Information Bulletin of the BRICS Trade Union Forum
Issue 14.2022
2022.04.04 — 2022.04.10
International relations
Foreign policy in the context of BRICS
BRICS and the creation of a multipolar world (БРИКС и создание многополярного мира) / India, April, 2022
Keywords: expert_opinion, political_issues

As the horrific Russian war against Ukraine proceeds without any clear end in sight, the world community yearns for a return to peace. A plausible theory to stop the bloodshed is to bring severe enough pressure on the Kremlin to force a halt to the onslaught. After all, even Russian military experts recognize that the military campaign, at least as originally conceived, relied on certain false assumptions.1 The flood of outrage in the West has prompted many analysts to conclude that China could hold the key to the whole debacle. According to this logic, Moscow is so isolated and sufficiently weakened that it could not defy Beijing, if the Chinese leadership exercised its leverage to try and halt the Kremlin's war.

Unfortunately, those hoping to persuade China to take significant moves to isolate or counter Russia are likely to be disappointed, as they underestimate the breadth and depth of the China-Russia quasi-alliance that has developed steadily over the last three decades. Beijing will certainly try to avoid a major diplomatic and economic backlash, distancing itself in most respects from the Russian invasion. Nevertheless, such costs are understood to be part of the overall alignment that is broadly held to be fundamental to China's foreign policy, and most critically to its national security. Some near-term improvement in US-China relations resulting from the current crisis and such "triangular dynamics" cannot be ruled out. To be sure, such an improvement in US-China relations would be most welcome. But a full-scale realignment of the world order resulting from a rupture in Russia-China relations remains extremely unlikely. The analysis below will focus on the security dimension of the current crisis and its impact on China-Russia relations, including certain ramifications for the critical Taiwan issue and security across the Asia-Pacific region.

In a piece in early March, think-tank analyst Yun Sun of the Stimson Center applied the common logic in Western capitals of assuming that the China-Russia relationship is brittle and might be broken in the present crisis.2 She contends that "the Ukraine crisis illustrates a difficult reality: In response to increasing strategic competition with the United States, China is turning to Russia for support, despite misalignment between Beijing and Moscow's national interests, as well as Russia's history as a destructive and exploitative neighbor." She concludes: "There is no better example of a 'marriage of convenience' than this, and China will pay dearly for this choice." She makes many substantive points to support her case that the China-Russia alignment is not stable and may form a "delicate equilibrium" that will be "disrupted by any structural change." For instance, she notes that China's trade relationship with Vietnam is larger than that with Russia. Sun's premise seems to rely heavily on a rational or even a pure economic weighing of the costs and benefits for Beijing. And she also contends that this alignment is partly the result of what she calls Xi Jinping's "Russia complex," or Russia affinity, but that "some Chinese experts" are opposed to continuing the close Russia-China relationship. Leading American thinkers are seemingly in agreement with Sun. Paul Krugman, writing in The New York Times in early March, suggested that China cannot save Russia in its current predicament, because among many other reasons, Russia will not agree to become a "Chinese client state," and the two states are "very far apart geographically."3

Some of this reasoning could be flawed. For instance, Russia might have to swallow "junior partner" status since it lacks other options, and Moscow might see a more dynamic relationship with China as an opportunity to "pivot to the East" fully and develop Siberia much more intensively — an old Russian dream that goes back centuries. Likewise, Sun might concede that Xi's apparent Russia affinity may matter a lot, since his imprint on Chinese foreign and defense policy, and Chinese politics more generally, knows no boundaries.

Continuing Relations

Rather than waiting for some chimerical rupture in China-Russia relations then, it might be better to see the continuing dynamic development of China-Russia relations as part of a larger context. I happened to be in Beijing in 2017 and got to witness a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution in the Central Party Museum — seemingly more fervent than anything in Moscow or St. Petersburg. Yes, intimate Russia-China ties go back a very long way. Gilbert Rozman notes that these linkages have deep historical and cultural resonance that goes beyond simple calculations of national interest. He writes: "there now exists strong correspondence in regime interests, which can be traced to fundamental similarities in the reconstruction of national identity in the two countries." He continues: "The essence of the overlap is the existence of regimes fearful of values associated with the international community and beholden to the legacy of traditional communism, having the goal of changing the rules of the global system. They proceed to define 'core national interests' in similar ways ..."4

China's reaction to Russia's invasion, therefore, is not surprising. In many respects, this behavior tracks closely a pattern from previous crises, whether the 2014-15 Crimea annexation and subsequent Donbas War or Russian intervention in Syria in 2015. During that time, Beijing made strenuous and very public efforts to support Moscow, from Xi's attendance at the Victory Parade in 2015 to the Chinese fleet's first foray into the Black Sea during that same year. More critical than these diplomatic and military demonstrations of support, however, was the 30-year gas deal for US$400 billion inked in May 2014 that helped stabilize Russia's economy in the wake of the initial round of major economic sanctions. Those actions seem to have been a "practice run" for the disorienting and tragic events unleashed by the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Indeed, Beijing's hostility to US pressure was amply evident in a Chinese editorial that followed the meeting between Yang Jiechi and Jake Sullivan on March 14: "The knot tied by the United States itself should not and cannot be completely untied by China. Moreover, China and the United States must first clarify their own relations before they can better co-ordinate their positions on third-party issues."5

On the military-security side, relations between China and Russia are thoroughly institutionalized and should not be underestimated, even if it is not formally an "alliance." In late 2021, they organized an unprecedented and rather brazen joint naval exercise through the Tsugaru Strait of Japan, demonstrating a high-level deployment of naval might for diplomatic purposes. At about the same time, the Russian and Chinese bomber forces conducted a second joint strategic air patrol over the Sea of Japan that reached down into the East China Sea as well. Such high-level exercises involving elite forces have become quite routine as the bilateral security relationship has expanded beyond simpler counter-terrorism exercises to encompass more complex subjects like heli-borne assault and anti-submarine warfare. The Eurasian giants are also conducting joint projects on sensitive subjects like early warning and cyber warfare. Since elite Chinese military officers study in Russian academies, it is hardly surprising that China's military media have been providing highly sympathetic reports on the Russian war in Ukraine.

Beijing's Choice

At this point in the crisis, US intelligence suggests that Moscow has requested military assistance from Beijing, including "surface-to-air missiles, drones, armored vehicles, logistics vehicles, and intelligence-related equipment."6 Whether that comes to pass or not is far from clear at this point, and preliminary signals suggest that China may decline to send lethal aid.7 Nevertheless, it is not difficult to imagine why China might actually comply with such a request. Aside from executing faithfully on a partnership that has been painstakingly built up over decades, Chinese military leaders could also want to test their equipment in battle and to gain greater access to the battlefield and related information to improve Chinese "after action" assessments, as well as to simply gain market share in Russia, where there is significant potential to sell arms in the future. There is an even more obvious explanation for possible Chinese agreement to send military aid to Russia: "An editor at Xinhua News Agency later posted on Weibo that China needs to emotionally and morally support Russia now since 'China will also need Russia's understanding and support when wrestling with America to solve the Taiwan issue once and for all.' "8

Indeed, there has been ample speculation regarding the impact of Russia's military campaign against Ukraine for a possible Chinese move against Taiwan. The conventional wisdom is likely correct that Ukraine has demonstrated that motivated soldiers protecting their own homes can be highly effective, even when deploying relatively simple infantry weapons. It would make sense if Chinese military planners are now rethinking what may have been over-optimistic assumptions concerning a prospective invasion of Taiwan. Yet it is also important to consider that Taiwan is much smaller than Ukraine geographically, while China's military budget is also considerably larger than Russia's. Moreover, if China attempts an invasion of Taiwan, its forces would be willing to pay enormous human and material costs. Thus, a wise lesson to take from the tragic Russian war in Ukraine might be that world leaders in all relevant capitals need to try even harder to reach compromises to beat back the "dogs of war."9

This article has focused primarily on security considerations, because they are primary drivers in the China-Russia relationship, but diplomatic and economic variables must also be analyzed closely. Chinese leaders will no doubt have noticed that many states, including even Israel, India and Brazil, have refused to condemn Russia or go along with stringent sanctions. In recent years, diplomatic co-operation between China and Russia has been evident on Iran, North Korea, and even in South Africa. The Russia-Ukraine War is not likely to alter the overall dynamic of China and Russia co-operation to develop a more multi-polar world. Likewise on the economic front, China will likely increase its trade and investment in Russia. The new war does not change the fundamental reality that the massive Chinese economy needs immense quantities of natural resources, and many of these lie just next door in Russia. With every round of Western sanctions against Russia, Beijing has increased its influence and access to Russian resources and this process is set to accelerate under the new conditions, even if some Chinese companies will pay a price in Western markets. As to whether Moscow will accept "junior status" in the relationship, it simply has no choice now. De-dollarization may be another major economic result of a consolidated Russia-China quasi-alliance.


