It’s a multipolar world. And the BRICS countries mean to put this new reality to their advantage as much as they can.
The new year begins with a brand new reality for the BRICS group: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa are now joined by Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Iran, and Ethiopia as new members.
Saudi state TV celebrated that the kingdom would officially join the BRICS bloc of countries.
“Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister had said in August the kingdom would study the details before the proposed Jan. 1 joining date and take ‘the appropriate decision’.
Prince Faisal bin Farhan had said the BRICS group was ‘a beneficial and important channel’ to strengthen economic cooperation.
[…] continued strong ties with the U.S., Saudi Arabia has increasingly pursued its own path out of concern that Washington is less committed to the Gulf’s security than in the past.”
Saudi Arabia’s biggest oil customer is China, a country which has led calls for the BRICs to expand, and become a counterweight to the West.
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The BRICS countries mean to become champions of the ‘Global South’, a platform for cooperation among emerging markets and developing countries.
With the doubling of its members, the group’s clout on the global stage is expected to increase.
Africa News reported:
“The newly expanded BRICS has a combined population of about 3.5 billion people, with a combined economy worth over $28.5tn or about 28% of the global economy”
BRICS countries are hoping that the expansion will lead to greater representation for emerging economies and a chance to move away from reliance on the US dollar.
In August last year, Brazil’s president called for BRICS nations to adopt a common currency for trade and investment between each other.
Other feature of the new year: Russia took over the BRICS presidency, following on from South Africa’s chairmanship in 2023. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s official address as new BRICS president:
“On January 1, Russia was passed the baton of the BRICS chairmanship, an association which, according to the decision adopted by the 15th BRICS Summit in August 2022, now includes 10 countries. Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates joined BRICS as new full members which is a strong indication of the growing authority of the association and its role in international affairs.
BRICS is attracting an ever increasing number of supporters and like-minded countries that share its underlying principles, namely, sovereign equality, respect for the chosen path of development, mutual consideration of interests, openness, consensus, the aspiration to form a multipolar international order and a fair global financial and trade system, and pursuit of collective solutions to top challenges of our time.”
Putin (cont.) : “In general, Russia will continue to promote all aspects of the BRICS partnership in three key areas: politics and security, economy and finance, and cultural and humanitarian contacts.
Naturally, we will focus on enhancing foreign policy coordination among the member countries and on jointly seeking effective responses to the challenges and threats to international and regional security and stability.
[…] Our priorities include promoting cooperation in science, high technology, healthcare, environmental protection, culture, sports, youth exchanges, and civil society.
In total, over 200 events of different levels and types will be held in many Russian cities as part of the chairmanship. We encourage representatives of all countries interested in cooperating with our organization to take part in them. The BRICS Summit in Kazan in October will be the culmination of our chairmanship.
As Russia assumes its chairmanship, it looks forward to working productively with all countries in the BRICS orbit.”