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Musings From Abroad

BRICS Foreign Ministers call for ‘rebalancing’ of global order 

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Foreign ministers of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa currently meeting in Cape Town ahead of the BRICS Summit have called for a “rebalancing” of the global order.

India’s Foreign Minister, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said during opening remarks, “Our gathering must send out a strong message that the world is multipolar, that it is rebalancing and that old ways cannot address new situations.”

A video of Russian Foreign Affairs Minister, Sergey Lavrov at the conference also surfaced yesterday, while speaking about the changes in the international system which makes the pursuit of national interest attainable for all in the system.

“A more just, polycentric international order is taking shape,” Lavrov said.

The host, South Africa, has been under pressure to arrest Russian President, Vladimir Putin during an expected visit to the summit in August following a ruling by the International Criminal Court for his arrest.

United States ambassador, Reuben Brigety last month also accused South Africa of supplying Russia with arms in December in the ongoing Russia/Ukraine war.

Meanwhile, Pretoria has maintained that it is neutral over the war, but is accused by critics of tilting towards the Kremlin, and has long advocated for BRICS to act as a counterbalance to a Western-dominated international order.

“Our vision of BRICS is for our partnership to provide global leadership in a world fractured by competition, geopolitical tension, inequality, and deteriorating global security,” South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor told the meeting.

“Our discussions today will therefore focus on opportunities… strengthening and transforming global governance systems”.

Meanwhile, South African opposition parties are divided over the country’s continued relations with Russia and the supposed welcoming gesture ahead of Putin’s visit. While Democratic Alliance (DA) disagrees with the stance and has initiated a suit against it, the EFF movement has insisted that “Putin is welcomed.

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Musings From Abroad

Niger, Turkey expand energy, defence cooperation

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Following Niger’s request for the departure of Western military forces and the cancellation of many Western countries’ mining contracts, Turkey and Niger decided to increase their collaboration in the areas of energy, mining, intelligence, and defence.

On Wednesday, MIT intelligence chief, Ibrahim Kalin, Energy Minister, Alparslan Bayraktar, Defense Minister, Yasar Guler, and Foreign Minister, Hakan Fidan, of Turkey paid a visit to Niamey, the capital of Niger.

The Turkish team also met with General Abdulrahman Tiani, the leader of Niger, who assumed office in July of last year following the overthrow of President Mohamed Bazoum by the military council he led and the country’s shift in allegiance.

The junta expelled the French forces, and the United States was instructed to remove its military men from the nation. Additionally, it broke security agreements with the EU.

Two months have passed since Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Niger’s Prime Minister Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine met in Ankara, where the Turkish officials are currently on a visit.

Following their discussions on Wednesday, Fidan informed reporters that officials from Turkey and Niger had talked about enhancing their defence intelligence collaboration.

Guler talked about measures to strengthen defence and military training cooperation between Turkey and Niger, an official from the Turkish Ministry of defense said on Thursday.

The energy ministry of Turkey announced on Wednesday that the two nations had inked a statement of intent to assist and motivate Turkish enterprises to develop the oil and natural gas resources in Niger.

Niger is the seventh-largest producer of uranium in the world and possesses the highest-grade uranium ores in Africa.

However, a Turkish diplomatic source stated that Ankara is not looking to purchase uranium from Niger for its first nuclear power station, which is being built in Akkuyu in Turkey’s Mediterranean area by Russia’s Rosatom.

 

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Musings From Abroad

IMF lowers Botswana’s growth projection for 2024

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In a statement, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reduced its earlier April estimate of 3.6% growth for Botswana to 1%, primarily because of decreased diamond production.

In addition, the IMF warned that a decline in mineral income would cause the budget deficit to balloon to 6% from 3.45% and urged the diamond-rich nation in southern Africa to think twice before embarking on new infrastructure projects to support the economy.

“The continued (economic) slowdown is mainly due to a fall in diamond production,” said IMF said in a statement released late on Friday.

“Some fiscal relaxation is warranted this year given the fall in mineral revenues, but the execution of the ambitious capital budget should be slowed down to contain the deterioration of the deficit and prioritize projects with the highest returns,” the IMF said.

 

The demand prognosis for diamonds, which are typically regarded as luxury goods, has decreased due to weaker consumer demand and a weakening in the global economy.

Finance Minister Peggy Serame predicted in February that the economy would expand by 4.2%, but a few months later the central bank issued a warning, stating that the ongoing challenges in the world diamond market made it doubtful that this goal would be met.

Diamond sales account for 30–40% of Botswana’s total revenue and 75% of its foreign exchange profits.

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