A reasonable question concerns how and whether China might be able to serve as a mediator in the Russia-Ukraine War. The question is not superfluous for the simple reason that China, and only China, is perhaps the single country on earth that is not only trusted by Russia, but would also have some leverage over Moscow to gently nudge it in a peace-making direction. China's robust diplomatic and economic resources could also make it a useful mediator. Still, there would be significant risks for Beijing in taking up such a role, including the possibility of high-profile failure and also complicating its relationship with Moscow. So, it might be unlikely, but China acting in a group of concerned powers, perhaps together either with India or Israel, could play a positive role. China's prowess in UN peacekeeping is beyond dispute, and this could be enormously helpful.

The Russia-Ukraine War has shaken the world and presents a major test for the China-Russia relationship. Most signs, however, point to continuity. Russia has no choice but to align ever more closely with China. For Beijing, which was branded by NATO as a threat recently and has been grappling with an intensifying military rivalry with Washington for at least two decades, maintaining the close relationship with Russia is a relatively obvious choice. Clearly, many Chinese have misgivings about this course.10 But Xi's commitment to the relationship with Russia has deep roots and he will be buttressed by the pro-Moscow Chinese security establishment. Even as they seek to aid beleaguered Ukraine and punish Putin, the US and its allies would be wise to reflect on how the security architecture of Europe has dramatically failed to avert bloody conflict in the present circumstances. With a more complete and less emotional assessment of that failure, they may seek to act more cautiously and to proactively build a more inclusive security architecture for the Asia-Pacific.

BRICS Countries, Between Their Interests and Their Position Towards Russia (Страны БРИКС между интересами и позицией в отношении России) / France, April, 2022
Keywords: expert_opinion, political_issues

No news about the BRICS countries has been heard for a long time. But after the Ukraine conflict, the club of emerging countries will have to decide where they stand on Russia.

Around three billion people live in the so-called BRICS countries, a huge economic area with equally huge political power. The association of emerging economies includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Following the Russian invasion, the remaining four countries assume special importance in the global reorganization of economic dependencies and political associations. They are suppliers of raw materials and trading partners, and can exert a decisive influence in the conflict with their political position.

For example, the alliance would have the possibility to support Russia with loans. "At the moment, the position of the BRICS is reserved, and there is still no effective political coordination to react to the sanctions of the United States and its closest partners in Europe," says Roberto Goulart, from the University of Brasilia, in an interview. with D.W.

Due to sanctions, according to Goulart, states are reluctant to lend to Russia through the BRICS development bank. The NDB (New Development Bank) raises money on the international market at lower rates, he recalls: "The BRICS are shying away from taking political positions in this scenario of great uncertainty."

Ignacio Bartesaghi, director of the International Trade Institute of the Catholic University of Uruguay, has a similar opinion, and considers that the other four BRICS countries are still in the reflection phase. "They have not yet defined a clear strategy. What is certain is that we are facing new alliances, coalitions and geostrategic associations," Bartesaghi explains to DW.

Larry Fink, director of Blackrock, the world's largest asset manager, believes that Russia's long-term disengagement from the world economy will cause serious disruption to economic relations between the BRICS. States would rethink what dependencies would exist and how they could be reduced. That could lead to some countries pulling out faster, Fink wrote in a letter to shareholders, quoted by the German daily. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FACE).

Production centers in Mexico, Brazil, the United States or Southeast Asia could benefit from it. Brasilia, meanwhile, is already going on the offensive. The Brazilian Minister of Mines and Energy, Bento Albuquerque, has announced plans to increase oil production by up to ten percent by the end of this year. This is Brazil's contribution to the "stabilization of world energy markets," Albuquerque assured.

South Africa is also facing a historic decision. In view of rising gas prices and the emerging need for new economic projects, the African country urgently wants to secure its supplies and, according to the Amabhungane research network, is about to decide with whom to close a million-dollar natural gas deal. liquefied (LNG).

In the race are Azerbaijan's state oil company, SOCAR, and Gazprombank, owned by Russian state-owned natural gas provider Gazprom. Both companies are considering the offers. Shell, for its part, has confirmed that it will not submit a bid. So South Africa has to decide whether or not to do business with Gazprom despite the global geopolitical situation and the country's position on Ukraine.

But the weight of China and India is much greater than that of Brazil and South Africa. Just a few days ago, the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, received the ambassadors of the BRICS countries. The meeting's message to Europe and the United States, according to the Russian reading, was: "Moscow is not alone."

Paris Beacon News

The views in the article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of InfoBRICS.

Investment and Finance
Investment and finance in BRICS
Fossil Energy Demand and Economic Development in BRICS Countries / Wang H, Asif Amjad M, Arshed N, Mohamed A, Ali S, Haider Jafri MA and Khan YA (Спрос на ископаемые энергоносители и экономическое развитие в странах БРИКС / Ван Х., Асиф Амджад М., Аршед Н., Мохамед А., Али С., Хайдер Джафри М.А. и Хан Ю.А.) / China, April, 2022
Keywords: research, economic_challenges

Energy is considered the oxygen of an economy fueling all economic activities. Energy utilization and its type have an intertemporal and size-based effect on economic development. Therefore, this study empirically analyzes the relationship of fossil energy consumption with economic development in the case of BRICS countries between 1990 and 2019. Fully modified ordinary least squares is used with the quadratic function of coal, oil, and gas consumption to assess the size-based effect across time. This study shows that coal and natural gas consumption follows the inverted U-shaped relationship with HDI, while coal consumption shows a negative relationship with HDI. Hence, coal and gas energy assists in development when its share is small, while over-consumption hampers development. The BRICS countries should optimize coal and gas consumption with respect to economic development. Reducing fossil energy should be substituted with alternative clean energy resources by using advanced technology such as the gasification process.


No one ignores the importance of energy consumption in this modern world because most economic activities depend upon energy consumption. Energy is considered the oxygen of an economy because, without energy, a country fails to run factories, houses, and all kinds of transportation in both developed and developing economies. All economic activities help produce goods and services, with an end goal of improvement in the living standard of humans (Kalim et al., 2021). So, energy consumption is an important indicator of economic development (Esen and Bayrak, 2017). By industrialization, production methods changed in the late 18th century, and it significantly increased the energy demand. Energy is the input that determines output production and is highly important for economic growth (Lee and Chang, 2008). Solow (1956) measured the economic growth by two basic inputs, labor and capital; later on, many economists added new inputs like human capital (Mankiw et al., 1992). There are numerous literature studies available in which economists added energy as an input along with labor and capital; previously, it was included in the land input (Kraft and Kraft 1978; Akarca and Long, 1980; Ramcharran, 1990; Tang and La, 1993; Asafu-Adjaye, 2000; Mehrara, 2007; Ahmad et al., 2016; Awodumi and Adewuyi, 2020; Kirikkaleli et al., 2021). Currently, fossil energy consumption is predominantly represented in overall energy consumption, especially in BRICS countries.

The present study is a multidimensional investigation of the effect of coal, oil, and gas consumption on economic development in the BRICS countries. Here, the link is developed using the energy Kuznets curve to explore the variation in the effects because of the size of energy consumption. BRICS countries are the most developed countries among the emerging economies, namely, India, Russia, China, South Africa, and Brazil. These countries' economic growth is increasing rapidly, causing the energy demand to increase. Several studies in BRICS countries have examined how fossil fuel energy consumption is the key determined by economic growth (Chang et al., 2017; Sasana and Ghozali, 2017; Wang et al., 2022). However, according to the researcher's knowledge, there is a dearth of studies that examined the effect of coal, oil, and gas consumption on economic development and whether there is any room to optimize energy consumption.

Economic development is the border than economic growth. UNDP defined "Development as a multidimensional phenomenon to achieve a higher standard of living of all people in the society. Social development, economic development and environmental protection are closely interlinked and mutually strengthen sustainable growth. Sustainable economic growth is compulsory for the social and economic development of all the country." To measure economic development, in 1990, renowned Pakistani economist Dr. Mahbub ul Haq, Special Adviser of UNDP, provided a new idea of economic development with the Human Development Index (HDI). This index analyzes people and their capabilities that assess the economic development of the country. HDI not only includes economic growth, but it also includes basic knowledge and standard of living. HDI is the geometric mean of three dimensions, namely, education, health, and economic growth. Figure 1 shows the flowchart of HDI.

Energy consumption affects the economic development of any country (Zahid et al., 2021). To fulfil the need for energy, usually, we get energy from two sources, renewable and non-renewable. Renewable energy sources are considered environmentally friendly, while on the other hand, non-renewable energy consists of fossil fuels that pollute the environment. But unfortunately, non-renewable fossil fuels are the big source of energy consumption in the BRICS (Ummalla and Goyari, 2020). In these countries, fossil fuel energy consumption increases economic growth, while renewable energy consumption has very little share in total energy consumption, so renewable energy consumption negatively impacts economic growth as it requires an initial investment in developing the infrastructure (Sasana and Ghozali, 2017; Zahid et al., 2021).

BRICS countries have a high proportion of coal, oil, and gas consumption because of high public demand. According to an ENERDATA report (2020), the BRICS countries' total coal consumption was reported to be 5,217 metric tons in 2019 compared to 1761 metric tons in 1990. Oil consumption was 1,138 metric tons in 2019 as compared to 641 metric tons in 1990, a growth of about 77.5%. Gas consumption was reported at 910 billion cubic meters in 2019 as compared to 506 billion cubic meters in 1990. Massive burning of fossil fuels has led to increased heat and greenhouse gases (EPA, 2021). These greenhouse gases badly impact the environment, having a very hazardous effect on the life of living things.

