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Journalists have high hopes amid key summit

By Edith Mutethya in Johannesburg, South Africa | China Daily Global | Updated: 2023-08-23 18:57

Journalists work at the media center at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Tuesday during the BRICS Business Forum, which followed a Leaders Dialogue in the afternoon. [Photo by Xie Songxin / China Daily]

As leaders of the five emerging major economies – Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa – converged on the Sandton Convention Center in the South African city of Johannesburg for the 15th session of the BRICS summit, international journalists also flocked the center, with high expectations for the event.

Among key interests were the planned expansion of BRICS membership, and what BRICS has in store for Africa, since the three-day summit is taking place on the continent.

According to Cyril Ramaphosa, the president of South Africa, more than 30 heads of state and government from across Africa will be attending the summit.

He added that more than 20 countries from across the globe have formally applied to join BRICS, and several others have expressed an interest in becoming part of the BRICS family.

Onengiyeofori Fyneface, a journalist from Nigeria, said African countries have long expressed discontent in terms of their relationship with the West and are looking for an alternative.

He said many African countries see BRICS as an alternative because, in addition to being an economic bloc, it has a lot of geopolitical sentiments attached to it.

"The developing world wants relationships that are mutually beneficial and respectful, where Africa is not seen as just a market place for dumping products and services but where people can come in and exchange goods and services in a respectful manner. BRICS offers that platform," he said.

Azharuzzaman Mohammad, from Bangladesh, expects the BRICS leaders to pledge commitments during the summit to uplift the lives of people who are less privileged, in developing countries across the globe.

Mohammad hopes BRICS will announce new members into the grouping, a development that would benefit both new and existing members in terms of socio-economic development.

Maseko Mothado, from South Africa, hopes the summit will come up with refreshing resolutions, as well as advance economic and financial partnerships among members.

"I'm excited to see how the global politics are going to be impacted by the summit," she said.

Mothado said the intention of African heads of state to attend the summit shows the unity on the continent, especially in terms of the vision to make the continent better.

She said South Africa has greatly benefited from being a member of BRICS, including in accessing COVID-19 vaccine donations that helped save lives. And South African students have also benefitted from an opportunity to study in China and Russia.

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