“As the five heads of states of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) meet on African soil in Durban next week for the developing nations’ summit, civil society will be holding its own summit of a very different nature,” said Groundwork in a statement.
One example of the projects underway by the BRICS countries is the construction of an undersea cable connecting them through fibre-optic. The completion date is aimed for the second half of 2014.
According to Groundwork: “BRICS governments often use radical rhetoric alluding to anti-imperialism, and in this year’s summit, they will undoubtedly impress upon the rest of Africa that their corporations offer better investments in infrastructure, mining, energy, and agriculture than traditional northern multinationals.”
Groundwork’s reasons for the counter summit includes: “The prospect that South Africa ‘presents a gateway for investment on the continent’ could leave Africa overwhelmed by BRICS corporations and is indicative that the trajectory of the 21st century ‘scramble for Africa’ has already begun.”
Furthermore Groundwork said: “Africa’s ‘resource curse’ will attract billions of dollars worth of BRICS infrastructure developments. In this light, the BRICS Summit in Durban is set to be the next successor to the initial carving up of Africa, which took place in 1885 in Berlin [Germany].”
Essentially Groundwork believes the BRICS countries might strip Africa of its resources. In line with this the environmental advocacy groups are requesting the BRICS countries to invest in Africa rather than extract resources out of its countries.
“All we have now is extraction of wealth outside Africa by these BRICS countries,” Bobby Peak, director of Groundwork told SABC News. Peak said further the wealth accumulated by the BRICS project will not end up with the the BRICS countries, instead it will go to the United States of America (USA).
The BRICS-from-Below counter summit will be hosted by Groundwork (Friends of the Earth South Africa), the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) and the University of KwaZulu Natal Centre for Civil Society (UKZN CCS).
The fifth BRICS summit is set to take place in Durban, South Africa, at the Durban International Convention Centre from March 26 to 27. The BRICS-from-Below counter summit will take place at the same time at different venues around Durban.
The first BRIC summit was held in Yekaterinburg, Russia. South Africa joined BRIC in 2010, which resulted in BRICS, and the formulation of the undersea cable plan.