South Africa hosts the BRICS meetings this year, and this week’s summit takes place in Johannesburg, the largest metropolis in the country.
Typically, this would not have caused an issue. It is now a prominent problem since the International Criminal Court (ICC) wants Russian President Vladimir Putin arrested for crimes related to the invasion of Ukraine.
South Africa is a member of the ICC, which means they obey the court’s decrees and are bound to carry them, implying that the authorities would be obligated to arrest Putin as soon as he stepped foot on South African land.
To avoid causing problems, Putin attends the meeting online. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov represents Moscow instead.
There are two main agendas of the forum. The first is enlargement, and the second is a new currency.
Including Türkiye, two scores of countries declared will to access, while around half of that number applied formally.
The new and common currency aims to topple the US dollar’s hegemony in the global economy while incorporating the less advantaged countries into the world system.
EXPANSION OF THE “SOUTH POLE”
BRICS comprises Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. These countries constitute slightly more than a quarter of the world’s nominal GDP and area, fostering more than 40 percent of the global population.
Except for South Africa, all organization members are viewed as "potential superpowers," making the group a potent pole in international relations. The twenty-first century is sometimes known as "The Chinese Century" or "The Asian Century," emphasizing developing Asian countries.
As a result of these circumstances, an increasing number of states have expressed interest in the partnership. Currently, forty countries are interested, with twenty-three having submitted formal applications.
What makes BRICS highly attractive is not only the current and potential might of the members but also the projects and proposals.
One such project designates to transform the contemporary economic organization by toppling the US dollar with a mutual currency of BRICS.
Such a move will accelerate the shift in the global poles by dethroning Washington. The Eastern World and the Global South have been rising steadily for the past two decades minimum.
In case of enlargement and the creation of a currency, the member countries will gain an indisputable upper hand in world affairs.
Per Nils Adler’s article in Al Jazeera, analysts anticipate an expansion of influence among the BRICS nations; however, the suggested economic transition is more inclined to unfold incrementally rather than bringing about a dramatic replacement of the existing status quo.
Adler warns that such piecemeal changes might lead to increased confrontations with the West as BRICS leaders seek to define their course in an uncertain world.
The new currency can also de-stress the New Development Bank. According to Adler, the organization’s bank has been bound to the US dollar since it was established.
Still, the expansion means two things: First, there are dozens of countries with a different vision for world order. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa voiced the desire for a systemic change in a national address before the summit, saying, “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.”
Second, some interested countries are allies with the West, while some are in between. Such intricate relations may cause issues in relations, although this possibility seems distant.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa declared that expansion would benefit the organization.
Ramaphosa stated that the two countries had similar views regarding the topic. Calling his Chinese counterpart, the South African President said, “We share your view President Xi that BRICS is a vitally important forum which plays an important role in the reform of global governance and in the promotion of multilateralism and cooperation throughout the world.”
In conclusion, the XV. BRICS summit, hosted by South Africa, carries significant implications for the organization's future trajectory and global dynamics. As the center of global power shifts away from the West, an increasing number of countries express their interest in joining BRICS, underscoring the organization's growing influence.
Mansur Ali Bilgiç - firstname.lastname@example.org
(Flag photo credit: Reprodução Agência Brasil)