At the recent BRICS group meeting held in South Africa, foreign ministers urged a “rebalancing” of the global order, advocating for less Western dominance.
The group, which includes Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, discussed topics ranging from the potential use of alternative currencies for international trade to bolstering their New Development Bank.
South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor voiced the group’s vision of providing global leadership in a world marked by geopolitical tension, inequality, and global insecurity. Pandor hosted the discussions and positioned the BRICS bloc as a champion of the developing world. She criticized wealthier nations and global organizations for neglecting the developing world during the COVID-19 crisis. Pandor said, “The world has faltered in cooperation. Developed countries have never met their commitments to the developing world and are trying to shift all responsibility to the global South.”
Several countries attended the “Friends of BRICS” discussions in Cape Town, including Iran, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Cuba. Other nations, such as Egypt, Argentina, Bangladesh, Guinea-Bissau, and Indonesia, participated virtually.
The coalition seeks to expand its membership, aspiring to provide a meaningful counterbalance to Western powers. Once a loosely bound group of emerging economies, the bloc has become more organized in recent years, primarily due to China’s influence, and has garnered momentum since the onset of the Russia-Ukraine conflict in 2022.
Last year, China initiated the call for new members, and other members have since recognized potential candidates. However, the mechanism for admitting new members still requires refining.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov disclosed that “more than a dozen” countries have shown interest in joining the BRICS group, with possible expansions potentially encompassing oil-producing nations such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the UAE.
Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar added that principles, standards, criteria, and procedures for expanding BRICS are still being discussed.
Political analysts view BRICS as a potential counterbalance to Western dominance, reflecting a shift towards a more multi-polar world order.