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Russia Sees South Africa Trade Using National Currencies as First Step

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EIRNS—Oleg Ozerov, the head of the Russia-Africa Partnership Forum Secretariat, reported at the Valdai Discussion Club that Moscow expects that its cooperation with South Africa will not develop on the basis of payments in dollars, but on the basis of various national currencies, TASS reported.

“We can work in national currencies that are not under sanctions,” he said. This means that Russia’s partners could use the ruble, but also the South African rand, in payments between countries, as the rand “is the currency of not only South Africa, but the whole of Southern Africa and the SADC [South African Development Community] member states.” Ozerov also cited the use of the yuan as another possibility.

He stressed the importance of restarting trade with South Africa, after the disruptions of the Covid period. As for the creation of a BRICS currency, he said this is a “long-running process, though we need quick solutions that will allow us to restart trade with South Africa, as well as create and finance joint projects. These solutions are actively being investigated now.” [crr]

Lavrov: BRICS Currency, Coordination with CELAC on the Agenda

EIRNS—During a meeting yesterday in Luanda with Angolan President Joao Lourenco, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov discussed the necessity of creating a currency for the five-nation BRICS grouping (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), given that the West can’t be relied on to respect its own mechanisms of the inviolability of property, the presumption of innocence, fair competition, and globalization.

As reported by Sputnik News, Lavrov said that this subject would likely be on the agenda of the next BRICS summit in August, hosted by South Africa. “Serious, self-respecting countries are perfectly aware of what is at stake,” he said. President Lourenco is one of the African leaders invited to attend that summit.

Lavrov also referenced discussion taking place among the BRICS nations and those of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) on establishing their own new currencies within the frameworks of these blocs. In an earlier press conference, on Jan. 18, Lavrov had reported that his government would soon be re-establishing a mechanism which had existed before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, through which it could coordinate policies with CELAC’s leadership quartet.

Russia seeks to increase mutually-beneficial cooperation with Latin America and the Caribbean, he said, to strengthen “the unity of this vast region.” In terms of the interests of all of Latin America, he explained, “it would be useful for CELAC to consider those issues that are on the BRICS agenda, so that the Latin American countries participating in the BRICS group also reflect the interests of their partners in the Community.”

He mentioned that Argentina and several more nations seek membership in the BRICS. Thus, “we are ready to cooperate at this stage through the BRICS+ format. There is an understanding about this among the five members. Together with our Chinese friends, we are actively working to agree on criteria for other countries to be able to join the BRICS countries in working together,” TASS reported him saying. [crr]