Based on recent indications, Egypt is likely to join Brics Group, which includes the vibrant emerging economies of China, Russia, India, Brazil and South Africa.
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Such an outcome will have a monumental impact on international alliances and reflect positively on both Brics and Egypt, which is seeking to rebuild its economy after the so-called “Arab Spring” and the economic deterioration caused by Muslim Brotherhood regime.
Apart from the second largest economy in the world, China, and the first and third largest economies in Asia — China and India — Brics’ role is boosted by the Russian Federation, one of the world’s top three oil and gas producers, The group has in record time occupied a privileged position in the global economic ties, as was referred to by the Chinese President Xi Jinping during his speech at the recent summit held at Xiamen and in the presence of — for the first time — the Egyptian President.
“Brics has many big tasks to do including boosting its economies’ growth and enhancing their cooperation,” President Jinping said. He stressed that the group has to liberate trade, open up the international economy, create a new global value, restore the global economy’s balance and discover new innovation methods.
Jinping also called for expanding the group by adding new members, which is an indication signifying that Egypt may join the group, which if it happens, will constitute a paradigm shift for Egypt’s economy and revive its exports by being able to reach mega markets that include more than 40 per cent of the world’s population. This will result in providing resources to develop many sectors of the economy, including agriculture and industry.
It will also contribute to activating the tourism sector, which is of such significance to an economy that still suffers from the implications of recent events. In addition, the Egyptian accession to Brics will add a lot to the group given its Arab and African leverage, especially as it is striving to re-map global relations to cope with the changes going on and the emergence of India and China as economic powers at the expense of the US and Europe.
This means the balance of power upon which world conditions had been built after the Second World War has to be changed to match the current equations. Meanwhile, the Brics grouping can benefit from the Egyptian market, and the countless investment opportunities as well as from the strategic location of Suez Canal, thus gaining more strategic influence on the global stage.
It goes without saying that the joining process will face some complications as the economies of the Brics countries are in much better shape than Egypt’s, not to mention the differences in the growth, inflation and joblessness rates. However, the Egyptian economy is moving in the right direction especially after gaining most of the Gulf countries’ support, meaning that these complications can be surmounted.
Yet, there are some disparities in regulations that Egypt has to modify to keep abreast with the Brics countries.
Beside the significant economic and trade benefits in joining Brics, there are security aspects that are important as well. Joining will weaken terrorist organisations that attempt to damage economic faculties and spread fear to disadvantage the tourism sector.
The Brics countries have the necessary expertise and experience that Egypt is looking for to counter terrorism. So joining it ill bring about more cooperation in this field, thus resulting in positive economic and social impacts. This would help Egypt overcome the many crises caused by the recent events.
Dr Mohammad Al Asoomi is a UAE economic expert and specialist in economic and social development in the UAE and the GCC countries.