Leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) will meet in South Africa on August 22 to 24, to discuss how to turn a group of nations, accounting for a quarter of the world’s economy, into a geopolitical force that can challenge the Western world’s dominance in global affairs.
The term “BRIC” was coined by British economist Jim O’Neill in 2006, as South Africa joined the bloc in 2010.
Jim O’Neill is currently a member of the UK’s House of Lords.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin will not be present at the meeting in Johannesburg on August 22-24. The controversial world leader faces an international arrest warrant over alleged war crimes in Ukraine, according to Reuters, August 17.
Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, will be the delegate for Moscow at the summit.
The Russian government has confirmed that BRICS will introduce a new trading currency backed by gold. The official announcement is expected to be made during the summit in South Africa.
Leaders from the four other countries will discuss the potential expansion of the bloc to include dozens of “Global South” nations who are determined to join.
Chinese President XI Jinping as well as Brazil’s President Lula and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be welcomed by South Africa in the upcoming summit.
The World Bank notes that BRICS accounts for more than 40 percent of the global population and the five countries have a combined GDP of more than $23 trillion. This accounts to just over 25 percent of the world’s economy.
Spread over the globe and with economies that operate in vastly different ways, the main thing uniting the BRICS is scepticism about a world order they see as serving the interests of the US and its rich-country allies who promote international norms they enforce without always respecting them.
Expansion of the bloc is expected to be a top priority in the upcoming discussions. It is believed that around forty nations have an interest in joining the bloc. Key countries include Saudi Arabia, Argentina and Egypt.
The second largest global economy, China is seeking to expand its geopolitical influence as it clashes with the United States and the enlargement of the bloc would benefit the country whilst Brazil is in opposition to a potential expansion fearing the already massive group could lose its value.
The Kremlin needs allies to counter its isolation due to the current situation in Ukraine, therefore would be keen to bring in new members. South Africa is currently Russia’s most important African ally.