The BRICS foreign ministers convened in Cape Town, South Africa, to discuss the potential expansion of the bloc and the establishment of a common currency. Representatives from Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, and Kazakhstan also attended the meeting, with the BRICS summit of heads of state scheduled for August 22-24 in Johannesburg. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa emphasized the growing global interest in joining BRICS, while Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva supported the idea of a shared currency.
The New Development Bank (NDB), created by the BRICS nations, is expanding its membership, with Bangladesh and the UAE joining in 2021, Egypt in February, and Saudi Arabia currently in discussions. Thirteen nations have formally asked to join the group, while at least six others have expressed interest. India, a founding member, seeks an agreement on the process to ensure it isn't sidelined by China and its allies.
Jim O'Neill, who coined the acronym BRIC, calls for strict criteria on membership, while South African central bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago expresses caution on shared currency plans. Russian and Chinese officials raised the possibility of accepting new members, with more than a dozen countries expressing interest in joining BRICS, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the United Arab Emirates.
During the meeting, the ministers called for a "rebalancing" of the world order and discussed alternative currencies to the US dollar for international trade, strengthening the NDB, and reforming global decision-making. They also criticized the lack of permanent African representation on the United Nations Security Council.
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhouxu expects the group to take on new members, while South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor reiterated that Putin is invited to the August summit, but his attendance remains unconfirmed. The BRICS ministers discussed building influence in a multi-polar world, and Pandor mentioned the potential use of alternative currencies to avoid sanctions.
Countries expressing interest in joining BRICS include Iran, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Argentina, Algeria, and the UAE. The meeting continued on Friday, chaired by Naledi Pandor, South Africa's minister of international relations and cooperation. Preparations for the leaders' summit in August in Johannesburg were discussed, with topics including the Russia-Ukraine conflict, reducing reliance on the US dollar, and plans for expansion.
The NDB is expanding, with Bangladesh, the UAE, Egypt, and Uruguay having joined, and Saudi Arabia in talks to join. BRICS aims to build a platform for cooperation among emerging markets and developing countries, improve global governance, and build a global community of shared future. With the potential expansion of the bloc and the establishment of a shared currency, a new world order may be on the horizon, as the BRICS nations continue to gain influence and challenge the status quo.