BRICS nations to meet in South Africa next week to challenge Western dominance

Leaders of the BRICS countries are set to meet in South Africa for their annual summit next week to discuss the potential expansion of the group of major emerging economies and turning it into a geopolitical bloc to challenge Western dominance.

The 15th summit of BRICS heads of state will be held in the capital Johannesburg from August 22 to 24, with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Brazil’s Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in attendance.

According to South Africa, some 40 nations have shown interest in joining, either formally or informally, including Saudi Arabia, Argentina and Egypt.

China wants to enlarge BRICS quickly, saying it “supports progress in expanding membership, and welcomes more like-minded partners to join the ‘BRICS family’ at an early date.” Russia is also keen to bring in new members.

The summit, entitled “BRICS and Africa”, will also emphasize on how the bloc can build ties with a continent increasingly becoming a scene for competition between world powers.

Last week in a veiled swipe at Western dominance, South Africa’s Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor said in a statement that BRICS nations wanted to show “global leadership in addressing the needs … of the majority of the world, namely … development and inclusion of the Global South in multilateral systems.”

The BRICS group of fast-developing economies — Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa — is often seen as an alternative development partners to the Western economic and political hegemony.

China says that the bloc seeks to “reform global governance systems (to) increase the representation … of developing countries and emerging markets.”

The New Development Bank (NDB) launched by the BRICS bloc also aims to de-dollarize finance and increase local currency fundraising and lending, amid Western sanctions against founding shareholder Russia.

The five-nation bloc accounts for 42 percent of the global population and about 26 percent of the world’s economy, according to the South Africa-based Institute for Security Studies.

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