South Africa picks up the baton of BRICS Chairmanship

Internal political difficulties in BRICS countries

According to Vyacheslav Kholodkov, Head of the International Economic Organizations Sector at the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies (RISS), the meeting of the BRICS leaders will not be easy due to the current internal political difficulties in the association’s member-states.

“Since South Africa will hold the BRICS chairmanship in 2018, the summit will be held in that African country. The summit will be not an easy one from a domestic policy point of view,” Kholodkov told TASS, referring to the upcoming 2018 presidential elections in Russia and Brazil as the factors that could make the meeting more difficult. In his view, the situation in Brazil will be the most difficult. “The situation there is very tense due to the fact that there are many flaws in the policy pursued by incumbent head of state Michel Temer, and he is under fire for that. Therefore, the (presidential) election can trigger an internal political standoff and exacerbate the situation in the country, which could turn ugly.”

The expert also pointed to the loss of influence by South African leader Jacob Zuma. “The situation of South African President Jacob Zuma has also been volatile recently. The African National Congress (the oldest political organization of South Africa’s African population and the ruling party – TASS) raised the issue of his voluntary resignation over a number of scandals, due to which a change in that country’s political leadership is possible.”

“In such a difficult internal political situation in South Africa, Brazil and, to some extent, in Russia, the summit and preparations for it will be much more complicated,” Kholodkov emphasized. “These countries’ top officials will have to pay much more attention to work to tackle internal issues, which means that less time and energy will be dedicated to preparations for the landmark summit. Therefore, I expect no breakthrough decisions at this summit.”

BRICS economics