BRICS expansion to bolster Global South influence

By EDITH MUTETHYA in Nairobi, Kenya | China Daily Global | Updated: 2023-12-18 09:36
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Farmers thresh hybrid rice in Kihanga, Bubanza Province, Burundi, on June 20. Chinese agricultural experts have set up a multidisciplinary research center in Bubanza where hybrid rice varieties have been cultivated. HAN XU/XINHUA

Inclusion of six new members promises to reshape world economic and political order

The BRICS Summit held in South Africa this year will go down in history as a meeting at which a milestone was reached to shape the group's direction.

During the summit in Johannesburg the BRICS group of emerging economies of Brazil, China, India, Russia and South Africa extended an invitation to Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates that are expected to officially join the group next month.

After the enlargement, experts say, the platform will increase the influence of the Global South, which has traditionally been neglected in terms of economic growth and policies.

Aly Khan, an investment banker in Kenya, said the recent developments in BRICS, such as greater cohesion, its expansion and growing local currency settlement, all point to a grouping that is flexing its muscle.

BRICS expansion is significant, he said, foreshadowing a potentially new financial architecture and an ambition to reform global governance.

Cavince Adhere, an expert on international relations with a focus on China-Africa relations, said BRICS expansion will make the bloc an important platform for international collaboration, especially among Global South countries.

The bloc, with a combined population of more than 3.2 billion, accounts for about 42 percent of the world's population, a quarter of world GDP and 17 percent of world trade.

"That tells you how important it is," Adhere said. "It's now composed of the largest market in the world."

The bloc also brings together resource-rich countries, he said.

The future of BRICS will depend on its ability to deliver on the aspirations of the members that have already joined and those that are keen to join, he said.

"The 2023 summit held in South Africa was modeled on BRICS cooperation with African countries. And that simply tells of the strategic direction that the leaders of the BRICS countries are moving in — not leaving anybody behind."

The emergence of BRICS is a reflection of the desires of Global South countries to come together and reimagine their development discourse in addition to giving themselves a voice in global governance, he said.

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