August 18, 2023 - The five BRICS emerging world economies -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- aim to develop trade and economic cooperation that can challenge the developed world’s dominance.
South Africa, invited to join the original four-member BRIC group in 2010, will host Chinese President Xi Jinping, Brazil’s Lula da Silva and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Johannesburg from August 22-24.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, who faces an international arrest warrant over alleged war crimes in Ukraine, will be represented by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
High on the agenda will be expansion. As many as 69 countries will attend the summit, and 23 countries, including Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Iran, have formally requested to join the club.
Local currency fundraising, lending and a move away from dependence on the U.S. dollar will also be on the agenda.
Set up by the BRICS bloc in 2015, the New Development Bank (NDB) has made US$33 billion-plus loans to its five member countries, of which two-thirds were in dollars.
“It is not doing as much as member countries require, but that is the strategic direction we are pushing the bank,” South Africa’s Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana told Reuters.
The Shanghai-based NDB aims to increase local currency lending from 22% to 30% by 2026.
The bank wants to expand, and in 2021 Bangladesh, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates joined, bringing its membership to eight.
The BRICS summit will be a platform for talks with potential new members.