For the coal consumption of BRICS countries, China is the biggest coal consumer country that consumes 3,826 metric tons of coal, which is more than half of the total coal consumption of 5,217 metric tons. China is also the biggest country among the BRICS countries, which uses the highest oil consumption ratio. From the total oil consumption, 1,138 metric tons, China consumed 617 metric tons. This is more than half of the total oil consumption of BRICS. India comes in second, having used 224 metric tons of oil in 2019. In BRICS countries, China and India are considered the highest oil and coal consumers.

For the natural gas consumption in BRICS countries, Russia is the biggest natural gas-consuming country. It consumes 501 billion cubic meters, which is more than half of the total gas consumption of the remaining BRICS countries. In second place, China uses 304 billion cubic meters of natural gas.

According to the BRICS energy report (2020), fossil fuel energy consumption will remain dominant until the end of 2040. Details of the BRICS energy consumption are labeled in Figure 2 for 2018 and 2040. The above discussion concluded that BRICS countries are the major consumer of oil, coal, and gas but are still enjoying high growth. Studies like the one by Zahid et al. (2021) pointed out that fossil energy may harm the future, but it can provide higher growth today because of its low cost in production and transmission in the short run compared to renewable energy.

Figure 2 shows that in 2018 and 2040, coal will be the dominant portion of the energy consumption of BRICS. In 2018, coal's share was about half of the total energy consumption, which is 49%, while in 2040, it decreases slightly and reaches 36%. Another important source of energy consumption is oil consumption; in 2018, its consumption was 23%, while in 2040, it will be decreased slightly and reach 18%. While gas consumption had a lower share in BRICS energy consumption in 2018, 13%, in 2040, it will increase to 19%. These facts show that coal, gas, and oil are the major energy resources in the BRICS countries, while on the other hand, renewable energy sources have a minor share in total energy consumption.

BRICS countries cover about 43% of the population. These five countries have a special status all over the world. Table 1 shows the coal, gas, and oil energy consumption in BRICS and remaining consumption worldwide in 2018 and 2040.

Table 1 shows that BRICS are the major coal consumption player globally. The coal consumption of BRICS countries was 68% coal in 2018 and will be 72% in 2040, while the remaining world coal consumption was 32% in 2018 and will be 28% in 2040. At the same time, oil consumption in BRICS was 27% in 2018, while it will decrease by only 6% in 2040. In BRICS, natural gas consumption has a lowered share in energy consumption; in 2018, it was 22%, while in 2040, it will increase the natural gas share by 7%.

All the earlier discussion concluded that oil, gas, and coal are energies majorly consumed by the BRICS countries. This high fossil fuel energy consumption causes carbon emissions in these countries. According to EIA (2020), consumption of one Btu (British thermal units) of different coals increases carbon emissions by an average of 216 pounds. One Btu of oil consumption increases carbon emission by 161.3 pounds. In the same way, one Btu of natural gas consumption increases carbon emission by 117 pounds. These facts show that coal and oil consumption causes a lot of carbon emissions, which may have a significant effect on environmental quality (Salem et al., 2021).

Figure 3 shows the top 20 carbon emission countries in the world in 2019. China is the biggest carbon emission country with 28% of carbon emissions of total carbon emissions. The second biggest country is the United States, which consumes 15%, about less than half of China. India is the third largest carbon emission country and emits about 7% carbon. The fourth largest carbon emission country is the Russian Federation, and it emits 5% carbon. It is clear that three of the top four carbon emission countries are members of the BRICS countries. All BRICS countries are included in the top 20 countries.

If such high carbon emissions are documented because of fossil energy, a country may grow positively today, but it will badly affect the natural resource availability. So, sustainable development for a country may not be possible if the natural resources and environment are depleting. Zahid et al. (2021) pointed out that the country may face a tradeoff in shifting from fossil energy to renewable energy because of the cost of developing clean energy infrastructure. So, null hypothesis one is assumed, that is, coal, oil, and gas consumption does not affect economic development, while null hypothesis two is that coal, oil, and gas consumption's positive effect will not diminish with the increase in the proportion of this fossil energy consumption.

This study aimed to examine the incidence-based impact of different subtypes of fossil fuel (coal, oil, and gas) energy consumption on economic development for the case of BRICS countries. The idea is to explore if quadratic optimization of energy can increase development via the reduction of CO2 emissions and assess the historical patterns using the decoupling method.

This study will be instrumental in the following domains:

1) Answering the question of why BRICS countries are still growing if they are high consumers of fossil energy and why developing countries like BRICS show a fast transition to clean energy.

2) Estimating the transition process by increasing the development potential from the existing fossil energy portfolio.

3) Checking if there is a need to revisit the current plan to greenify the development-targeted energy portfolio.

This study comprises the previous literature review in Literature Review, methodology and data in Methods and Material, and results and discussion in Empirical results and Discussions and Policy Recommendations, and conclusion and policy recommendation are enlisted.

Literature Review

The present literature studies the link between subtypes of fossil fuel energy consumption such as coal, oil, and gas consumption and economic development.

Natural Gas Consumption and Development

Natural gas is a subtype of fossil fuel energy. There are few listed studies which show the positive relationship of NGC with economic growth. Hassan et al. (2017) demonstrated the impact of NGC on economic growth in Pakistan from 1977 to 2013. The Johansen maximum likelihood econometric approach concluded that NGC positively affected the economic growth of Pakistan in the long run. Shahbaz et al. (2013) also studied the impact of NGC on the economic growth of Pakistan. The ARDL model was applied and it was concluded that NGC, labor, capital, and export of goods and services positively affected Pakistan's economic growth. Das et al. (2013) examined the impact of NGC on the GDP of Bangladesh during 1980–2010 and showed positive causation between NGC and GDP. In Iran, Balsalobre-Lorente et al. (2019) investigated the positive associations between NGC and output growth during the 1990–2017 data set.

Few studies showed the inverse relationship between NGC and economic growth in the literature on the impact of NGC on economic growth. Fatai et al. (2004) compared energy conservation policies of the New Zealand economy with that of seven Asian economies and Australia. This study failed to examine the causal association between NGC and GDP in the case of New Zealand and Australia compared with other Asian economies by applying the ARDL approach. In Pakistan, Siddiqui (2004) conducted a study and found an inverse relationship between NGC and economic growth. Aqeel and Butt (2001) also evaluated that oil consumption leads to economic growth while NGC leads to an inverse relationship with economic growth. Isik (2010) explored the impact of NGC on GDP in the Turkish economy during 1977–2008. The ARDL bound test approach concluded that NGC negatively impacted the GDP in the long run while positively impacting it in the short run.

The impact of NGC on economic growth relationship panel countries was also carried out. Ucan et al. (2014) studied the 15 EU countries during 1990–2011. The heterogeneous cointegration test proposed that NGC had had a positive association with economic growth. Ozturk and Al-Mulali (2015) conducted the study in Gulf Cooperation Council countries; Destek (2016) conducted a study in 26 OECD countries. In both of these studies, they applied panel cointegration test, panel dynamic, and fully modified OLS approach and concluded that NGC positively affected the economic growth. Zhi-Guo et al. (2018) studied the Northeast Asia countries' (Korea, Japan, and China) NGC and economic growth during 1991–2015. In these counties, NGC affected economic growth positively. Balitskiy et al. (2016) separately proposed two models of the impact of NGC on economic growth and development in 26 EU countries during 1997–2011. The study concluded that NGC positively impacts economic growth while having an inverse relationship with economic development. Alam et al. (2016) investigated the NGS on GDP growth in the panel of 15 natural gas-consuming developing countries. The long run result suggested that among 15 countries, nine countries positively impacted NGC on GDP while only five countries have negatively impacted the NGC and GDP while trade variable positively impacted the GDP. Apergis and Payne (2010a) studied the panel of 67 countries during 1992–2005. The study showed that in the long run, NGC, gross fixed capital formation, and labor force leads to GDP.

Oil Energy Consumption and Development

Oil energy consumption (OIL) impacts sustainable development. Few studies are discussed in this portion. Adekoya (2021) linked the oil consumption with economic growth with natural resources of 10 resource-rich countries and six resource-poor countries from 1990 to 2017. THE panel ARDL model found that in resource-rich countries, oil negatively responds in the long run, while in resource-poor countries, it failed to judge any positive or negative association with economic growth. Waleed et al. (2018) in Pakistan and Rahman et al. (2018) in Bangladesh attempted to examine the effect of oil on economic growth and found that oil directly affected economic growth. In China, Zou and Chau (2006) also found that oil caused economic growth in the long run from 1978 to 2000.

In the Latin American region, Behmiri and Manso (2014) divided the whole region into three panels: Caribbean countries, Central American countries, and South American countries. In the panel of Caribbean and South American countries, oil negatively impacted economic growth, while in case of the Central American panel, oil positively impacted economic growth.

