Journal of International and Global Studies


This paper investigates South Africa’s participation in the BRICS formation and the implications of its inclusion for the country, the continent, and global governance. It argues that by joining the BRICS grouping, South Africa is reinforcing neoliberalism in Africa, with markets being liberalized across the continent, trade and investment becoming the focus, and social and environmental protection remaining a distant concern. Meanwhile, other countries, particularly China and Russia, are instrumentalizing the forum to get what they want out of African countries without formalizing the grouping’s policies and effecting change to global institutions at the global level, as was initially promised. The paper applies the concept of soft balancing strategy to demonstrate that the BRICS grouping is an economic cooperation forum, not a political cooperation forum, which explains the aforementioned consequences.

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.