The list of countries looking to join the global economic alliance known as BRICS is now at 44, according to one of the group’s top insiders.
Anlil Sooklal, South Africa’s top diplomat in charge of relations with the bloc, tells Reuters that on top of the 22 countries that have already formally asked to join, there is “an equal number of countries that have informally expressed interest in becoming BRICS members … [including] all the major global south countries.”
At a summit next month, the main topic on the agenda will be how far and how fast to expand the coalition, which is currently only officially made up of Brasil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, but is now dealing with a large lineup of interested entities, including Argentina, Iran and Saudi Arabia.
In a new interview with Russian government-backed RT, Sookal said he and others working within the group have been tasked with prioritizing and organizing an expansion effort for the alliance over the last year or so.
Sookal said that BRICS leaders would be meeting this month to discuss the details on how to welcome more countries into their circle.
“…Next week in Durban here in South Africa we have a special sherpa meeting to look at finalizing our effort on expansion. This report will then be transmitted to our ministers. And South Africa will convene a virtual meeting of ministers of foreign affairs before the end of July to make recommendations to the leaders at the summit in August with regard to BRICS’ expansion.”
BRICS, which was originally set up to form an alternative financial system to the US dollar hegemony, is partially powered by its New Development Bank (NDB), which supports the group’s nations’ public and private projects through loans, equity participation and other economic tactics.
Naledi Pandor, South Africa’s Foreign Affairs Minister, says NDB is helping new members establish themselves on a global economic stage that has historically been dominated by the US and Western allies.
“We are encouraged by the growth and sustainability of the New BRICS Development Bank and welcome new members. The Bank has helped the members to provide financing for infrastructure needs, support the unlocking of regional value chains and localisation of productive capacities.”
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