Coal Energy Consumption and Development

Coal energy consumption positively impacts economic development. Xu et al. (2018) studied the impact of coal energy consumption (COL) on sustainable development in China. Romer's growth drag theory applied by using the Johansen cointegration test concluded that coal enhanced China's economic development. In Turkey, Aktas (2018) found long-run cointegration between coal and GDP growth during 1970–2014. The Granger causality test supported the bidirectional causality between coal and GDP.

Few studies examined the way coal negatively impacted economic growth. One study was conducted in the 25 OECD countries. Apergis and Payne (2010a) showed that coal consumption negatively affected economic growth in the short run and long run. In the same way, Irwandi (2018) carried out their findings in Indonesia and found no causal relationship between coal and economic growth. In BRICS countries, Chang et al. (2017) suggested that CEC and economic growth were not sensitive to each other. Meanwhile, in the case of individual countries, coal caused economic growth in China and negatively impacted economic growth in South Africa. In the case of India, there existed a bidirectional relationship.

Nguyen-Van (2010) proposed the energy consumption Kuznets curve with income per capita for the group of panel data. The study concluded that energy consumption also increased with the increase in income.

By increasing coal consumption, air and water pollution has affected residential societies badly. Burning oil produces NO2 (nitrogen dioxides), SO2 (sulfur dioxides), and various heavy metals, which ultimately affect human health (Hendryx et al., 2020; Finkelman et al., 2021; Guo et al., 2021).

Fossil Energy Consumption and Development

Few studies examined the relationship of all subtypes of fossil fuel energy consumption and economic growth. Ahmed and Shimada (2019) studied the impact of renewable energy consumption and fossil fuel energy consumption on economic suitability in all world countries. The study found that due to the increase in the amount of renewable energy consumption, economic growth increased in South Asian and most of the African countries; on the other hand, non-renewable energy consumption enhanced economic growth in Caribbean countries.

In G-7 countries, Destek and Okumus (2017) investigated the impact of oil, coal, and natural gas consumption on economic growth during 1970–2013. It concluded that oil consumption caused economic growth in the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, and Italy.

Siddique et al. (2016) used the subtypes of fossil fuel energy consumption, and studied the impact of gas, oil, and coal and electricity energy consumption on economic growth during 1982–2015 in Pakistan. It concluded that all subtypes significantly impact economic growth. Faridi and Murtaza (2013) analyzed that oil, gas, and electricity consumptions are the key factors to enhance GDP growth and agriculture sector output of Pakistan during 1972–2011. The ARDL model approach suggested that coal, gas, and electricity are important determinates of GDP growth.

Steinberger and Roberts (2009) investigated the simulation-based association between energy use and HDI and found that energy use had positively affected the HDI. Asghar et al. (2020) investigated the impact of coal, oil, and gas consumption on the human development index in Pakistan. The study concluded that due to coal, oil, and gas consumption, air pollution, TB cases, measles, and the mortality rate have increased, which affected the HDI. In the SAARC region, Zahid et al. (2021) proposed the topic of the impact of quadratic energy consumption on the human development index from 1990 to 2017. The GLS method concluded that energy consumption shows the inverted U-shaped association with HDI.

For sustainable development, health indicators also played a significant role. Oil, gas, and coal consumption adversely affects the health indicators. Due to the increase in fossil fuels, carbon emissions increase, which causes different kinds of diseases such as tuberculosis, which increase the mortality rate (Hanif, 2018).

Sectorial Consumption of Coal, Oil, and Gas

Coal, oil, and gas are not substituted for each other. These energy sources are used in different projects. Coal is considered the major portion of energy consumption worldwide. A bulk portion of coal is consumed for power production, industry, and domestic use. According to IEA (2019), about 38% of electricity is produced through coal. Many private industries have developed their own power plants to generate electricity by using coal (Ghafoor and Weiss, 1999). Paper industries burn coal to produce heat, and steel industries use coal coke in furnaces. It also uses coal coke to smelt ore iron into pure iron and then make steel (Carpenter, 2012). Coal is also used in cement industries because cement is made from a mixture of silica, carbonate, alumina, and iron oxide, which requires a high temperature that is achieved by burning coal (Osborne and Gupta, 2013). On the other hand, coal has a minor share in transportation and residential purposes as coal-based steam engines are not used in railways.

Oil consumption is used in transportation and in electricity generation at the residential level. According to IEA (2018a), about 49.3 percent of oil is consumed for road and air transportation. All kinds of vehicles run by oil consumption.

Gas is an important fossil fuel because it has special importance worldwide as it produces low carbon emissions. According to IEA (2018b), about 37% gas is consumed in industries. Most industries consume gas for heating purposes in power systems and combined heat and as raw material to produce hydrogen, chemicals, and fertilizers (Solarte-Toro et al., 2018). The residential sector also consumed a lot of gas to heat the buildings and water, dry clothes, and cook food. Worldwide, it consumed about 30% in the residential sector (IEA, 2018c).

Exports of Goods and Services on Development

While discussing the impact of exports of goods and services on economic development, it can be observed that the export of goods and services plays a significant role in economic development. More than 200 years ago, all economists and philosophers agreed that free trade begets better living standards by improving health, education, and income. Exports directly affect the income and indirectly affect non-income factors. Numerous previous literatures show that exports positively affected economic development (Feder, 1983; Fosu, 1990; Anwer and Sampath, 2000; Davies and Quinlivan, 2006). In the case of BRICS countries, Rani and Kumar (2018) empirically evaluated that a one percent increase in export will increase 0.44 percent of GDP per capita in the long run.

Labor Force Participation and Development

In the classical Solow model, labor is an important component of economic growth. BRICS countries' population is about 43% of the total population. Due to this massive total population, there is a big share of labor force participation. Numerous previous literatures showed the positive relationship of labor force participation to economic growth (Paudel and Perera, 2009; Lahoti and Swaminathan, 2013; Amir et al., 2015).

Several studies have been mentioned in the literature review that had tried to connect fossil fuel use with development via growth or CO2 emissions channel. But very few studies have explored the nonlinear effect of fossil energy components in the panel data on development to assess the intertemporal and size-based effect. This study has estimated the quadratic fit for fossil energy components against HDI, which provides the incidence/size-based effect of energy consumption for each country. It helps in planning country-specific strategies to increase HDI by optimizing the portfolio of fossil energy demand.

Methods and Material

Sample of the Study

The sample of this study is selected from the BRICS countries, namely, India, China, South Africa, Brazil, and Russia. Thirty years of data sets during 1992–2018 were collected from various sources (Table 2). The main purpose of selecting the BRICS countries is that they have high energy consumption due to their fast economic growth and development (Camioto et al., 2016). BRICS countries' coal, oil, and gas consumption is playing a significant role in industrialization and sustainable economic development (BRICS energy report, 2020).

Data and Variables

To estimate Eq. 1, Table 2 demonstrates the description of the variables. The data of five BRICS countries are collected from 1992 to 2018. The human development index (HDI) has been used as the dependent variable in this study, including three variables: per capita income, life expectancy, and literacy rate (HDR, 2020).

This study focuses on the impact of the subtypes of three forms of non-renewable energy consumption, namely, oil consumption (OIL), natural gas consumption (NGC), and coal consumption (COL), on economic development. Due to the enhancement of energy resources, export of goods and services (EXPO) and labor force (LFTOT) also impact economic development. Table 2 presents all variables used in this study. All variables except HDI are transformed into the natural logarithm to facilitate elasticity base comparison.

Econometric Model

This study will start with assessing the empirical movement of data using the decoupling method proposed by Tapio (2005). This method constitutes an index DI, a ratio of % change in HDI to a % change in fossil energy consumption. According to the literature, the decoupling will be favorable for the country if DI < 0, and it is best when, along with DI < 0, the independent variable (fossil energy)'s % change is negative (Dahmani et al., 2021).

To build the theoretical econometrics model, Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) suggested that economic growth (GDP) initially degrades the environment, but after maturity, it improves the environment quality and shows the U-shaped relationship. Sometimes EKC suggested that GDP initially increased the environmental quality, but after maturity, it degrades the environmental quality and shows the inverted U-shaped hypothesis (Apergis and Ozturk, 2015; Sarkodie and Strezov, 2019; Dogan and Inglesi-Lotz, 2020; Sarkodie and Ozturk, 2020; Ahmad et al., 2021; Chu, 2021; Murshed et al., 2021).

Inspired by this model, we built the energy human development index Kuznets curve in this study. This means that, initially, an increase in fossil fuel energy consumption produces lower carbon emissions and footprint. In this stage, utilization of fossil energy is actually increasing the productivity of other inputs, leading to improvement in income, health, and education (Haines and Dora, 2012; Koo et al., 2014; Lee et al., 2017; Fankhauser and Jotzo, 2018; Hudha et al., 2020; Patz et al., 2020). Later on, the use of fossil fuel energy consumption will increase carbon emissions and footprint. Due to high carbon emissions, it will deteriorate environmental quality, health, and productivity; thus, economic development deteriorates (Versteijlen et al., 2017; Salman et al., 2019; Wang et al., 2019).

