The global economic alliance known as BRICS is witnessing a spike in interest from countries looking to join its ranks. According to Anlil Sooklal, South Africa’s top diplomat in charge of BRICS relations, 22 countries have formally requested membership, while the same number have expressed informal interest. This includes major global south countries seeking to align with the group’s goals.
Currently made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, the BRICS is grappling to expand its coalition. The upcoming summit will focus on the rate and speed of this expansion as interested entities such as Argentina, Iran and Saudi Arabia seek to join the alliance.
Over the past year, Sooklal and the rest of the group have worked diligently to prioritize and organize expansion efforts. This month, BRICS leaders will gather to discuss the details of welcoming the new country to their group.
Next week, a special sherpa meeting will take place in Durban, South Africa, to finalize an expansion report, which will then be forwarded to ministers. In late July, South Africa will hold a virtual meeting of foreign ministers to present recommendations for leaders’ consideration during the August summit.
The BRICS was originally founded as an alternative to the hegemony of the US dollar, seeking to create its own financial system. The group is empowered, in part, by the New Development Bank (NDB), which provides support to member countries’ public and private projects through loans, equity participation, and other economic tactics.
Naledi Pandor, Minister for Foreign Affairs of South Africa, expressed his encouragement for the growth and sustainability of the NDB. Banks are critical in helping new members establish themselves on the global economic stage, which has historically been dominated by the US and its Western allies. By providing financing for infrastructure needs, supporting the opening up of regional value chains, and localizing productive capacity, NDBs prove to be valuable assets for member countries.
As BRICS leaders consider expansion and welcome new countries, the alliance’s influence and impact on the global economic landscape is poised to increase significantly. With the potential entry of major players from the global south, BRICS is poised to diversify its reach even further and assert itself as a force to be reckoned with in the international economic arena.