Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA) – BRICS countries flags at the corner of KE Masinga Road and Snell Parade at the Durban beachfront, is part of the well know 6km stretch of Durbans Golden Mile.
Tunisia, which has been negotiating for several months with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to obtain a loan to support its economy, threatened with economic and financial strangulation, needs an alternative in terms of financing, which could be one of the BRICS members, namely China or Russia, according to a Malian expert.
After reaching an agreement in principle in October 2022 on a loan of $1.9 billion to Tunisia, the International Monetary Fund suspended the review of its grant in December of the same year. The IMF, which had attached several conditions to the loan, was accused of unacceptable diktat by Tunisian President Kais Saied.
In an interview with Sputnik, Modibo Mao Makalou, a Malian economist and manager, said he believes that these “conditionalities” are really “too harsh”.
“In my opinion [these conditionalities] are too harsh because it is a question of restructuring about a hundred public companies. By restructuring, it means that we will put thousands of people out of work because these companies are heavily indebted. But above all, it is also about ending fuel subsidies, because Tunisia imports a lot of fuel, and also subsidies on basic necessities,” Makalou explained to Sputnik.
Need for a Breath of Fresh Air
However, the expert does not think that “it is a sovereignty problem because the conditionalities are known in advance”.
Makalou still recognises that Tunisia is in a “very, very delicate” situation. According to him, the North African country is threatened with economic and financial asphyxiation.
“Tunisia needs this economic and financial breath of fresh air … because it is at this price that we will maintain political peace and political stability and social peace, which are already compromised.”
In this situation, turning to the BRICS would be for Tunisia “an interesting prospect”, although for the moment it cannot solve the problems.
Makalou believes that the country “needs fresh money right away, which can only be done at the bilateral level”. But at the moment, he added, China, India, and Russia have their own problems, “So I don’t think new money can come from the BRICS.”
However, as far as investments are concerned, Tunisia could eventually have a bilateral agreement with China or with Russia.
BRICS as Credible Alternative
In the same vein, more and more countries, including in Africa, are showing their interest in co-operating with BRICS, regarding the bloc, which consists of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, as “alternatives” to other international financial institutions, Makalou assumed.
“Most non-Western countries see the BRICS bloc as a credible alternative. Another world, another bloc, that faces the West and will allow an alliance where people come together, where people feel comfortable and where people can get help,” the economic expert stated.
According to Makalou, the rise of the BRICS and the Global South is inevitable.
“There is no longer any question of having a unipolar world. And I think that these international financial organisations, especially those of Bretton Woods, are obliged to change!” the expert concluded. “And so I think that global governance itself has to change, whether it is financial, political or social.”
This article was originally published on Sputnik