Figure 4 presents the theoretical model of this study. To assess energy utilization, this study has used the square terms of the subtypes of fossil fuels. A similar methodology was adopted by Hanif et al. (2019a, b) and Arshed et al. (2018, 2019). The estimation model is as follows:

where HDI, Human Development Index; LNCOL, Natural Logarithm of Coal Consumption percentage of total energy consumption; LNCOL2, Square of LNCOL; LNOIL, Natural Logarithm of Oil Consumption percentage of total energy consumption; LNOIL2, Square of LNOIL; LNNGC, Natural Logarithm Natural Gas Consumption percentage of total energy consumption; LNNGC2, Square of LNNGC; LNEXP, Natural Logarithm of Export of goods and services; LNLFTOT, Natural Logarithm of total labor.

The key advantage of applying the square form is that it indicates a deviation from the constant return to the scale assumption, under which the variable explains the marginal effect (Hayes, 2017). Furthermore, the square form helps determine the cut-off value of the variable from where the effects change direction (Arshed et al., 2018, 2019). The following equation is used to determine the cut-off value of natural gas, oil, and coal consumption with respect to HDI.

Eqs 2–4 demonstrated the minimum value of the U-shaped function or the maximum value of the inverted U-shaped function of the quadratic functions (Chiang and Wainwright, 2005).

Estimation Technique

Since the data vary across cross sections and time periods are more than 20 for each time period (Arshed et al., 2018), this study has opted for the dynamic panel data model. Under this premise, the variables are tested for LLC and IPS panel unit root tests, and further KAO panel cointegration is applied if any one of the variables is non-stationary. This study has used the fully modified least squares (FMOLS) model (Iqbal et al., 2021).

Empirical Results

Table 3 provides the descriptive statistics of dependent variable HDI and all concerned independent variables such as COL, OIL, NGC, EXPO, and LFTOT. The mean value is higher than the standard deviation for all the variables, confirming that they are under dispersed. This denotes that for the selected sample, the data are scattered homogenously around a common mean. Jarque Bera normality tests are significant at the 5% level. Kurtosis values show outliers, which makes an inference from the ordinary least square model redundant (Zahid et al., 2021). This study uses the central limit theorem to assume that the variables are asymptotically normal.

Figure 5 visualizes the correlation between energy consumption indices, export of goods and services, labor force participation, and human development index. It is observed that LNLFTOT is most correlated with LNCOL compared to other energy consumption indicators.

Figures 6–8 show that the increase in the subtype of fossil energy consumption has a nonlinear association with the human development index (HDI). The nonlinear association depicts that the proportion of each energy consumption does play a role in determining how fossil energy consumption affects human development. Further ignoring the quadratic effects in estimation may lead to missing specification bias.

Table 4 provides the DI index values which compare the HDI change with each fossil energy type. Here, the bolded numbers are the cases where DI is negative, while the starred items are the cases where the % change in fossil energy is also negative. The case where bold and star coincide shows the ideal decoupling case. The results showed that in recent years, there is ideal decoupling for all countries except for the case of gas consumption in China.

Table 5 provides the results of LLC and IPS panel unit root tests. Here, we can see that variables like HDI, LNCOL, LNCOL, LNOIL, and LNNGC are non-stationary at level, while LNEXPO and LFTOT are stationary at level. This confirms that the data are intertemporal and static panel data models may provide spurious results. Furthermore, the KAO panel cointegration test statistic is -3.35 with a probability of 0.00, which confirms that the selected variables are cointegrated in the long run.

Table 6 labels the detailed results of FMOLS estimates. It used 130 observations of five BRICS countries across time. The R square suggests that the selected variables are explaining 86% variation in the HDI.

The level coefficient of coal consumption is positive and significant while the square of coal consumption is negative and significant, which proposed the inverted U-shaped relationship between LNCOL and HDI. In case of economic development, at lower coal consumption level, 1 percent increase in coal consumption will increase economic development by 0.21 percent (similar finding by Xu et al., 2018; Aktas, 2018). This positive effect is not constant; this effect diminishes with the size of coal energy, such that 1 percent increase in the coal consumption decreases economic development by 0.07 percent (similar findings by Finkelman et al., 2021; Guo et al., 2021; Hendryx et al., 2020; Irwandi, 2018; Chang et al., 2017; Apergis and Payne, 2010b). So, this study rejected the proposition of constant returns to scale used by past studies.

The level form coefficient of oil consumption (OIL) is negative and statistically significant, while the squared form coefficient is positive but statistically insignificant. This relationship is negatively linear between LNOIL and HDI. A 1 percent increase in oil consumption will lead to a 0.32 percent decrease in HDI (similar results by Adekoya, 2021; Camioto et al., 2016; Behmiri and Manso, 2014). Here, this study accepts the hypothesis of constant negative returns to scale between LNOIL and HDI.

The level form coefficient of natural gas consumption (LNNGC) is positive and statistically significant, while the squared form coefficient is negative and statistically significant. This demonstrates the inverted U-shaped relationship between them. Hence, natural gas consumption, initially at a lower share of the consumption phase, plays a positive role in the economic development of BRICS countries (similar finding by Balsalobre-Lorente et al., 2019; Zhi-Guo et al., 2018; Hassan et al., 2017; Ozturk and Al-Mulali, 2015; Shahbaz et al., 2013; Das et al., 2013). Beyond a certain limit of consumption share, further increase in natural gas consumption may obstruct economic development (similar findings by Isik, 2010; Fatai et al., 2004; Siddiqui, 2004; Aqeel and Butt, 2001). So the hypothesis of constant returns to scale is rejected by this study.

For the case of control variables, export of goods and services (LNEXPO) significantly affects the economic development in BRICS countries. A 1 percent increase in exports will lead to a decrease in the human development index by 0.02 percent. This can be reasoned by the fact that the major source of production of export commodities is fossil fuels. Labor force participation also influences human development index in BRICS countries. A 1 percent increase in the LFTOT increases human development by 0.49 percent. These results are similar to the outcome of other studies (Paudel and Perera, 2009; Lahoti and Swaminathan, 2013; Amir et al., 2015). Referring to Table 7, the thresholds are estimated. According to this, beyond 10.17% of coal energy consumption and 2.72% of gas energy consumption with respect to total energy consumption, country will experience development depreciating effect of fossil energy. Hence, countries should limit coal energy consumption to 2.32% and gas to 2.72%.

This study has visualized the quadratic effects using the method from the study by Dawson (2014), whereby the size of the quadratic variable is on the x axis and its marginal effect is on the y axis. Figures 9–11 show the estimated effects of fossil energy; it is evident here that coal energy and gas energy are depicting an inverted U shape, while oil energy is showing a negative effect.

Discussions and Policy Recommendations

The inverted U-shaped curve of coal and gas consumption suggests that an initial increase in coal and gas consumption enhances economic development. At the same time, after a certain limit, further increase in coal and gas consumption negatively impacts the economic development in BRICS countries. On the other hand, oil consumption and the HDI curve are negative. It means each unit of additional coal consumption will cause a decrease in economic development. So, we can say that coal and gas consumption has diminishing marginal returns when studying against development. It can easily be concluded that subtypes of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and gas consumption negatively impact the economic development in BRICS countries. This study contradicts previous studies conducted in the BRICS countries that determined that fossil fuel consumption is an engine of economic growth (Chang et al., 2017; Sasana and Ghozali, 2017). Fossil fuel may increase economic growth while it is inversely related to economic development. The massive consumption of fossil fuels increases greenhouse gas emissions, directly affecting the global environment and natural resources. Environmental degradation creates global warming and many diseases in humans. According to the United Nations sustainable development goals, no country can develop with the consumption of high fossil fuels. At the same time, the BRICS energy (2020) report projected that the BRICS countries would continue to consume fossil fuels till 2040 at almost the same speed. Coal and oil consumption causes a lot of carbon emissions. Unfortunately, two of the BRICS member countries, China and India, are the biggest users of coal and oil worldwide. Both of these countries consume about more than half of the world coal consumption. It is a very alarming situation for all over the world. It will severely affect climate change and cause global warming. A big challenge of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is to save this planet from more pollution.

Policy Implications
In the policy recommendation portions, the BRICS countries should follow the policies to reduce fossil fuel energy consumption.

1. Member countries of BRICS, especially China and India, pay special attention to clean energy consumption instead of coal, oil, and gas consumption. The governments of these countries should efficiently use technology to improve clean energy resources such as wind energy and solar energy.

2. BRICS countries should construct more and more hydroelectric energy sources to fulfil the energy requirements.

3. BRICS countries can use coal by using advanced technology gasification. In this method, coal is buried underground, and only steam and oxygen are used for the energy process.

4. BRICS countries should give subsidies to private investors to promote clean energy.

5. The UN environmental agencies should play their role to decrease fossil fuel consumption. Under the Kyoto Protocol agreement (1997), BRICS countries should buy more and more carbon credits for the other countries due to the negative externalities impact of fossil fuel consumption.

6. In BRICS, exports of goods and services play an important role once the nation shifts toward renewable energy.

Data Availability Statement
The original contributions presented in the study are included in the article/Supplementary Material; further inquiries can be directed to the corresponding authors.

