Information Bulletin of the BRICS Trade Union Forum

Monitoring of the economic, social and labor situation in the BRICS countries
Issue 34.2023
2023.08.21 — 2023.08.27
International relations
Foreign policy in the context of BRICS
BRICS leaders' extended format meeting (Встреча лидеров БРИКС в расширенном формате) / Russia, August, 2023
Keywords: vladimir_putin, brics+

President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa, President of Russia Vladimir Putin (via videconference), President of Brazil Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, and President of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping held an expanded format meeting.

The 15th BRICS summit is taking place on August 22–24 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

* * *

Remarks by President of the Russian Federation at the BRICS Summit expanded format meeting

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: President Ramaphosa, President Lula, Prime Minister Modi, President Xi Jinping, friends, colleagues,

I would like to begin by thanking our South African friends for everything they have done as part of their BRICS chairmanship this year.

Those of my colleagues who took the floor before me praised BRICS for its efforts, and overall we share this assessment. This association of five nations has established itself on the international stage as a respected entity and has been consistently strengthening its standing in international affairs.

See also

Video Address to the Participants in the BRICS Business Forum August 22, 2023
Informal meeting of the BRICS leaders August 22, 2023
BRICS has been following a forward-looking strategic course which meets the aspirations of a significant portion of the international community, the so-called global majority. By acting in a coordinated manner and based on the principles of equality, supporting each other as partners and taking each other's interests into account, we tackle the most urgent issues on the global and regional agendas.

Importantly, we are all united in our commitment to shaping a multipolar world order with genuine justice, based on the international law and in keeping with the key principles set forth in the UN Charter, including sovereignty and respecting the right of every nation to follow its own development model. We oppose hegemonies of any kind and the exceptional status that some countries aspire to, as well as the new policy it entails, a policy of continued neo-colonialism.

Let me point out that it was the attempts by some countries to preserve their global hegemony that paved the way to the deep crisis in Ukraine. It started when an anti-constitutional government coup took place in this country with the help of the Western countries. This was followed by the unleashing of a war against people who refused to accept this coup. It was a cruel war, a war of extermination, which lasted for eight years.

Russia decided to side with people who are fighting for their culture, their traditions, language and future. Stopping the war unleashed by the West and its satellites in Ukraine against the people of Donbass is the only thing that defines our actions in Ukraine.

We are grateful to our BRICS colleagues who are active in trying to end this situation and achieve a just settlement by peaceful means.

Colleagues, what matters is that we all unanimously stand in favour of a multipolar world order that is truly fair and based on international law.

From year to year, the BRICS countries are increasing their potential. As was already mentioned, the five partner states, with a total population exceeding 3 billion, account for a greater share in global GDP than the so-called Group of Seven in terms of purchasing power parity. Over the past decade, BRICS countries have doubled their investment in the global economy, and their total exports have reached 20 percent of the global total.

The partner countries are successfully implementing their Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership 2025. In particular, they are strengthening five-sided cooperation in such areas as diversification of supply chains, de-dollarisation and the transition to national currencies in mutual transactions, digital economy, support for small and medium-sized businesses, and fair technology transfer. And of course, businesses are taking an active part in these processes. The BRICS Business Council and the BRICS Women's Business Alliance are putting in a lot of effort, something the host of today's meeting, President Ramaphosa, has already mentioned, and the leaders of these bodies are present here.

An important priority of BRICS cooperation is the creation of new sustainable and safe transport routes. Speaking to the participants of the BRICS Business Forum, I have mentioned the relevance of accelerated development of transcontinental routes such as the North-South corridor, which will connect Russian ports in the northern seas and the Baltic Sea with sea terminals in the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean and in the future, will be able to facilitate annual transit of up to 30 million tonnes of cargo.

We believe that the time has come to establish a permanent BRICS transport commission, which would deal not only with the North-South project, but also on a broader scale with the development of logistics and transport corridors, interregional and global. If our partners agree, the Russian side could work on this idea as part of its BRICS chairmanship in 2024.

Of course, we welcome closer ties between the five BRICS countries in promoting innovation around the world. We expect cooperation as part of the BRICS initiative to establish an international infrastructure network with a dedicated fund, which could be used to support and develop it. Russia stands ready to share the experience it has and the best practices, including in digital transformation and using artificial intelligence.

