The 15th BRICS Summit held in Johannesburg, South Africa, concluded with the invitation for membership to six new countries – Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – in a historic expansion and a new starting point for BRICS cooperation.
Experts say that the expansion bears witness to BRICS’ charm and vitality, helps amplify the voices of the Global South, and mirrors the resolve of the group and the wider developing world to safeguard global equity and justice and promote peace and development. The six countries’ membership, if the invitations are accepted, will take effect on January 1, 2024.
Inclusive, win-win move
Seventeen years since its inception, experts say BRICS has witnessed fruitful cooperation results in economic, political and cultural spheres and continues to prosper in a spirit of openness, inclusiveness and win-win cooperation. They believe the expansion will represent a historic and new starting point for BRICS cooperation.
Mohammad Jamshidi, the Iranian president’s deputy chief of staff for political affairs, tweeted his felicitations on Iran’s accession to BRICS, calling it a “historic move.”
BRICS’ expansion in a well-studied manner “would increase its strength and effectiveness and enhance its regional and international role, in a way that contributes to achieving greater and faster development rates,” said Abdel-Sattar Eshrah, secretary-general of the Cairo-based Egyptian-Chinese Business Council.
“It would create many opportunities for joint cooperation among BRICS members in various fields,” the Egyptian business leader said, adding that BRICS’ expansion is to boost the abilities of its members to address economic, financial, and political crises and challenges.
“Many countries want to join the BRICS system, as it can help establish an international power system commensurate with their economic size and break the imbalance in the current global governance system,” Wang Youming, director of the Department for Developing Countries Studies at the China Institute of International Studies, said in an interview with CGTN.
“Different from the exclusive club, the Group of Seven, or the G7, the BRICS spirit features mutual respect and understanding, equality, solidarity, openness, inclusiveness and consensus, which is also one of the reasons many countries want to join the mechanism,” added the expert, noting that the expansion of the BRICS group has become a consensus.
“BRICS mechanism provides developing countries with experience and promotes common development,” Selcuk Colakoglu, director of the Turkish Center for Asia-Pacific Studies (APAC), told China Media Group.
Filipe Porto, a researcher at the Federal University of ABC and a member of the Brazilian Foreign Policy Observatory, said although the five founding member states have very different national conditions, the spirit of win-win cooperation has kept the BRICS mechanism dynamic and drawn interest from more countries.
Force for peace, development, fairer world
The rise of emerging economies, represented by BRICS nations, is fundamentally altering the global landscape. With the historic expansion, the BRICS mechanism will have a greater voice in driving global governance reforms toward a more just and equitable direction, infusing the world with greater certainty and stability, said experts.
“To form a hedge and balance against the hegemony of the United States and the West and to promote the reform of the global multilateral mechanism is an important mission of the BRICS countries. It is also the expectation of many developing countries from the BRICS mechanism,” Sun Yanfeng, a research fellow at the Institute of Latin American Studies of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told China Media Group recently.
The expert pointed out that the BRICS countries have the willingness, the basis and the ability to cooperate on the issue of establishing and maintaining a fair and reasonable international political and economic system.
“In the future, the BRICS countries will accelerate exchanges and cooperation among member states in the fields of economy, trade, finance, energy, and science and technology. At the same time, the BRICS countries will make their voices heard in the reform of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the United Nations,” the expert said.
For emerging markets and developing countries, joining BRICS enables them to jointly pursue development while safeguarding national sovereignty and economic independence. This allows them to engage in global development with equality and dignity, said former Bolivian Foreign Minister Fernando Huanacuni.
The BRICS cooperation mechanism, which features openness, transparency, inclusiveness and non-discrimination, caters to the needs of developing countries and strengthens their say in global governance, said Bambang Suryono, chairman of the Indonesian think tank Asian Innovation Research Center.
Over the past two decades, emerging economies and developing countries have contributed up to 80 percent of global economic growth. Their global GDP share has increased from 24 percent to over 40 percent in the last four decades. After over a decade of development, the BRICS model has deepened and expanded, setting a prime example of South-South cooperation and seeking strength through unity among emerging markets and developing countries.
According to a poll published by CGTN on Friday, about 94.6 percent of respondents believe that the expansion of BRICS has fully demonstrated its inclusiveness, flexibility and pragmatism as a multilateral cooperation mechanism. Meanwhile, another 81.6 percent of respondents urged countries to work together to create a global, open and fair environment so that emerging economies and developing countries can share the benefits of growth.
Source : CGTN