Author Contributions
All authors listed have made a substantial, direct, and intellectual contribution to the work and approved it for publication.

This study was financially supported by the Social Science Program of Hainan Province (HNSK(YB)19-10) and the Program of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism (TYETP201552).

Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

Publisher's Note

All claims expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of their affiliated organizations, or those of the publisher, the editors, and the reviewers. Any product that may be evaluated in this article, or claim that may be made by its manufacturer, is not guaranteed or endorsed by the publisher.

Authours: Hong Wang*1, Muhammad Asif Amjad*2,Noman Arshed*3, Abdullah Mohamed*4, Shamsher Ali*5, Muhammad Afaq Haider Jafri*6 and Yousaf Ali Khan*7

1*School of Tourism, Hainan University, Haikou, China
2*Department of Economics, University of Management and Technology, Lahore, Pakistan
3*Department of Economics, University of Education, Lahore, Pakistan
4*Research Centre, Future University, New Cairo, Egypt
5*Department of Soil and Environmental Sciences, Amir Muhammad Khan Campus Mardan, The University of Agriculture, Peshawar, Pakistan
6*College of Economics and Management, Beijing University of Technology, Beijing, China
7*Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Hazara University, Mansehra, Pakistan

Kremlin calls for integrating BRICS payment system as rouble claws back sharply (Кремль призывает к интеграции платежной системы БРИКС на фоне резкого падения курса рубля) / country, April, 2022
Keywords: economic_challenges, quotation

In what has been widely viewed as a sagacious attempt from Russian policymakers amid a raft of sanctions from far-right European leaders alongside the US and Japan on the world's eleventh-largest economy by nominal GDP and the sixth-largest by PPP (Purchasing Power Parity), the Finance Ministry of Russia issued a statement on Saturday saying that Kremlin had called on the BRICS group of emerging economies to create an integrated payment system.

If truth is to be spoken, latest move from Russia came forth amid an economic Armageddon on the transcontinental nation from a cascade of Conservative far-right western leaders as beforementioned, while the United States had barred Kremlin's access of its Reserve Bank assets held in the US.

Besides, several EU member states also echoed the same approach, eventually blocking nearly a half of a $640 billion in FX reserves that Russian had been holding before February 24. Though, more surprisingly, even after the sanctions, the Russian Rouble is hovering at a higher level even before than that of February the 24th, while a Bloomberg news report had revealed on Friday that Russia would likely to shelve a profit above $320 billion from higher energy prices this year.

Amid such economic backdrop, rouble recouped much of its losses and became the best-performing currency in March, gaining as much as 60 per cent.

Russia calls on an integrated payment system for BRICS nations

Speaking in a ministerial meeting with BRICS, Russ Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said to the representatives from BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) that the global economic landscape had deteriorated substantially due to the sanctions.

Besides, adding that further sanctions on the economy would destroy the cornerstones of an existing global financial system which is entirely based on American Dollar, Siluanov said, "This pushes us to the need to speed up work in the following areas: the use of national currencies for export-import operations, the integration of payment systems and cards, our own financial messaging system and the creation of an independent BRICS rating agency. "
Official calls for further cooperation among BRICS nations (Официальные лица призывают к дальнейшему сотрудничеству между странами БРИКС) / China, April, 2022
Keywords: quotation, economic_challenges

Macro policy coordination will be of paramount importance among BRICS countries this year as the world faces continuing challenges induced by COVID-19 and the spillover effects of major economies need to be taken note of in particular, officials and experts said.

Liu Kun, China's finance minister, said on Friday that China will continue promoting financial cooperation among BRICS countries and work for practical results amid growing global growth pressures. Liu made the remarks when chairing the First BRICS Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting in 2022, which was held virtually on Friday.

Liu said global growth momentum is weakening at the moment amid complex situations. Global development also faces obstacles.

He urged BRICS countries to demonstrate responsibility, solidarity and cooperation, strengthen macro policy coordination and facilitate steady economic recovery, according to a statement from the meeting issued by China's Ministry of Finance.

He said efforts shall be rolled out with the focus on promoting high-quality economic, social and environmental development through public-private partnerships, while experience and knowledge sharing will be stepped up regarding infrastructure investments.

China incentivizes efforts that can bring the role of fiscal and financial think tanks of all BRICS countries into full play, to give more support for further coordination and advancing cooperation among BRICS countries, according to Liu.

Shi Yinghua, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Fiscal Sciences, said macroeconomic policy coordination will be particularly crucial this year. This is because the spillover effects from major advanced economies will generate impacts, as some of them are now pivoting macro policy stances.

"It's a delicate balancing act for every economy to realize steady growth and keep prices and employment relatively stable in the face of external shocks," she said. "This will be particularly challenging for BRICS countries, who are all developing countries."

Zhou Mi, a senior researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, noted that all member countries of BRICS are major economies in their own region.

"As most BRICS countries are export-oriented economies, external dynamics may lead to crucial challenges to their growth. Therefore, as with all regional major economies, the stable growth of each BRICS country will be particularly meaningful for a stable global recovery this year," he said.

On Friday, Liu also urged the BRICS New Development Bank, a multinational bank headquartered in Shanghai and established by BRICS countries, to step up in formulating its second five-year strategy and to expand and include more new members.

Zhou said in recent years, the NDB has worked effectively in channeling funds to areas that are of most concern to BRICS countries. Such support will continue to be important for the economic recovery of BRICS countries.

The Friday meeting was co-chaired by Liu and China's central bank governor Yi Gang, with the participation of finance ministers and central bank governors from other BRICS countries. China is the chair of BRICS this year. BRICS is the acronym for an emerging market bloc that groups Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
Russian ruble payment for gas decision may mark beginning of real de-dollarization (Решение о плате за газ в рублях может означать начало реальной дедолларизации) / Russia, April, 2022
Keywords: economic_challenges, expert_opinion

Uriel Araujo, researcher with a focus on international and ethnic conflicts.

A sign that a new post-dollar world might emerge can be seen in the fact that the central bank of a huge BRICS country such as Brazil has just quadrupled its exposure to Chinese yuan. Other countries might adopt similar measures. This might be seen in context: on Thursday, March 31, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that Moscow can halt contracts supplying the European continent with gas unless the EU countries pay in rubles by opening ruble accounts in Russian banks. This demand was imposed on the "unfriendly countries". Some European governments consider such a demand a breach of the contracts.

In Putin's words: "What is actually happening, what has already happened? We have supplied European consumers with our resources, in this case gas. They received it, paid us in euros, which they then froze themselves. In this regard, there is every reason to believe that we delivered part of the gas provided to Europe practically free of charge. That, of course, cannot continue."

The hard truth though is that Europe cannot afford to suddenly lose over a third of its gas supply. In times of war and amid the Western economic blitzkrieg against Russia (as it has been described) detailed legal discussions over contracts must be conducted against the background of political retaliations - a bit of legal and political realism here can be quite welcome.

The Russian decision was a smart move and it is not far-fetched at all to assume that after initial denial Europe will have no choice but to accept it. Politically, the decision can be justified as a countermeasure, considering that European countries have seized over a billion dollars in Russian assets, thus also initially causing the value of the country's currency to nose-dive (it has been recovering, though). In the long-term, Moscow's policy might prove itself a fatal blow to the dollar's hegemony.

Federal University of Rio de Janeiro experts Luís Eduardo Melin, and Ernani Teixeira both describe the weaponized American currency as the "dollar bomb". Bombing and invading a country may disrupt its economy by the destruction of physical infrastructure, the impoverisment of the population and so on, but it imposes a quite heavy burden on the agressor itself. Washington, in its turn, has taken control over the global currency and thus can engage in financial warfare, achieving these very same results without the cost. By doing so, however, the deeply assymmetrical character of the international order is made evident, so whenever the US employ such "dollar bomb" as a weapon of last resort, it is both a show of force and a show of weakness.

Brazilian politician, journalist, and politologist Cesar Benjamin stresses the peculiar situation pertaining to the existence of a fiat currency issued by a national state (the US), which in practice makes the whole world a space of American sovereignty - without new global regulatory institutions. He says: "We can only understand the working pattern of the American economy when we observe it while keeping in mind yet another anomaly: this enormous and highly deficit economy issues the world's currency - without anything to back it up and without any emission rules. Its debt capacity is incredibly elastic, on a scale almost unthinkable in older times."

Benjamin adds that "in 1972, as is well known, 28 years after the Bretton Woods agreement, the United States unilaterally broke the treaty and basically reneged its issuance rules. It untied the dollar and gold, thus ending convertibility, and then it devalued the currency, thereby abandoning parity, to recover its economy's competitiveness. The other countries had to follow a similar path, carrying out their own competitive devaluations, which soon became successive." So, the Bretton Woods system ceased to exist, giving way to what Benjamin describes as a "non-system" of unbacked currencies and floating exchange rates. This scenario gave the American, in practice, a kind of right of seigniorage over the global economy - without the limitations of any issuance rules. This served well American hegemony aspirations and such must be understood within the framework of a larger project with economic, military, political and even cultural dimensions. The main problem here is the dollar being the sole global currency.

