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'Reasonable' & 'Advisable': Zimbabwean Economist on Why Country Can Benefit From Joining BRICS Bank

CC BY-SA 4.0 / Bb3015 / New Development Bank's logo in the HQ of the bank in Shanghai.
New Development Bank's logo in the HQ of the bank in Shanghai. - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 30.03.2024
The BRICS Bank provides funding for initiatives and develops customized solutions to support the creation of a "more inclusive, resilient, and sustainable future" for the world, according to the organization. As Zimbabwe is eyeing membership in the bank, Sputnik Africa decided to ask an expert how the country can benefit from it.
BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) offers to Zimbabwe, which is sanctioned by the West and has limited access to international capital, an opportunity to address these issues and work with friendly countries, Persistence Gwanyanya, an economist from Zimbabwe and a member of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Monetary Policy Committee, told Sputnik Africa.

"We have been funding our growth, our infrastructure mainly on our own, on domestic resources because of this limited access to international capital. [...] And it is only reasonable and advisable for the country to lean towards joining or being part of the BRICS Development Bank, so [that] we are able to renew our aspiration of accessing international capital, and we are able to even work with those that are more friendly to us than the West," he said.

Moreover, the NDB is attractive for new members since it's "the center of economic power" that is shifting from the Western countries to the East.

"It is definitely an attractive institution because [...] it reflects the center of economic power. The countries that are making up the BRICS Development Bank are actually growing in terms of economic influence and power. The shift of economic influence and power from the West and even including from the US to the East is supportive of an institution that is going to be central and very attractive to the rest of the world," Gwanyanya argued.

The guest also shared his aspirations to make Zimbabwe an industrialization-driven economy, for which finance is "key."

"Finance is key to unlocking the growth potential of a resource-based country such as ours. What Zimbabwe seeks today is to climb the value chain to transform the economy from a resource-based economy through widening the manufacturing base and the manufacturing sector, into an industrialization-driven economy, which is what all these countries have gone through. So we have got a lot of catch-up to do and we need friendly countries to deal with," the economist said.

The speaker further recalled that his country remains indebted to some international financial institutions and therefore cannot receive budgetary support and balance-of-payments support from these organizations, unlike other countries on the continent with a similar economic situation. Nevertheless, the nation was still able to achieve progress.

"Imagine, with this limited support, the progress that we have made over the few years and what will become of us if we are now able to get some form of support from friendly institutions!" he added.

Gwanyanya believed that it is "quite possible" that Zimbabwe will receive this support because the country has real, physical infrastructure and assets that it can use to access international capital.
He continued, saying that the NDB looks at Zimbabwe's economic situation "in its unique way," taking into account its resource-based nature.
"You need someone who understands the unique circumstances and the opportunities that you carry and be able to search for something more meaningful and more beneficial to you as a country. And this is what we expect to get from the BRICS Development Bank," Gwanyanya told Sputnik Africa.
Furthermore, discussing President Emerson Mnangagwa's statement from last year regarding Zimbabwe’s willingness to join BRICS, the expert pointed out that his country, being "naturally gifted," needs to turn to the bloc's members as they present new opportunities and big markets for the African country, unlike the West, which is battling its own challenges and doesn't represent a "huge share of the global economy as it used to do."
"Obviously, you also want to put more effort on those that have shown the positive attitude towards yourself. And you also want to increase your working together with those countries and increase not only the access to finance, but even trade. [...] There's been a need to position ourselves strategically and closer to those that seem to have the potential to benefit us as a country, to those that seem to have the potential for mutual benefit between and among ourselves," Gwanyanya pondered.
Lastly, the economist discussed with Sputnik Africa the negative effect of the Western countries that "undeniably" affected Zimbabwe and without a complete uplifting of the coercive measures "they remain a thorn in the flesh for Zimbabwe."
"And the countries continued to lobby, and even our peers in Africa have also condemned these sanctions as harming the ordinary person in the country and contributing to the economic malaise that the country is facing. In whatever form and whatever degree of sanctions, they are condemned in Zimbabwe," he concluded.