The much anticipated BRICS summit commenced in South Africa on Tuesday, August 22, marking the beginning of a gathering where the coalition of major emerging economies aims to establish itself as a counterbalance to the predominant Western-led global order.
Comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, the BRICS nations collectively account for a quarter of the world economy and about 40 percent of the World’s population. South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, has hinted that interest in joining the group has surged leading up to the three-day summit hosted in Johannesburg. About 40 countries, excluding Ghana, have applied so far.
This is the fifteenth gathering of the group that comprises democratic and authoritarian states at varying levels of economic growth, with a common desire for a global order they see as better reflecting their interests.
Channels TV reports that security measures have been heightened throughout the city, where South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is hosting esteemed leaders including China’s President Xi Jinping, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, and around 50 other dignitaries.
While Russian President Vladimir Putin, who faces an international arrest warrant concerning alleged war crimes in Ukraine, did not attend the event in person, he addressed the summit through a pre-recorded video. Representing Russia in Johannesburg is Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
China, as the most influential economy within the BRICS, is using President Xi’s state visit to South Africa – his second international trip this year – to further advocate for the rapid expansion of the group’s membership.
“As friends and partners in BRICS, we are united in our shared objective and pursuit of a more just and equitable global world,” Ramaphosa remarked during the opening of Xi’s visit in Pretoria.
BRICS is an acronym denoting the emerging national economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. The term was originally coined in 2001 as “BRIC” by the Goldman Sachs economist Jim O’Neill in his report. South Africa which is the only African country in this bloc joined in December 2010.