Banker and economist Alasdair Macleod, a stockbroker and member of the London Stock Exchange, comments the Russian latest rubles-only policy, and argues that Nixon and Kissinger used a similar strategy to create the Petrodollar in 1973: by convincing Saudi Arabia to only take dollars as payment for oil back then, Washington was then able to achieve dollar supremacy in the post-Bretton Wood world. Russia however is merely responding to sanctions and to the theft of its reserves. Putin has famously observed that financial reserves can be stolen and so he expects many countries to convert paper and digital assets into "real reserves of raw materials". By stating so, Putin has reaffirmed the primacy of the real world over financial fictions.

Ricardo da Silva Carvalho, a University of Sao Paolo's economist, stresses that the current Western narrative (according to which the Russian economy is extremely fragile) does stand up to scrutiny: it has "a robust and steady Treasury, a low debt, low tax burden, lots of reserves" - although some of them have now "been stolen" by the US and EU. This is why Russia is holding on even under massive financial attack. In fact, despite sanctions, the Russian ruble and banks are showing signs of recovery.

To sum it up, this recent Russian currency move must be seen as a hard response against severe and unprecedented sanctions against Russian businessmen, companies, and banks. It also acquires a deeper meaning: the United States have been weaponizing the financial system for quite some time - in fact, one could say it has been doing so for the last half century. Moreover, Moscow's latest bold demand may mark the beginning of the end of the dollarized global economy.

Dhaka Banking on New Financier New Development Bank (Дакка делает ставку на новое финансирование от Нового банка развития) / Bangladesh, April, 2022
Keywords: ndb, investments

Bangladesh looks to another development financier from the East - New Development Bank (NDB) - as the government is now scrutinising some priority projects for its fund support, officials say.

"We formally became member of the NDB in September last. Now the bank has recently offered us financial support for some development projects. We will request it for financing shortly," says a senior Economic Relations Division (ERD) official.

He says the NDB has assured funds for some 2-3 projects in the first year of launching of the financing to Bangladesh by the Shanghai-based lending agency. "So we are scrutinising the priority and better projects to be sent

The maiden list of 2-3 projects will be sent shortly with the expectation for nearly US$1.0 billion within the next fiscal year (FY), 2022-23, the ERD official adds.

Established by BRICS countries in their latest stride on the economic front-with the neo-rich China at the head-the multilateral development partner, NDB, is going to be a new destination for Bangladesh's development financing.

So far, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the Islamic Development Bank are the key multilateral development partners for the country which is now on the trajectory of graduating out of the world's poor-country club, LDC.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh has already attained 2.0-per cent voting power at the NDB after joining as its sixth-shareholding member, officials said Thursday.

Bangladesh, getting the first membership after the five-core founding members, would pay $15 million in the first installment of its US$942 million worth of shares in the Shanghai-based lending agency early next year, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) officials said.

"Bangladesh has already paid $15 million in its first installment and qualified for obtaining loans from the multilateral lender against different projects and programmes," says one MoF official.

The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries have established the NDB parallel to other older development financiers like the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the Islamic Development Bank and the African Development Bank.

In September last, Bangladesh finally attained 1.0-per cent shares in the up-and-coming lender as the country was offered one of three fortunate shareholders after the five founding BRICS nations.

The ERD officials said Bangladesh would have to pay a total of $188 million out of $942 million worth of shares in seven installments in as many years as it is the payable subscription.

The remaining $754 million worth of subscription will be treated as the "callable fee" which will not have to be paid at this moment, the officials said.

According to the MoF, currently Bangladesh would get 1.84-per cent voting right on the NDB board.

Bangladesh's finance minister is the governor and the ERD secretary alternative governor of the Shanghai-centric lender.

The board in September this year approved membership of three countries-Bangladesh, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay. Bangladesh then negotiated with the lender for getting more than 1.0-per cent stake in the newly established BRICS nations' banking institution.

The NDB-founding members made an initial subscription for 500,000 shares totaling US$50 billion, which include 100,000 shares corresponding to a paid-in capital of US$10 billion and 400,000 shares corresponding to a callable capital of US$40 billion.

Political Events
Political events in the public life of BRICS
Address by HE Dr Naledi Pandor, MP, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation to the South African Heads of Mission Conference, 7 April 2022 (Выступление Ее Превосходительства д-ра Наледи Пандор, члена парламента, министра международных отношений и сотрудничества на конференции глав южноафриканских миссий, 7 апреля 2022 г.) / South Africa, April, 2022
Keywords: speech, cooperation
South Africa

Programme Director, Deputy Minister Botes,
Your Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa,
Deputy Minister Mashego-Dlamini,
Ambassadors and High Commissioners,

I would like to warmly welcome you to the 2022 Heads of Mission Conference, the first since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and since my appointment. The theme for our conference is: "Positioning South Africa's Diplomacy to Advance our Domestic Priorities."

We are joined by our new Director-General Zane Dangor, and welcome him, we hope that under his leadership we will make DIRCO a centre of excellence.

The two years of COVID restrictions has been a very difficult period, but South Africa has once again shown its resilience in the face of adversity, and we are pulling together as a nation to grow our economy and strengthen social cohesion.

We continue to be a country in transition toward the ideal espoused in our constitution, and implement our international mandate fully, alert to our opportunities and challenges.

Russian Federation used force without sanction by the United Nations Security Council in Ukraine on February 24th. We have witnessed a realignment of global power relations in response to the war, and volatility in the global economy, both of which have affected South Africa and our national interests.

Non-aligned countries like South Africa have sought to assert their independence from the power games of the wealthy nations, seeking not to become embroiled in the politics of confrontation and aggression, but rather to promote a peaceful resolution to the conflict through dialogue and negotiation.

Our President Cyril Ramaphosa conveyed to all key stakeholders that South Africa stands ready to support the peaceful resolution of the conflict in Ukraine, with a view to bringing the violence to an end as speedily as possible. We are fully cognisant of the deliberate opposition to our call for peace and negotiations and continue to hold the view that in the end negotiations will end the conflict.

This is in keeping with the approach of members of the Non-Alignment Movement since its formation in 1961, when developing countries in Africa and Asia committed themselves to maintaining independent foreign policies and extending the hand of friendship to all countries which reciprocated that friendship.

This was a way to balance their national interests when their priority was to maintain robust trade relations with a plethora of countries across the political divide of the Cold War. This approach is as valid today as it was then. Our non-aligned position does not mean that we condone Russia's military intervention in Ukraine, which has been in violation of international law.

South Africa has always opposed violations of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of member states, in keeping with the UN Charter. We have also decried the humanitarian disaster that has resulted from the ongoing military operations, and called for the urgent opening of humanitarian corridors and the provision of aid to the civilian population which, as usual, bears the brunt of the suffering when violent confrontation breaks out.

We have held these views with respect to Palestine and many other countries where sovereignty is threatened. The need for a rules-based multilateral system is more urgent now than ever in our history.

The very essence of the UN Charter is respect for international law, and major powers should not be allowed to violate international law with impunity.

What the war in Ukraine has also exposed is the glaring double standards of the international community. The world has condemned Russia for its actions, made every attempt to isolate it within the international community and in multilateral fora, and attempted to cause maximum damage to its economy.

The imposition of crippling unilateral sanctions, and the immense pressure on multinational companies to withdraw from Russia has been unprecedented in post-World War Two international relations.

We have not seen concomitant actions with regards to other conflicts, including those where the laws of war and the UN Charter have also been breached.

There needs to be consistency in the approach of the international community to countries that violate international law. When Israel launched sustained offensive military operations against the Gaza strip, killing hundreds, flattening homes, burying civilians under the rubble, and devastating the already dilapidated infrastructure in such a small and densely populated area, the world failed to respond in the same way as it has on Ukraine.

That military aggression is not met with sanctions, isolation, and a divestment campaign.

When the vast majority of Yemeni civilians have been on the verge of starvation as a result of the bombing campaign which has devastated one of the poorest countries in the world, there has been a deafening silence.

The list of unjust wars in which big powers have violated international law is long, but the mainstream media narrative has tended to support the actions of the big powers, as they have seemingly become part of orchestrated propaganda campaigns, even if at times unconsciously.

We lament the suffering of our brothers and sisters in Cuba and Venezuela, who have endured economic strangulation of their economies. In the case of Cuba, it has been for over six decades. It has been part of our principled foreign policy to support these countries when their economies have been brought to their knees and to show our solidarity in light of the close bonds of friendship between our nations.

The draconian efforts over many years to exact regime change has failed despite the west's best efforts, but the repercussions for the people of Cuba and Venezuela have been devastating.

Due to the US economic blockade against Cuba, which has been even further tightened by the current US administration, medicines are almost impossible to obtain in the country or to import given trade restrictions.

Food and basic necessities are scarce in the extreme. In the fight for our own liberation, Cuba gave its sons and daughters selflessly to fight alongside our liberation movements and played a pivotal role in turning the tide against the colonial forces in the region.

We cannot forget our friends in their time of need, which is why South Africa intends to provide humanitarian assistance in the form of food and medicine from finances budgeted for this purpose in the African Renaissance Fund.

