BRICS countries agree to expand the scope of the alliance and put a plan for BRICS Bank increase the percentage of lending in local currencies to 30%

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The BRICS member states agreed during the summit in Johannesburg on Wednesday on the principle of expanding their bloc, according to what the South African Foreign Minister announced, in the midst of the bloc’s efforts to enhance its influence and limit the dominance of Western powers.

Calls to expand the group, which includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, dominated the agenda of the three-day summit in Johannesburg.

China is seeking to rapidly expand BRICS in the midst of a fierce rivalry with the United States, but India is wary of its rival’s geopolitical intentions.

South African officials said that about 24 countries have submitted formal requests to join the group, which currently represents 40 percent of the world’s population and a quarter of the global economy.

On Wednesday, South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor announced that the five member states had agreed to the principle of expanding the bloc, provided that decisions related to accepting membership of the candidate countries would be taken after examining their requests.

“We’ve agreed on the issue of expansion,” the South African Foreign Minister said in a statement.

“We’ve adopted a document that sets out the guidelines, principles and mechanisms that should be followed to study the applications of countries that wish to become members of BRICS, and it’s very positive”.

The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had earlier expressed his support for opening the way for new members to join, expressing his welcome to move forward with consensus.

On Wednesday, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa indicated the BRICS countries’ openness to expanding the bloc.

“We’re at the threshold of expanding the BRICS family,” Ramaphosa said.

The BRICS group takes its decisions unanimously, and hasn’t included any new member since the accession of South Africa in 2010.

The Chinese President Xi Jinping said that expanding the bloc would pool BRICS strength and pool wisdom to make global governance more just and equitable.

“We’re meeting at a time when the world is witnessing major changes and a reshaping of groupings,” Xi said.

It’s worth mentioning that China accounts nearly 70% of the BRICS gross domestic product.

US officials have ruled out the BRICS turning into a geopolitical competitor to the United States, describing the bloc as a very diverse group of countries with friends and foes, hinting about the relations between India and China.

The group, which includes powers of varying economic size and disparate political system, shares an orientation towards an alternative to a world order dominated by Western powers that better serves the interests of developing countries.

The BRICS summit highlighted divisions over the Ukraine war and the support Russia enjoys from other BRICS partners at a time of international isolation.

South Africa, China and India avoided condemning the invasion, while Brazil refused to send weapons to Ukraine or impose sanctions on Moscow, as Western countries have done.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was targeted by an international arrest warrant, didn’t participate in person, as he joined via video.

Russia was represented in the Summit by the Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Regarding the BRICS expansion, analysts say that the issue of new countries joining requires South Africa, India and Brazil to balance between seeking to strengthen relations with Russia and China and avoiding the risk of a deterioration in their ties with their largest trading partner, the United States.

The list of candidates for joining BRICS includes countries with great weight, such as Indonesia, which is a member of the G20, and Saudi Arabia, and others that are hostile to the United States and its allies, such as Iran.

The summit is attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping, Brazilian Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in addition to about 50 invited leaders of other countries.

The leaders of the group considered that the volume of interest in joining the group is evidence that the goals of the bloc resonate greatly in the southern hemisphere, which is an expression often used to denote countries tweeting outside the western flock.

The Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who was during his first presidency of Brazil (2003-2010), was the mind behind the Idea of forming the group is pushing for the establishment of a development bank for the group as an alternative option for the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, expressed his support for Argentina’s accession to the BRICS.

BRICS Bank plans to increase lending in local currencies to 30%.

The BRICS group sought to promote the use of local currencies in transactions between its member states, and this reflects a general trend towards getting rid of its heavy dependence on the US dollar.

The group’s development bank has announced plans to increase its share of the total financing in local currencies from 20% to 30%.

With these steps, the BRICS group seeks to diversify sources of financing and increase its financial independence by promoting the use of local currencies in financial and commercial operations between its member states.

The BRICS countries — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — account for a quarter of the global economy, while more countries have shown interest in joining the bloc ahead of its three-day summit in Johannesburg.

Security has been beefed up across the city as South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will host his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, along with some 50 other leaders.

The BRICS countries, which represent 40% of the world’s population, record varying levels of growth and share the desire to reach a world order that they believe best reflects their growing interests and influence.

The group seeks to establish its own development bank to be an alternative option to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and proposes to reduce dependence on the dollar in international trade.

The 15th summit of the group is being held under the slogan “BRICS and Africa”, and it comes as the continent has become a theater for diplomatic battles again, with the United States, Russia and China competing for economic and diplomatic influence.

The summit highlights divisions over the Ukraine war and the support Russia enjoys from other BRICS partners at a time of international isolation.

South Africa, China and India avoided condemning the invasion, while Brazil refused to send weapons to Ukraine or impose sanctions on Moscow, as Western countries have done.

Back in 2006, the world pulsed with the existence of a new bloc that carried the torch of economics and politics strongly, as its initials gathered four ancient countries: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

These five nations made up BRICS, a word derived from the plural of their English names.

Since its first meeting in 2009, BRICS has doubled its presence and impact on the world map.

Today, it represents an estimated 23% of the world’s GDP, embraces 42% of the world’s population, and accounts for more than 16% of world trade.

A world is eagerly paying attention to a powerful grouping called BRICS.

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