BRICS: Shaping a new multipolar world order

Expansion process underway, admission framework yet to be finalized
BRICS: Shaping a new multipolar world order
(Left to right) President of Brazil Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, President of China Xi Jinping, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi and Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov pose for a BRICS family photo during the 2023 BRICS Summit (Photo Credit: Reuters)

The issue of expanding the BRICS group has taken center stage at the three-day summit held in Johannesburg. While all BRICS members have publicly shown support for the bloc’s growth, differing opinions among the leaders have emerged regarding the extent and pace of this expansion.

During the summit, South Africa’s foreign minister, Naledi Pandor, announced on Wednesday that BRICS leaders have reached a consensus on the mechanisms for evaluating potential new members. She stated, “We have agreed on the matter of expansion.”

Pandor mentioned that they have adopted a document outlining guidelines, principles, and processes for evaluating countries aspiring to join BRICS. She expressed her optimism, stating that this development is a positive step forward.

However, according to Reuters, the leaders have not yet signed a finalized admission framework. This indicates that the process of establishing the framework for admitting new members is still ongoing.

Read more: Saudi, UAE, among 6 countries agreeing to join BRICS

Multipolar world

UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan said the country looks forward to working with BRICS for the benefit of all, and is looking forward to joining the bloc.

China, a prominent member of the bloc, has consistently advocated for the expansion of BRICS as a strategy to promote a multipolar world order and counterbalance Western influence.

China’s President Xi Jinping acknowledged that the world has entered a new era of turbulence and transformation. He emphasized the importance for the BRICS countries to uphold their founding purpose of strengthening themselves through unity. President Xi Jinping stated that it is crucial for the BRICS countries to always keep this objective in mind.

India and Brazil

In contrast, both Brazil and India have been actively cultivating stronger relationships with Western nations.

Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva dismissed the notion that the bloc should aim to compete with the United States (U.S.) and the Group of Seven (G7) wealthy economies.

Modi was also advocating for the implementation of a minimum per capita GDP requirement. However, he expressed his welcome towards the expansion, stating that his country has always believed that the addition of new members would enhance the strength of the bloc.

40 countries

South African officials have stated that over 40 countries have shown interest in joining BRICS, and among them, 22 have made formal requests for admission.

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa said on August 24, 2023, that Saudi Arabia and UAE have been invited to join the BRICS as part of the first phase of expansion. Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Iran also agreed to join the new membership which will be effective from January 1, 2024.

Global influence

Also, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, attended the summit remotely.

In a video message, the Russian President Vladimir Putin extended his congratulations to the new members of BRICS. He further emphasized that the global influence of the bloc would continue to expand.

Historic expansion

China’s President Xi Jinping described the expansion of the bloc as “historic,” emphasizing the determination to unite and cooperate with developing countries. Jinping stated that this expansion would inject new impetus into the BRICS cooperation mechanism and enhance the global power for peace and development.

Appropriate decision

According to Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, the Kingdom is awaiting specific details from the BRICS group regarding the nature of the membership. Based on these details, Saudi Arabia will make an appropriate decision regarding its involvement in the bloc.

All six countries that received invitations had previously expressed their interest in joining. Currently, the BRICS group consists of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

Part of the BRICS Summit (Photo from AFP)

Valuable platform

The Saudi foreign minister acknowledged that the bloc had demonstrated its significance as a valuable platform for enhancing economic cooperation with countries in the Global South. Bin Farhan conveyed to the BRICS conference earlier on Thursday that the kingdom would persist as a secure and dependable energy provider. In addition, he highlighted that the total bilateral trade between Saudi Arabia and BRICS nations surpassed $160 billion in 2022.

Significant development

According to the UAE Minister of Economy Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, the UAE’s inclusion in BRICS presents significant development prospects due to the presence of the world’s fastest growing economies. The minister stated that the UAE’s BRICS membership creates substantial economic, trade, and investment opportunities, which would bring about a transformative impact on the economic environment of BRICS countries and the global economy as a whole. Furthermore, Al Marri highlighted the significance of economic blocs in shaping the current and future economic landscape, contributing to global economic stability, growth, international trade, investment flows, and the flexibility of global supply chains.

GDP contribution

The collective population of the Brics five currently represents approximately 42 percent of the world’s population. Additionally, they contribute over 23 percent of the global GDP. With the expansion of the grouping, the new composition will account for 46.5 percent of the world’s population. Based on the IMF’s 2022 GDP data, World of Statistics has calculated that the expanded Brics will contribute to around 30 percent of the global GDP.

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