The BRICS bloc, comprised of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, is currently convening in Johannesburg for a summit that seeks to foster global cooperation and promote the interests of the developing Global South. While some members advocate for an expanded BRICS that could potentially rival the United States and the G7 wealthy economies, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva emphasized that the bloc’s intention is not to undermine or compete with existing power structures, but to simply organize themselves and amplify their collective voice.
The geopolitical landscape, marked by heightened tensions such as the war in Ukraine and the growing rivalry between China and the United States, has prompted China and Russia to advocate for a stronger BRICS bloc. However, some members remain skeptical of this vision, and the decision on expansion will determine the future of the bloc, which has faced criticism for its lack of cohesion.
The South African host of the summit, President Cyril Ramaphosa, shares the view of Chinese President Xi Jinping on expanding BRICS and believes that it plays a crucial role in global governance reform and the promotion of multilateralism. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also attending the summit, although Russian President Vladimir Putin will be attending virtually due to an international arrest warrant against him relating to alleged war crimes in Ukraine.
While the agenda of the summit includes discussions on expanding the use of member states’ local currencies, there will be no talks on establishing a BRICS currency as an alternative to reliance on the US dollar. The members of BRICS represent a diverse range of economies, from China as the world’s second largest economy to South Africa facing economic challenges, including a power crisis. The group’s decision-making process relies on consensus, which can be complicated by periodic border clashes between China and India.
The summit will include a mini-retreat and dinner where leaders will likely discuss the framework and criteria for admitting new countries. Russia is particularly keen on expanding the bloc, while India approaches the issue cautiously due to concerns about Chinese dominance. Brazil, on the other hand, has expressed concern that expansion could dilute its influence but remains open to the idea of Argentina joining the bloc.
The goal of BRICS to become a champion of the developing world and offer an alternative to the dominance of wealthy Western nations has garnered interest from over 40 countries, with nearly two dozen formally requesting admission to the bloc. The BRICS summit in Johannesburg represents an opportunity for these countries to engage with and contribute to a more balanced global order.
- What is the BRICS bloc?
- What is the objective of the BRICS summit?
- Is the BRICS bloc aiming to rival the G7 and G20?
- Are there concerns about the cohesion of the BRICS bloc?
- What countries are interested in joining BRICS?
The BRICS bloc is an association of five major emerging national economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. These countries represent a significant portion of the world population and GDP.
The BRICS summit aims to foster global cooperation and amplify the collective voice of the developing Global South. It seeks to address common challenges, promote economic growth, and reform global governance.
No, the BRICS bloc’s intention is not to rival or compete with the United States, the G7, or the G20. The focus is on organizing themselves and promoting their own interests as emerging economies.
Yes, there have been criticisms about the lack of cohesion within the BRICS bloc due to the diverse range of economies and differing national interests among its members. The issue of expansion further complicates decision-making.
Over 40 countries have expressed interest in joining BRICS. Nearly two dozen have formally requested admission, with some sending delegations to engage with the bloc during the summit.