The role of the BRIC in Africa's development: drivers and strategies
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National interest still trumps friendship in international relations. The notions of solidarity that were popular among developing countries in the 1950s and the 1960s have no resonance in 21st century diplomacy, which is largely driven by commercial considerations. Many developing countries still view the advent of rising powers – some of whom were part of the Third World movement that arrayed itself to counter imperialism – as offering promise for development progress. Taking an analytic assessment of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries’ role in Africa’s development, this article argues that such hopes are misguided. BRIC countries are not primarily driven by Africa’s development concerns, but are seeking to fulfil their own commercial interests, as well as use Africa as an avenue for shoring up their international legitimacy and credibility. The article arrives at this conclusion by examining how each of the BRIC countries implements its commercial and diplomatic strategies on the African continent. South Africa is excluded from this analysis as the focus of the article is on how the non-African members of the BRICS formation pursue their diplomatic and commercial strategies on the African continent.