GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

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Sub-Saharan Africa and the development of BRICS-GCC links
Paper Proposal Text :
The XXIth century has unleashed a number of changes in the balance of power of the international system: the rise of new emerging powers and the ever increasing importance of natural resources in the global strategic configuration of world forces. At the same time, the role of private actors -specially national and transnational companies- have gained ground at a higher rate during the last years.
In an international economic context of ‘commoditization’, the South-South linkages offer not only a variety of challenges but also a new era of opportunities to promote the countries’ development through the effort of public and private sectors. Within this scene, relations between Gulf States and African countries are just starting with potential to flourish growing exponentially for the years to come.
At present, Africa boasts some of the world’s fastest-expanding economies, driven by the possession of natural resources, a young population, rising consumer needs and major infrastructure requirements. The GCC’s geographical proximity to the African continent together with a better air connectivity have promoted an increasing of trade, and therefore companies are seeking new equity and investment opportunities in those latitudes. As an example, the West Africa Investment Forum which took place in Dubai in September 2014 showed the common interest between the two regions in moving forward.
Although investments between the two regions have strengthened during the past few years, Africa-Gulf relations still remain relatively weak. Currently, most Gulf investments are concentrated on Africa’s extractive industries such as mineral and oil exploration. In terms of trade, exports from Africa to the Gulf mainly constitutes of primary commodities, while exports from the Gulf to Africa are based on petroleum products and manufactured goods. Additionally, relations have been limited to few countries in the African continent. Hence, there is a big potential from both sides to strengthen inter-regional relationships in order to ensure cooperation getting mutual benefits, beyond primary goods.
In addition, in the present century, the BRICS countries have burst into the international arena with dynamic economies which requires a number of basic raw-material in order to sustain fast growing productive sectors and to supply their increasing population. China and India have landed in almost every corner of the world, reinforcing their position in the African countries, together with Brazil and South Africa. Therefore, we propose to investigate to what extent BRICS countries can influence GCC-Africa relations.
The GCC is well placed to capitalize on its hub capacities and could become an important link point for China and India, which are investing heavily in Africa. More can be done to capitalize on the Gulf’s geographical position between Africa and Asian markets.
Given the GCC-BRICS-Africa configuration in an international context which could keep its present pace or could be entering in a new period of the ‘commoditization era’ decline, this paper investigates the relations between GCC and African Sub-Saharan countries considering the BRICS presence as a crucial point in-between. In this sense, it will be analyzed the opportunities and challenges of GCC as a pivot between Sub-Sahara African countries and China and India, as the emergent countries with major interests in both regions: Africa and the Gulf.