XV BRICS Summit Opens in Johannesburg

XV BRICS Summit Opens in Johannesburg
Photo: eurasiabusinessnews.com 22.08.2023 272

During the summit, the leaders of the member states are expected to address the issues of expanding the organization and deepening mutual trade of the BRICS member states.

The XV summit of the BRICS group, which includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, from August 22 to 24. The theme of the current meeting is “BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Mutually Accelerated Growth, Sustainable Development and Inclusive Multilateralism."

Four of the five leaders of the association — South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi — will take part in the events in Johannesburg. Russian President Vladimir Putin will not attend the summit due to an arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC). Putin will deliver a video address and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will participate in face-to-face meetings instead.

The summit, with the main event on Wednesday and parallel meetings on Tuesday and Thursday, is expected to feature common calls for greater cooperation among countries in the Global South amid growing discontent with Western dominance of the global economy and politics. No clear procedure for accepting new members has yet been announced. There is a possibility that its concept will be presented at the summit. 

More than 40 countries have expressed interest in joining BRICS, South African officials said. Of these, 23 countries have formally applied to join the organization.

"An expanded BRICS will represent a diverse group of nations with different political systems that share a common desire to have a more balanced global order," 

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said in an address to the nation on the eve of the summit.

Iran and Venezuela are seeking BRICS to ease their isolation (both countries are under Western sanctions). Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates see BRICS as a tool to gain a more prominent role in global organizations. African candidates Ethiopia and Nigeria support BRICS members' idea that reforms are needed at the UN that would strengthen the representation and role of the African continent. Other BRICS candidates want changes in the way the world's financial institutions — the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank — operate.

"Argentina has insistently called for a reconfiguration of the international financial architecture,"

an Argentine government official involved in the negotiations to join BRICS told Reuters.

Brazil has so far opposed the expansion of the organization, concerned that the group will lose stature if other nations are let in.

Deepening mutual trade among BRICS member countries in national currencies will also be an important issue for discussion at the summit in South Africa. In July, South Africa's sherpa in the grouping, Anil Sooklal, said that members would continue to look for ways to partially abandon the use of the dollar in international trade, but denied rumors that a joint currency could be that way.

BRICS also remains an important format for developing a joint position on competition policy issues. The antitrust authorities of the alliance member states actively promote international cooperation and healthy competition, also in global markets. The BRICS International Competition Conference will be held on October 11-13 in India. 

According to theInternational Monetary Fund (IMF), the combined share of the BRICS countries in the global GDP equaled that of the Group of Seven (G7) and even slightly surpassed it in 2022. Today, the countries of both alliances each contribute about 30% to global GDP. It is expected that by 2030 BRICS will provide more than 50% of the world GDP.

A total of 69 leaders from Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean have been invited to the summit.

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