Should Tanzania Join BRICS? The Case for Saying “YES!”

Should Tanzania Join BRICS? The Case for Saying “YES!”

President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Hon. Samia Suluhu Hassan, in talks with the President of China, Hon. Xi Jinping, on the sidelines of the BRICS meeting taking place in Johannesburg, South Africa on August 24, 2023.

Share this article


Today, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the expansion of BRICS to include six new members: Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and UAE. Membership effective from Jan 1, 2024.

BRICS, if you’re scratching your head, is like the ‘cool club’ of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa – nations that have been making headlines and shaking up global politics. As they keep adding chairs to their table, many, including us Tanzanians, wonder if it’s worth scooting over and grabbing a seat.

Historically, Tanzania’s been that friendly neighbor who waves to everyone in the street, east or west. We’ve always believed in making friends far and wide. Now, with BRICS potentially rolling out the red carpet for new members, it’s like receiving a golden ticket. But should we use it? So, let’s embark on this journey, shall we? Will Tanzania hit the high notes with BRICS, or is it better to dance to our own rhythm? Let’s find out!

The Skepticism Surrounding BRICS Expansion

Now, before we get too caught up in the glitz and glamour of BRICS, let’s play a bit of devil’s advocate. You know, like that one friend who, when you’re about to make an impulsive buy, asks, “Do you really need that?” So, should Tanzania Join BRICS without giving it a second thought?

BRICS Potential Incoherence:

  • Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen? Imagine you’re trying to make a stew with chefs from different parts of the world. Each comes with their own recipes, spices, and cooking styles. The more chefs, the harder it might be to agree on the flavor of the stew. Similarly, with too many members hopping onto the BRICS bandwagon, there’s a risk of the group’s focus getting as scattered as spilled beans.

Balancing Diverse Interests:

  • A Tightrope Walk: Each country in BRICS has its own tune playing in the background, with diverse economic and political interests. If Tanzania joins BRICS, we’d be stepping into a dance where everyone is trying to synchronize, even when the beats don’t always match. It’s like attempting to blend jazz, samba, and bongo flava into one song!

De-dollarisation Dreams and Realities:

  • Chasing the Money Mirage: De-dollarisation sounds great on paper, but in practice? Let’s just say the BRICS track record has been like a seesaw – sometimes up, sometimes down. Like trying to introduce a new currency in the local market – intriguing but filled with challenges.

Navigating the West-East Winds:

  • Choosing the Dance Partners: The BRICS group has a love-hate relationship with the West. Some BRICS nations sway to the East’s tunes, while others groove with the West. If Tanzania decides to join this dance, we’d need some seriously nimble feet to navigate the dance floor without stepping on anyone’s toes.

In essence, joining BRICS is like getting a membership to an exclusive club. It sounds exciting, offers some flashy perks, but also comes with its fair share of fine print. As with any big decision, we need to read between the lines and decide if this club truly aligns with the rhythm of Tanzania’s heart and aspirations.

The Allure of BRICS for Tanzania

Imagine you’re window-shopping and suddenly come across a flashy new store called BRICS. Its displays seem to promise economic prosperity, political weight, and perhaps a dash of global recognition. This store seems to be where all the ‘cool countries’ are shopping.

Economic Opportunities:

  • The Green Goldmine: One of the shining items on display is the New Development Bank. If Tanzania joins BRICS, we might be looking at some exciting deals that lean into green development and sustainability. Imagine turning our abundant landscapes into sustainable gold mines, without harming Mother Nature one bit!
  • The Trade Tango: With BRICS countries accounting for a significant chunk of the global GDP and trade pie, Tanzania could potentially tap into this lucrative market. It’s like getting an exclusive invite to a high-end party where every conversation could lead to a promising business deal.

Political Implications:

  • Stronger Handshakes: By considering “Should Tanzania Join BRICS?”, we’re not just thinking about economic ties. We’re looking at handshakes that could resonate in political corridors across the globe. These are emerging giants in the global playground, and playing with them could mean more friends and fewer bullies.
  • Diplomatic Dances: Ever dreamed of Tanzania twirling on the global stage with more grace and confidence? Joining a bloc like BRICS could be that dance lesson we need. It’s not just about the economy; it’s about having a voice that echoes a bit louder in global discussions.

Tanzania’s Unique Challenges and Concerns

Ah, Tanzania. Our beautiful homeland with its majestic Kilimanjaro and the soothing waves of Zanzibar. But every paradise has its complexities, right? Let’s talk about what makes our decision to potentially join BRICS not as straightforward as choosing between rice and ugali for dinner.

BRICS: A Friend or a Thorny Rose for Tanzania?

  • Playing with the Big Kids: Aligning with BRICS might look like we’re just trying to fit in with the cool kids on the block. But we’ve got to remember that this bloc is often seen as throwing shade at the West. It’s like befriending the rebels in school – thrilling but might earn a few frowns from the teachers.

