few months. 

While the opposition and their Western handlers like to downplay the devastating effects of those sanctions which were also created to steer them to power, the reality on the ground agonisingly suggests otherwise. 

Their infantile claims that the sanctions are ‘targeted’ and as such have no impact on the ordinary citizens of the country lost currency from the onset. 

And the grim picture of the effects of those sanctions is felt everywhere across the country, not to mention in countries across Zimbabwe’s borders. 

The sanctions were also created to isolate Zimbabwe from the league of nations, paving the way for Western-founded and funded parties to take over power. 

Those sanctions have not immensely diminished the country’s prospects for unmitigated fulfilment of the objectives of its war of liberation, but have severely battered and condemned innocent lives to untold suffering. 

They have also increased the country’s risk factor, meaning that Zimbabwe cannot access lines of credit; and where capital can be accessed, it will come at a premium. 

Our banks have struggled to raise key instruments to guarantee investments. 

They, too, have struggled to unlock fresh capital. 

That does not, however, mean that Zimbabwe has been sitting on its laurels. 

Since the advent of the Second Republic in November 2017, Zimbabwe has aligned itself with progressive countries and economic groups in its quest to unlock the wealth in its natural resources. 

Early last month, South Africa’s Foreign Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor revealed that 34 other countries have submitted an expression of interest to join the bloc which will be chaired by Russia in Kazan come October. 

Zimbabwe, which is one of those countries, is not joining the bloc as a mere bridesmaid; it is bringing something tangible to the table. 

That ‘something tangible’ includes the much sought-after mineral resources (notably gold, diamonds, lithium, platinum, to mention just a few), a stable investment environment, peace, security and stability. 

That largely untapped mineral resource base can be used to back its currency with guarantees from other BRICS member-States which, like Zimbabwe, are seeking to move away from the US dollar-dominated global trading system. 

BRICS members, said Minister Pandor, have been working together to develop and adopt a payment system in local currency between member-States as well as creating an international payment platform. 

“This will redress what we regard as a rather unfair and costly payment,” she said. 

Oil-producing nations in the Gulf region, who are also breaking ties with the West, can come in handy by providing necessary guarantees to stabilise our currency while providing fresh capital. 

The influx of investors from the Middle East in recent months, including Mulk International which has started construction of Zimbabwe’s first Cyber City in Mt Hampden, on Harare’s outskirts, attests to the success of this thrust. 

The project aims to develop at least 250 homes, offices, commercial space and a digital transport system. 

“The expansions add the muscle of major oil-producing Gulf economies to the body and comes as both Russia and China have bolstered their relationships with sanctions-hit Iran,” reads a February 1 story by Reuters. 

“Last year, Beijing played a part in brokering the restoration of ties between long-time rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran. The cohort of countries join as BRICS pushes towards more diplomatic and financial co-ordination, including reform of the United Nations Security Council and a move away from a US dollar-dominated trade system.” 

In 2008, China and Russia used their veto power to rescue Zimbabwe from the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) which had been waylaid by Western countries to put the Southern African nation under sanctions and pave way for a military invasion which was being orchestrated by Harare’s tormentor-in-chief and former British Prime Tony Blair. 

As Zimbabwe joins other progressive nations in the development of a just and fair world, there can never be time to forget the sanctions nightmare. 

Let those with ears listen. 

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