The discussions around potential new members are poised to reshape global dynamics, as BRICS continues to seek to push for a shift in global geopolitics with Chinese President Xi Jinping calling on the bloc of emerging markets to fasttrack a plan to expand its members at the summit in South Africa.
“I am glad to see growing enthusiasm from developing countries about participating in BRICS,” Xi said in a speech at the event on Wednesday, as his country leads a push to give the group more clout on the world stage, Bloomberg reported.
The bloc should “accelerate the BRICS expansion process to bring more countries into the BRICS family,” he added.
The BRICS club presents a potential to challenge the existing global order and the dominance of unipolarity.
Some 20 nations have formally applied to join the grouping – these are reported to include Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Egypt.
Iran is also among dozens of countries seeking membership in BRICS and has submitted a formal request to join the body. At least 40 countries have shown interest in becoming members, with 23 having submitted their applications.
Going into the summit, there was some disagreement over the plan, and how it should be executed. While South Africa and Russia backed the addition of new members, Brazil was worried about alienating the West.
Addressing the summit, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi Modi suggested several areas, -- including New Development Bank of BRICS – where the BRICS partners could cooperate and work together, Times of India reported.
“India fully supports the expansion of BRICS membership and we welcome moving forward based on consensus,” Modi said. Shortly after, Xi added that an expanded BRICS would “make global governance more equitable.”
Modi hoped that India’s proposal to make the African Union a permanent member of the G20 will be supported by BRICS member nations.
Modi welcomed the move to give special importance to countries of the Global South under the South African presidency of the BRICS and said “We wholeheartedly welcome the move to give special importance to countries of global south under South Africa’s BRICS presidency.”
“New Development Bank of BRICS playing important role in development of Global South,” he added.
Russian President Vladimir Putin also participated remotely in the three-day meeting of the bloc. He took multiple shots at the West on the opening day of an economic summit in South Africa, using a prerecorded speech that was aired on giant screens Tuesday to rail at what he called “illegitimate sanctions” on his country and threaten to cut off Ukraine’s grain exports permanently, AP reported.
The five BRICS countries are already home to 40% of the world’s population and responsible for more than 30% of global economic output, and more than 20 nations have applied to join, according to South African officials, including Saudi Arabia, Iran and the United Arab Emirates.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi and Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan planned to attend the summit.
The five current member countries will have to agree on the criteria for new members before any countries are admitted.