The Big Fish in an Even Bigger Pond Dilemma:

  • Size Matters: In the current global setup, Tanzania has its voice and influence. But in a rapidly expanding BRICS? We might find ourselves being the small fish in a vast ocean, trying to shout over the voices of giant whales. And let’s face it, no one likes being overshadowed, especially not by the loud neighbors.

Economic Twists and Turns:

  • Dancing with Dollars: Currently, our economic tango is largely led by the dollar’s rhythm. So, breaking away and grooving to a new BRICS currency? It’s like swapping salsa for traditional ngoma overnight. Exciting but with its set of stumbles and missteps.
  • The Dollar Dependency: Let’s not kid ourselves. A good portion of our trade and transactions lean on the dollar. While the allure of a new BRICS currency sounds like a fresh beat, we need to think about the transition woes. It’s like transitioning from listening to music on CDs to streaming online – there’s a learning curve.

From Washington to Brussels: Independence Beyond Aid

Imagine the U.S., with the imposing stature of the White House and the fervor of Wall Street, suddenly casting a curious glance our way. It’s almost cinematic, isn’t it? Joining BRICS might be akin to us unexpectedly siding with a new team during an intense global soccer match. And let’s be real – America has always seen itself as the leading striker. Our BRICS alignment might just feel like we’re swapping jerseys right at halftime. Exciting, sure, but it’s bound to cause a stir.

Many might wonder, why should we toe the line or worry about the perceptions in Washington, or elsewhere for that matter? Here’s a reality check. The U.S. has been a stalwart partner in Tanzania’s developmental journey. In 2022 alone, a whopping $600,634,498 was channeled our way, marking us as a primary recipient among many nations. These funds fueled several pivotal initiatives:

  • Reach Targeted Children and Youth with PEPFAR: $41.8 million to deliver crucial services under the USAID PEPFAR Programs (RCAY).
  • TMEC: Meeting Targets and Maintaining Epidemic Control (EpiC): Garnering support of $38.39 million.
  • McGovern-Dole Program: With a dedicated fund of $28.5 million.
  • CDC: President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (GHP): Backed with $27.93 million.
  • Comprehensive Client-Centered Health Program HIV/TB LOC (C3HP): Drawing an allocation of $23.28 million.

A Reality We Can’t Ignore: The Strings of Aid

The sight of road signs reading “From the American People” evokes a spectrum of feelings. On one hand, it’s a testimony to the global solidarity we’ve received. But on the other, it’s a jarring reminder that foreign aid isn’t an altruistic freebie.

Sure, it’s uncomfortable acknowledging our reliance on such significant foreign aid. But, dismissing the notion that this assistance comes with expectations? That’s sheer naivety. Our aspiration? To evolve from a nation that leans on aid to one that thrives on trade, partnerships, and internal prowess. Our alliance decisions, whether with BRICS or another entity, should be steered by a vision of autonomy, a vision where we call the shots, free from external pressures or ulterior motives.

In a world where the balance of power constantly shifts, Tanzania must strategize, not just for the present, but for a future where our decisions, partnerships, and progress are dictated not by the aid we receive, but by the independent path we carve.

Should Tanzania Join BRICS? The Case for Saying “YES!”

You know that feeling when you’re on the cusp of a significant decision, teetering between the pros and cons? Tanzania stands at such a crossroads. With BRICS beckoning emerging economies, the question lingers – should Tanzania extend its hand?

A Reality Check

Let’s be candid here! Tanzania cannot become a member of the elite G7 or G20. It’s not a pessimistic view, but a pragmatic one. We must chart our course with clarity, looking for alignments where we genuinely fit in. This naturally nudges our gaze towards economic alliances like BRICS where the criteria seem more in sync with our national profile and aspirations.

BRICS: A Canvas of Opportunities

  1. Shared Development Goals: BRICS countries have been monumental in their development trajectories. Aligning with them offers Tanzania a chance to glean from their experiences, accelerating our development journey.
  2. A Collective Voice: Being a part of such an alliance means having a stronger voice in global affairs. Tanzania, instead of being a mere spectator, can actively shape and influence international policy decisions.
  3. Economic Leverage: With BRICS controlling a significant chunk of global GDP, joining the alliance could catapult Tanzania into a sphere of greater economic influence and robust trade partnerships.
  4. Cultural Exchange: BRICS isn’t just about economy and politics. It’s a melting pot of diverse cultures. For Tanzania, this means a richer cultural exchange, fostering understanding and camaraderie.

The Power of Collaboration

In this interconnected world, no country is an island (even if geographically it might be!). The strength of any nation today lies in its strategic alliances. And BRICS? It’s not just another alliance; it’s an embodiment of emerging powers taking the reins of their destiny.

For Tanzania, this isn’t about hopping onto a trending bandwagon. It’s about recognizing where our future lies, with whom our aspirations align, and which global narrative we want to be a part of.

In conclusion, the winds of change are blowing, and BRICS has hoisted its sail. For Tanzania, it might just be the right time to climb aboard and set sail towards a promising horizon. So, should we join BRICS? All signs point to a resounding “YES!”

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Leave a comment
scroll to top