Around twenty countries from around the world have applied to join the BRICS group, which currently consists of five nations, and an equal number of other countries have expressed an interest, South Africa, which is hosting its next summit, said on Thursday.
The BRICS group (South Africa, Brazil, China, India and Russia), which aims to carry more weight in international institutions hitherto dominated by the United States and Europe, said it was open to possible expansion.
“Twenty-two countries have formally approached the Brics countries to become full members of the group, and there is the same number of countries that have informally enquired about becoming Brics members”, said South Africa’s ambassador-at-large for Asia and the BRICS, Anil Sooklal.
He cited Iran, Argentina, Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia among the countries that have expressed an interest, formal or informal, in joining the BRICS.
The growing interest in the Brics group is “nothing new”, but it underlines the “confidence” in the work that the Brics have “championed” since the group’s inception, he added at a press briefing in Johannesburg.
“The BRICS are not only the driving force of global strength in trying to change the fault lines in terms of global politics, they are also changing what happens in the global economic space”, said Mr Sooklal.
“The current global architecture continues to be unequal, continues to marginalise developing countries (…) and continues to be dominated by a few hegemonies. We want a world where our voices are heard”, he told AFP.
Their next summit takes place from 22 to 24 August in Johannesburg and 69 countries have been invited, including African countries. French President Emmanuel Macron has asked to attend the summit but no decision has yet been taken.
“The BRICS is a consensus entity, it’s not just South Africa’s decision, there has to be consultation”, commented Anil Sooklal, who pointed out that South African Foreign Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor “is in charge of this procedure”.
Formally launched in 2009, the group of five emerging powers now accounts for 23% of global GDP and 42% of the world’s population, according to the summit’s dedicated website.