Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Oliver Stuenkel on Why IBSA and BRICS should not merge

This incisive piece by Mr. Oliver Stuenkel, a Professor of International Relations at the Getulio Vargas Foundation argues for keeping IBSA and BRICS as disparate entities and cautions against any plans for their merger at the behest of China. According to him, IBSA members share a set of fundamental notions about global order, are democracies which are able to freely debate issues related to human rights and civil society – matters than cannot be discussed openly at BRICS Summits and help create an intimate setting undisturbed by at times strained bilateral ties. He cuts through the rising perception of IBSA's nebulous and general nature of activities by stating that IBSA's greatest positive externality lies precisely in its generality which allows think tanks, civil society, academia, public sector technocrats and foreign policy makers to engage and develop joint strategies to common problems. He concludes by opining that BRICS and IBSA can work for synergising their activities, but not towards a merger.

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Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Less Politics, More Economic Development : IPS interview with CEO of African Business Group

Michael Sudarkasa,heads the African Business Group, a South African-based economic development and business consulting advisory services group. He has 20 years of experience in regional and international trade and business analysis, with a focus on private sector development. In a recent interview with the Inter Press Service, he opined that IBSA forum, nine years into existence, has impacted on aid effectiveness in Africa. According to him, "IBSA dialogue forum has also been a catalyst for greater efforts within the South to explore ways that development aid can be mobilised from domestic resources to support developing countries".

For excerpts of his interview, please check out Less Politics, More Development by IPS News.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Role of IBSA amidst weak multilateralism

In his blog post on International anarchy and weak multilateralism, William Manful, a human rights advocate from Africa discusses the declining role of UN as a multilateral body. Among other possible remedies, he proposes IBSA as the joint action that the world needs to bring some innovations to the practice of multilateral diplomacy. He bases his proposition on the economic might of IBSA states which place them in a good position to use finance and resources as leverage in the quest for a revision of multilateralism.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Interview with Celso Amorim, one of the fathers of IBSA forum

Celso Amorim, one of the fathers of the IBSA Forum (India, Brazil, and South Africa) says in this interview that for this alliance of three major emerging powers, “Helping the poorest countries is clearly one of its callings”.

According to him IBSA was created as a guide for policy formulation and South-South cooperation between India, Brazil, and South Africa, three countries with much in common. He opines that commonalities of the IBSA countries are more evident than for the BRICS countries and trade is a good area to demonstrate how cooperation between the IBSA countries can move more quickly than BRICS. He feels that IBSA needs to preserve its personality while dealing in large groups on various global issues like climate change. His concluding remark was that IBSA's role in protecting the interests of the poorest  is what gives it uniqueness and international legitimacy.

Friday, 17 June 2011


With the entry of South Africa into the BRIC club, there have been intense speculations about the fate of IBSA amidst rumors that China wants BRICS to be amalgamated with IBSA dialogue forum. This is essentially moving into a show down between India and China as India wants IBSA to continue and thrive as a forum where India’s strategic space is not shadowed by giant neighbour while China seems to have other plans. India also looks at IBSA as a counterweight to China’s ambitions in Africa. 

However, IBSA’s sustainability will depend on its ability to carve a unique niche for itself in the geo-political strategy, a space that would not be  sidelined byBRICS activities. Analysts suggest that BRICS can focus more on political concerns of the countries while IBSA can play a significant role through viable, relevant projects that build co-operation among the countries and improve the overall quality of life.