August 25, 2023 | Investopaper
The recent BRICS conference held in South Africa has marked a pivotal moment in global geopolitics as the group decided to extend its membership to six new nations.
The BRICS coalition, comprised of China, India, Brazil, South Africa, and Russia, has taken a significant stride toward establishing what some analysts refer to as a ‘New World Order’, aimed at rebalancing the global power structure away from the traditional dominance of America and Europe. Notably, the expansion particularly bolsters the representation of emerging economies from the Global South within this network.
During the conference, delegates from the current BRICS members officially welcomed Saudi Arabia, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Argentina, Ethiopia, and Egypt as incoming member states. This transformation is slated to take effect in January 2024, as these nations are set to formally join the ranks of BRICS.
An integral facet of this development is the inclusion of six out of the top ten global oil-producing countries – Saudi Arabia, Russia, China, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, and Brazil – into this coalition. While the United States maintains its position as the world’s largest oil producer, this alliance now unites a considerable share of oil production prowess under the BRICS banner. Notably absent from this group are Canada, Iraq, and Kuwait, all of which rank among the top ten oil producers and are also situated within the Global South.
The expansion of BRICS garnered significant interest, with approximately 40 countries submitting applications for membership. Analysts interpret this shift as indicative of China’s mounting influence in the region. It’s worth noting that India’s stance on membership expansion had previously been cautious; however, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during the South African conference, expressed support for the inclusion of new members.
The inception of BRICS in 2009, incorporating South Africa into the existing bloc of Brazil, Russia, India, and China, marked a milestone in global economic collaboration. Fast forward 13 years, and this alliance has taken another stride forward by inviting new members into its fold. This development underscores BRICS’ growing focus on energy dynamics. Observers anticipate that this expansion holds the potential to reshape geopolitics, geoeconomics, and geostrategy, potentially positioning BRICS as a more substantial platform compared to the world’s largest economy, the G7.
In addition to its role as a counterbalance to Western-dominated institutions like the World Bank and the United Nations, BRICS nations are deliberating the prospect of introducing an alternative currency to rival the dominance of the dollar in global markets. While discussions are ongoing, a concrete implementation plan has yet to materialize. The future trajectory of BRICS as a transformative force in global affairs is one that the international community will closely monitor in the years ahead.