G7 versus BRICS

G7 versus BRICS


G7 versus BRICSWe will ask a big question about the future of two groups in the world; If we travel through time to the year 2046, or two decades later. Which will be larger and more important economically: the BRICS, or the Greater Seven (G-7)?

Economic forecasts say, according to International Monetary Fund figures, that India’s expected annual growth rate for the current year 2024 will reach 6.3%, while China will grow at a rate of 4.6%. If growth numbers remain the same for two decades, the ten BRICS countries will outperform… The Greater Group of Seven (G-6), consisting of the United States, Japan, Germany, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, and Italy, whose annual output of $40 trillion, according to statistics by the end of the year 2023, exceeds the production of the BRICS group consisting of China, India, Russia, and Brazil. South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, the Emirates, and Ethiopia, with about $15 trillion. But the difference in the annual growth rate in favor of the BRICS will enable it to excel within two decades, or in the year 2046.

But the question that immediately poses itself to us as we proceed with this analysis: How do we know that these two groups will continue as they are now in terms of conditions, membership, and economic growth?

The next twenty years will face many unexpected fluctuations that may change the distribution of wealth and incomes in a way that changes growth rates, exports, prices of goods and services, and the possibilities of war and peace, natural disasters, and technological surprises, which makes all the constants on which growth hypotheses are built susceptible to transformation or change in ways that have an impact. According to the news I heard directly from veteran British journalist David Hirst, Brazil, for example, was opposed at the sixteenth BRICS summit meeting held in South Africa to the idea of ​​accelerating the expansion of the group so as not to leave room for opponents to They exploit differences in positions to weaken the BRICS. Four Islamic countries, some of whom have disagreements, have joined the BRICS, some of which are known for their mandate over the major G7 countries. We have seen that after Europe expanded its membership after the fall of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, it became more stringent in accepting new members, or granting some new members the right to enter into joint arrangements such as the Schengen Agreement in the Euro Agreement. But since the Ukraine war, some have begun calling for more countries to join the union.

The difference between the G-7, on the one hand, and the BRICS, on the other hand, is that the Group of Seven is stable and does not change. Its members are fixed and they meet whenever necessary in order to coordinate their positions. As for the BRICS group, it seeks to be more than just an association, but rather an organization with its own activities, agreements, and tools, such as payment arrangements between them, arrangements for settlements resulting from swaps, the Asian Development Bank, and soon the establishment of an institution similar to the International Monetary Fund. It has two major development projects: the Belt and Road Initiative and the Indian Corridor. Because of these circumstances, the potential for disagreement and contradiction, especially among its senior members, is more likely, so it is more vulnerable to changes in its membership and structure than the G7.

However, despite these possibilities, let us acknowledge that these two groups, even if some of their structures and membership map change, will continue to represent major hotbeds of conflict and competition in the world. These countries, even if their global ranking in terms of power changes, will remain within the group of ten major countries, which are the United States, China, India, Russia, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Canada, and Brazil. The United States, Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, and France are likely to remain on one side, and China and Russia on the other side. As for India and Brazil, both are likely to choose a more neutral role.

The question that is worth asking is: Where does the Arab world stand in relation to the possibilities that global polarity will revolve in the future within the spheres that we have geographically drawn in the previous paragraph?

There are three Arab countries that are members of the BRICS group, as a reminder: Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, and Egypt. The gross domestic product of these three countries amounts to about $500 billion for Egypt, $1.25 trillion for Saudi Arabia, and $600 billion for the UAE, or a total at the end of 2023 of about $2.350 trillion, or two-thirds of Russia’s GDP, which is actually a large value. If we add Iran, a fourth Eastern Mediterranean country, this number will jump to more than $2.7 trillion.

But the importance of these four countries, regardless of the existing differences between the three Arab countries and Iran, is that they are all located on the Arabian Sea, the Gulf, the Red Sea, the Strait of Hormuz, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Suez Canal. Any closure of navigation in these straits and waterways will increase the geopolitical value of these countries. If the news and analyzes confirming that Saudi Arabia was not willing to be a member of BRICS, and that it entered to prevent Algeria from becoming a member for the benefit of the State of Morocco, are true, then the chances are that the Arab countries and Iran that are members of BRICS will become an Achilles’ heel in this organization. This is a future risk that the countries of the Middle East will become a source of concern for China, India and Russia, noting that the relations between Saudi Arabia and the Emirates are complex with China, Russia and India in particular. On the one hand, the Emirates and Saudi Arabia are considered allies of the West, and they are members of the G20.

These two countries were enthusiastic about the initiative presented by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed to the G20 Summit, as President Joe Biden said in New Delhi in 2022, which is the Corridor or Indian Corridor project, which may either become a competitor to the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative, or be in harmony with it and the two projects become complementary to each other. Until this moment, it does not seem that either direction will prevail over the other.

But the complexity in relationships goes deeper than that. The oil trade, which increased and its prices rose thanks to Russia’s contribution to the OPEC group within the (OPEC+) alliance, makes the continued Russian participation necessary to confront Western pressures to reduce prices. In contrast, China and India are the major buyers of Saudi and Emirati oil, which made China the largest trading partner for the Arab world at $398 billion in 2023, while Arab trade with India reached $162 billion in the same year. If we add to that the remittances from Indians working in the Gulf countries, amounting to about 40-50 billion dollars annually. Accordingly, the total Arab trade in general and Gulf trade in particular with China and India constitutes about $250 billion annually. Therefore, it is very difficult for a country like Saudi Arabia to clearly side with the West at the expense of its partners in the East, as this would greatly distort the future of its modernization and development programs.

BRICS at the conclusion of its meetings in Johannesburg yesterday (Getty)
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What makes relations more complicated is the major fundamental dispute between Egypt and Ethiopia, the new fifth member of the BRICS group. Ethiopia has important roles in Africa, and the African Union stands with Ethiopia in sympathy in its dispute with Egypt over the Renaissance Dam. The Sudan located between them is witnessing a fierce war, which makes implementing any understanding to share the Nile waters and control the possibility of its flooding very difficult. On the other hand, Ethiopia is now without a view of the Red Sea – after the independence of Eritrea – except through its dependence on Djibouti, so China built an 800 km railway from Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, to Djibouti.

In the face of this complexity, the issue of Gaza and Israel’s brutal, aggressive war against it now arises. It is clear that the scale of destruction, killing, intimidation, and the pursuit of displacement practiced by the aggressive Israeli forces, America’s cover-up of it, and the biased and unintelligent statements of American officials, does not only reflect the amount of cover-up against Israel that is exposed globally, but also reflects the importance of breaking the dignity of the resistance, regardless of what it plans in this region. . Therefore, the big question arises: Where is the Arab awareness and action that amounts to the amount of aggression against them by some Arab countries and their spearhead in the region? Because the Arabs now have an opportunity to change the balance in the world in order to improve their negotiating position with the entire world, and to agree with each other on a negotiation strategy and methodology that improves their relative position and enables them to invest in the available opportunities, some of which are available in the form of challenges, in order to secure a decent life for their people.

Israel revealed that it knows the amount of wealth expected in our Arab money, and wants to be in a position that enables it to be a godfather. Gaza and its heroic people have revealed that this role is much greater than them. Will the Arabs assume the role required of them, or will we remain silent until a day comes when the Arabs bite their fingers in regret?