It is important to highlight these issues given the recent barrage of criticism in the media being levied against DIRCO for our policy positions.

We need to redouble our efforts to explain to the South African public and our friends what drives our foreign policy. We also need our senior diplomats to speak with one voice and defend the government's position on these issues, to avoid confusion and mixed messages.

I have been astounded at the manner in which diplomats resident in South Africa have attacked our policy positions in a manner implying they are here to instruct us.

The long-term solution to these global injustices is the complete overhaul of the UN system, as our President recently argued.

The UN Security Council needs to be democratised as its configuration is representative of the global balance of forces in the immediate post-World War Two era, when much of the world was still struggling under the scourge of colonialism.

At the time of the UN's formation, four of the five permanent members were colonial powers, and the decision-making structure of the UN Security Council was set up to protect their interests.

Our Heads of Mission must support our call for the democratisation of the UN system and to promote multilateralism. We will also have to work hard to ensure that the global preoccupation with the war in Ukraine and shifting global power dynamics does not detract from the importance of the African Agenda and the development imperatives of the global south.

We need to keep these issues front and centre on the global agenda in multilateral fora. The critical focus on reversing climate change, which is having devastating consequences for Africa and the global South, should not be eclipsed by current geo-political tensions.

If we are to achieve our national priorities of addressing the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment, and inequality in South Africa, it is the job of our Heads of Mission to champion the message that South Africa is open for business.

Economic diplomacy must drive the work of our Missions, and it cannot be mere rhetoric, as the outcomes of our efforts on the ground must result in increased foreign investment and trade.

We also need to emphasise in our public statements the role that South African businesses are playing abroad, particularly on the African continent. We are all cognisant of shrinking budgets and the myriad of challenges that we face as a country, but our Heads of Mission need to play a leadership role in finding innovative ways to sell our country to the world.

And it starts with portraying a positive image of South Africa both in public and in private. We need to believe that South Africa has what it takes to compete on the world stage.

Your role as our top diplomats is to work towards rebuilding investor confidence, and marketing South Africa as one of the most sophisticated and promising emerging markets, offering a unique combination of highly developed first world economic infrastructure, with a vibrant market.

We expect you to engage with prospective investors and take the initiative to personally forge linkages between companies abroad and producers and manufacturers in South Africa.

Take advantage of the trend from the pandemic era of digital conferencing to facilitate linkages between South African agricultural producers and importers in your host nations.

There are over 28 black owned wine farms that would greatly benefit from trade promotion efforts by our Heads of Mission.

I encourage you to regularly meet with the Chambers of Commerce in the countries you are deployed to, and truly become economic ambassadors.

Each one of you need to have a detailed understanding of our individual Special Economic Zones, in order to identify and target potential partners abroad and share with them the opportunities which exist in the different sectors.

If we fail in this mission, our SEZ's will be empty nests waiting for the birds to come. I also hope you will support South Africa's and Africa's efforts to establish vaccine production on the continent.

An important role of our Heads of Mission is to identify initiatives that will support the President's investment drive, and his commitment to raise over R1.2 trillion worth of investments over five years.

The government has already met 95 percent of its stated target.

The fourth Investment Conference which took place two weeks ago was a great success and highlighted the country's resilience and showcased the many investment opportunities that exist. While we are emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic with renewed vigour to jumpstart our economy, we must not forget the weaknesses in our health system which the pandemic exposed.

It has been a wake-up call for the entire African continent. Continued collaboration with partners abroad is still necessary to ensure the successful vaccination of millions of Africans, and we need to invest far more resources in strengthening our health infrastructure so that we are better prepared to deal with future health crises.

We must forge ahead with plans to enhance Africa's ability to produce vaccines, as well as other pharmaceutical products. There is a long road ahead to ensure greater vaccine equity for the developing world, and this is a struggle we are fully committed to. Our actions must include a robust higher education sector with excellent ability in research and innovation. Our post COVID agenda must also include economic recovery and support for Africa's efforts.

South Africa's fortunes are inextricably linked to those of the continent, and so we must continue to champion Africa's development agenda, which will ultimately lead to our own prosperity. Following the resolutions of the African Union Summit, trading can now begin under the African Continental Free Trade Area. South African companies are poised to play a key role in taking up the opportunities this presents for preferential access to other African markets.

We have invested substantial national resources in having broad diplomatic representation on the African continent, and now it is for our diplomats to do the work that the government expects of them to grow intra-African trade and investment. It is untenable to have a situation where African countries source certain basic food stuffs from Europe when they are grown locally on the African continent.

This is where our Heads of Mission can identify opportunities for South African producers to fill the gap and export the "proudly South African" brand.

While Africa is a key priority for our country, we must not neglect other co-operation partners. Our trade with Europe, China and the United States must not be neglected. The strategic opportunities of shaping a refreshed progressive global architecture through BRICS should not be undermined, and similarity the immense opportunities in East Asia, Asia and the Middle East must be a firm part of an increasingly complex basket of diplomatic tasks.

These tasks require astute, strategic, focussed, well informed diplomats, fully cognisant of their value to South Africa. I believe all of you are fit for these tasks.

I wish you well in your deliberations over the next few days and encourage you to strategize on fresh approaches on how to turn our vision for a better Africa and a better world into tangible outcomes.

I thank you.


OR Tambo Building
460 Soutpansberg Road

World of Work
International Youth Forum on Public Diplomacy InterYes 2.0 to Be Held on April 11-15 (Международный молодежный форум по публичной дипломатии InterYes 2.0 пройдет 11-15 апреля) / Russia, April, 2022
Keywords: social_issues

The aim of the Forum is to unite the young leaders of Russia and BRICS+ countries, who are engaged in public diplomacy in their territories, into an initiative community aimed at expanding dialogue with each other.

The Forum will become a common space for discussing of the public diplomacy development issues in the world, finding solutions and establishing cooperation among youth leaders. The event will be held in English.

The Forum is organized by the "Russia-BRICS" Project Office for Youth International Cooperation together with the foundation "Ulyanovsk – Capital of Culture" with the support of the Federal Agency for Youth Affairs "Rosmolodezh".

Partners of the event are Rossotrudnichestvo (Russia); RPO "BRICS. World of Traditions" (Russia); TV BRICS (Russia); NGO "Creative Diplomacy" (Russia); BRICS National Research Committee (Russia); International Youth Edu-Skills Foundation (India); Association of Youth Exchanges of China and Russia (Russia); South African BRICS International Association (South Africa); South African International Students Association (South Africa); Research Center for Education GEBRICS (Brazil); Rossiyskaya Gazeta ( (Russia).

According to the organisers, 45 young people (18-35 years old) from the BRICS+ countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa and others), who have experience of participation and/or organizing international youth projects, want to develop their competences in public diplomacy and create joint international projects to implement them after the Forum, have a good level of spoken English, have strong personal motivation to attend the forum, be engaged in the educational process and an interest in development of cooperation with youth organizations from other countries. Also these participants should be ready to work on dissemination of the knowledge acquired during the forum, to participate in all events as outlined by the agenda of the forum, to write an article based on results of the forum on websites and youth portals of delegating and partner organizations, distribute information through social media.

Science Academies Will Co-Host the BRICS Forum on Big Data for Sustainable Development (Академии наук примут участие в Форуме БРИКС «Большие данные для устойчивого развития) / Russia, April, 2022
Keywords: sustainable_development, think_tank_council, innovations

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015. The BRICS countries share a strong desire and commitment towards closer cooperation to ensure collective sustainable development over the years. Science, technology and innovation (STI) are vital driving forces to tackle global challenges and achieve the SDGs. As the new paradigm of scientific discovery, big data provides increasing opportunities to stimulate the advancement of STI and support to achieve the sustainable development goals. The BRICS framework provides an effective platform to enhance mutual trust, develop communication and collaboration. Many productive joint programs in STI, as one of the priorities, have been carried out under this framework.

Within this context, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Academy of Science of South Africa, Brazilian Academy of Sciences, Russian Academy of Sciences, and Indian National Science Academy will co-host the BRICS Forum on Big Data for Sustainable Development, aiming to share innovative achievements and useful experiences and gather international consensus on big data to support sustainable development. The forum will provide an opportunity for scientists, engineers, policy-makers and other stakeholders in BRICS countries as well as representatives of relevant international organizations to explore how to address common challenges to sustainable development through STI cooperation, especially based on big data.


Chinese Academy of Sciences | Academy of Science of South Africa | Brazilian Academy of Sciences | Russian Academy of Sciences | Indian National Science Academy


International Research Center of Big Data for Sustainable Development Goals Aerospace Information Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Dates and Time

April 26th -27th, 2022 19:00-21:00 PM (UTC+8)


Hybrid (online and on-site with main venue in Beijing, China)


Big Data in Support of Food Security & Poverty Alleviation

Big Data in Support of Digital Economy: Policies, Experiences and Challenges

Big Data in Support of Sustainable Urban Development

Big Data in Support of Climate Actions and Disaster Reduction

Big Data in Support of Biodiversity Conservation

Geospatial World

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