The BRICS countries are gathering for their first face-to-face summit after the pandemic. It is their 15th summit taking place while tensions around Ukraine and Taiwan are increasing and especially the Western block is struggling with an economic crisis, responding in closing borders and pursuing more aggressive policies.
In that context, we have the chance to witness the summit right at the spot: Johannesburg, South Africa.
South Africa is living the last days of winter, and the world may hear news of the spring coming from the country at the Cape of Hope.
Three main topics dominate the agenda:
The expansion of BRICS certainly is the hot disputed topic, with more than 20 countries expressing their desire to join BRICS formally, South African foreign minister stated. The numbers of countries that consider membership is beyond 50.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa already evaluated the expansion as a means to achieve a more equal world, balancing Western influence.
New members also provide new opportunities for the second topic: De-dollarization. There are two different models with regard to that in discussion: Further deepening international trade in national currencies, or creating an entire new currency unit at BRICS level.
What is sure: The more members it has and the bigger market it represents, the better the chance for BRICS to achieve global acceptance for both models.
Business people we talked during the BRICS Business forum were, to say the least, desperate to get rid of the US dollar dominance.
The third topic can be summarized as reform of the international system. It ranges from the reform of the UN Security Council to BRICS mediation efforts in the Ukraine conflict, from multilateral reaction to climate change to better representation of developing countries in international organizations.
The summit takes places in times of transition. We will try to grasp for UWI the direction and pace of it in Johannesburg.