SANI – Promoting Active Citizenry to Fight Inequality in the BRICS

Posted in: BRICS, Inequality, South Africa

Most of the time we all ask this question: “What can I do about the poverty and inequality I see around me?” Poverty and Inequality around me This short video by SANI aims at address this question and more. Even though the government has the biggest responsibility in addressing inequality in a nation, the video will help us understand how we, as individuals, can influence the policy decisions by governments and make a difference. According to the 2013 Income and Expenditure Survey, South Africa is one of the most Unequal societies in the world with a Gini Co-efficient of 0.7 (the measure is specific to Income Inequality) Through active citizenry and constantly holding governments accountable, ordinary citizens can contributes to the eradication of inequality. Empowering both the ordinary citizens and/or Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to effect change ground up is the key Among other key international influencing moments, SANI and ECSN program have identified BRICS and the forums to conduct evidence based advocacy for the eradication of inequality The video identifies areas where CSOs can apply pressure effectively and influence policy decisions both in South Africa and BRICAM nations

  1. Formal Power- For example in South Africa citizens and CSOs can influence policymakers through Parliament and direct engagement with ministers (invited spaces) eg integrated development planning meetings
  2. International power- eg donor countries or countries trading with South Africa can influence policy decisions. CSOs can influence governments in international forums
  3. Informal Power-Citizens are the most important part of this power because they are directly affected by the policies and understand inequality hardships. Organized citizens are able to influence decisions and are able to achieve favourable policies

The New BRICS Development Bank has been highlighted to show how active citizenry can ensure that CSOs can influence the international fora to reduce inequality. It highlights both the opportunities and risks the new bank has in realizing a transformative developmental agenda within the BRICS states So how can CSOs ensure that opportunities associated with this bank are maximized and risks mitigated?

  1. With South Africa hosting the African Regional Centre for the New BRICS Bank -CSOs have direct chance to influence policy makers to actively invest in infrastructure both in SA and Africa at large in order to address inequality
  2. CSOs can use Insider-Outsider advocacy strategy to address inequality in BRICS nations. With Insider being (working with governments to influence policies) and Outsider being (to mobilize ordinary citizens and CBOs to influence governments outside of government structures)

More on SANI, ECSN, BRICS and The New BRICS Development Bank and how active citizenry plays a part in fighting inequality:-

Watch the Full Video: SANI-Promoting Active Citizenry to Fight Inequality in the BRICS

To learn more on The South African Network on Inequality (SANI)  kindly visit their Website at

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