An exploration of sustainable development in SADC member states – the role of BRICS (2001 – 2014)

2019-12-13T03:28:10Z (GMT) by Melba Nyabereka
In 2000, the World Bank published a report entitled Can Africa Claim the 21st Century? In this report the argument was made that this was indeed possible and cited the continent’s great economic potential, but only if the challenges of governance, conflict, state building, poverty, inequality and human development were addressed. So far, the 21st Century has witnessed the continent become progressively more engaged and economically active, evidenced by increased trade and investment between the continent and partners across the globe. This has led to, inter alia, a marginal decrease in poverty, however, the continent remains largely underdeveloped with high rates of inequality in most areas. This highlights the need to ensure that this escalated economic integration and engagement is both beneficial and sustainable for African states. In Southern Africa a large contributor to development in the new millennium has been the engagement of the BRICS. This engagement has revealed new avenue paths to development. This has supplemented the traditional western engagement through Bretton Woods’ institutions and effectively fostered new relationships and created access to markets that were not as accessible before. The study investigates the role that BRICS engagement has played in Angola, Mozambique and Zimbabwe through aid, investment and trade; which are the cooperative’s main areas of engagement on the continent. This is done by documenting changes in the respective economies, societies, environments and governance in relation to cooperation with the BRICS. This investigation found that the individual BRICS states have had differing impacts on sustainable development elements in each of the case studies – with both positive and negative results. However, as a whole the cooperative offers promising and solid options for the development of Angola, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. It is evident though that better management of these partnerships is required on the part of the case study states to ensure that these engagements are beneficial in both the short and long term. The investigation also found that good governance is an arguably crucial element of sustainable development in the case study states. This is supported by the fact that the political aspect of BRICS engagement has encouraged the maintenance of the status quo in Angola and Zimbabwe, and the weakness in governance of all three case studies – clearly illustrated by their stunted development.