On the Eve of a Historical Meeting, Everybody Wants to Join the BRICS
On August 22-24, the BRICS Summit will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, and despite ongoing blackmail and pressure tactics coming from London and Washington, the heads of state or government of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa will take up their agenda of:
1) the expansion of the BRICS into “BRICS-Plus,” establishing the mechanism for inclusion of the 40 nations that have already stated that they intend to apply for membership; and
2) new, non-dollar payment mechanisms among these countries, that are eager to get off the West’s sinking financial Titanic, with its deadly sanctions and debt-collection policies.
Widespread discussion is underway on how best to establish a new, non-speculative currency to foster trade and development in the Global South, a discussion in which the ideas of Lyndon LaRouche are widely circulated.
While London and Washington were hoping that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to not attend the BRICS summit in person would prevent that summit’s ability to act decisively, that is not happening.
Meanwhile, the BRICS looks more and more like the “Global South”. A South African official announced that 22 Asian, African and Latin American countries had formally applied for membership. Reporting on the official’s remarks, Nesavisimaya Gazeta wrote Aug. 2 that this list includes seven Arab countries: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Tunisia. A number of African nations – the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Nigeria, Senegal, the Union of the Comoros, and Ethiopia – have also officially announced their intention to become BRICS members. Bangladesh, Indonesia and Kazakhstan also hope to join the group. The applications of Iran and Argentina have been under consideration since last year. On July 31, the presidents of Bolivia and Venezuela also expressed their nations’ interest in BRICS membership.
A number of African nations – the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Nigeria, Senegal, the Union of the Comoros, and Ethiopia – have officially announced their intention to become BRICS members, while Bangladesh, Indonesia and Kazakhstan also hope to join the group. The applications of Iran and Argentina have been under consideration since last year. On July 31, the presidents of Bolivia and Venezuela also expressed their nations’ interest in BRICS membership.
Nailya Yakovleva, lead researcher with the Center for Political Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Latin American Studies, told NesGaz that countries such as Argentina, Bolivia and Venezuela are motivated to join BRICS as a means of boosting their international prestige and, most importantly, expanding opportunities to attract foreign investment in infrastructure projects and to access all manner of loans. The BRICS New Development Bank, the chairmanship of which recently went to former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, could be an ideal source of the funding these countries need.
However, it is not likely that all candidate countries will be granted full BRICS membership at the upcoming summit. Such decisions require the approval of all five current member states, which now account for over 42% of the world’s population, 23% of global GDP and 18% of global trade.
According to Gustavo de Carvalho, researcher at the South African Institute of International Affairs, many candidate countries play an important regional role and have rapidly developing economies and huge populations. One of the reasons driving their efforts to join the five-member group is their interest in using alternative currencies, particularly in bilateral trade. Candidate countries would like to be more independent from the U.S. dollar, this expert believes.