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The Asia-Pacific Report

Sameera Casmod |
24 August 2023 | 07:05am SAST
2-min read

Picture: University of Newcastle

Photo: University of Newcastle

Exploring the impact and expansion of BRICS

The fifteenth BRICS summit held at the Sandton Convention Centre between 22 and 24 August 2023 was the first in-person summit since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019.  With an emphasis on global governance reform and inclusive multilateralism, BRICS has been navigating its role in the ever-evolving international landscape. Sanusha Naidoo, senior research fellow at the Institute for Global Dialogue, shares insights on the dynamics of BRICS and its potential expansion in this week’s Asia-Pacific Report.

Naidoo reflects on BRICS’ journey, highlighting that it had been carrying out its activities rather quietly before the pandemic. However, the post-pandemic era has brought BRICS into the spotlight, intensifying discussions about its trajectory, particularly in terms of investment. Institutions like the New Development Bank and the Contingency Reserve Arrangement have been pivotal in BRICS’ initiatives.

As the global economy faces the repercussions of the pandemic, including disruptions in global value chains and financial transactions, BRICS has gained prominence in discussions around the geopolitics of the international system. Naidoo draws parallels with historical events that led to the formation of significant international groupings like the G7 and G20. She suggests that BRICS is undergoing a transformative phase, capturing global attention and provoking contemplation about its future impact.

The issue of expansion is a central topic at this year’s BRICS summit. Naidoo highlights that there is consensus among the heads of state about the need for expansion. The expansion would mark BRICS 2.0, building on the 2010 inclusion of South Africa. Candidates from different regions, such as Indonesia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Argentina, and Nigeria, are being discussed for observer status or potential full membership. These potential additions reflect a strategic intent to deepen regional engagement within various blocs.

The expansion discussions are not just about political inclusion; they signify the growth of regional blocs. Countries like Indonesia, due to their strategic location and economic growth, can play a pivotal role in Southeast Asia. Similarly, Argentina, Egypt, and Middle Eastern countries like Saudi Arabia and the UAE hold significance in their respective regions. The notion of regional expansion within BRICS is pivotal in understanding the strategic intent behind the potential candidates.

As President Ramaphosa prepares to address the media about the outcomes of the summit, attention is directed toward expansion criteria and potential first cohort countries. India’s successful moon vehicle landing adds another layer of significance to the BRICS summit. The deliberations and momentum at the summit suggest a notable shift in the international system, leaving observers and experts curious about the imminent changes it might usher in.

Listen to The Asia-Pacific Report on Sabaahul Muslim with Moulana Junaid Kharsany.


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