We are also committed to active involvement in implementing the agreements to set up a joint working group on nuclear medicine, and are interested in finding real-world applications for the BRICS Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Cooperation Alliance. Russia fully supports the proposal by our South African colleagues to hold a dedicated ministerial meeting on women, given the need to empower women in politics, economics and social affairs in all our countries.


Russia will assume the BRICS Chairmanship next year. Its motto will be Strengthening Multilateralism for Justice in Global Development and Security. We intend to hold about 200 events on political, economic and social matters in over ten Russian cities.

We expect to hold the BRICS Summit in October 2024 in Kazan, and will coordinate the exact dates with our colleagues through diplomatic channels. The events in the BRICS+/outreach format, which has proven its worth, will also take place there.

During its Chairmanship, Russia is committed to doing everything it takes to contribute effectively to carrying out the decisions adopted at this summit, including those related to adding new participants to this association. We will work closely with our partners on foreign policy matters and in the key international platforms, primarily the United Nations, while also holding regular meetings of senior security officials.

Of course, we will attach primary importance to the urgent tasks such as fighting terrorism and the spread of terrorist ideology, as well as countering money laundering and recovering criminal assets.

By the way, we are grateful to our partners for their support within the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). We hope that this solidarity continues.

We will facilitate the further comprehensive implementation of the BRICS Economic Partnership Strategy until 2025 and the development of new long-term cooperation guidelines. As we see it, they should include efforts to enhance our states' role in the international monetary and financial system, develop interbank cooperation, expand the use of national currencies, and promote collaboration between tax, customs, and anti-monopoly agencies.

Russian priorities undoubtedly include an intention to build up partnership in science and innovations, healthcare, education, and humanitarian ties as a whole. Cultural and civilisational diversity is one of the supporting pillars of the new multipolar world order and implies the creation of an integral and free space for cultural exchange, arts, and creativity.

I believe that the time is ripe for a serious conversation with our BRICS partners, and, incidentally, with our SCO partners, and, of importance to us, with our CIS partners and other countries, about the future of culture in the world, as well as about preserving and enhancing the world cultural heritage. By the way, the 9th International Cultural Forum, scheduled to be held in the Russian city of St Petersburg from November 16 to 18 this year, might provide a venue for this dialogue.

Russia, to be sure, will continue to promote in every way the further development of sports contacts and youth exchanges. Specifically, the BRICS Games are scheduled for June 2024. We also will be glad to welcome teams from BRICS countries at the Games of the Future international tournament to be held in Kazan next year. These competitions are a unique combination of dynamic athletic disciplines with the most popular video games and technological devices. A good opportunity for contacts and friendly communication will present itself at the World Youth Festival in Sochi in March 2024.

In conclusion, I would like to stress once again that during its chairmanship Russia will collaborate with its BRICS partners in the most constructive manner to further strengthen the role and prestige of the Five, which is certain to grow.

Thank you for your time.

                Meeting in the BRICS Plus/Outreach format (Встреча в формате BRICS+ / аутрич) / Russia, August, 2023
                Keywords: vladimir_putin, speech, summit

                Held as part of the 15th BRICS Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, the meeting brought together the leaders of more than 50 countries from around the world and senior executives of regional organisations.

                BRICS countries adopted the Second Johannesburg Declaration following their summit.

                * * *

                Address by the President of Russia at the BRICS Plus/Outreach format meeting

                President of Russia Vladimir Putin: President Ramaphosa, heads of state, colleagues, friends, ladies and gentlemen,

                I would like to begin by thanking the South African Chairmanship for organising this highly representative meeting in the BRICS Plus/Outreach format. It provides us with a very important communications framework, offering us a great opportunity to have a meaningful conversation on topical matters dealing with mutually beneficial cooperation with like-minded countries, i.e., the countries which largely share the approaches of the five BRICS nations. I am glad to offer all of you, dear friends, my greetings.

                All of us here are proponents of a new multipolar world order with a genuine balance of interests and taking into consideration the sovereign interests of as many countries as possible, while enabling them to follow their own development models and helping them preserve their diverse national cultures and traditions.

                I would like to point out that BRICS is not competing against anyone and does not seek to act as a counterweight to anyone. It is obvious, however, that the emergence of a new world order, which is an objective process, has its fierce opponents who are seeking to stall this process and avert the emergence of new, independent centres of development and power around the world.

                The countries of the so-called Golden Billion have gone to great lengths to preserve the unipolar world as it used to be. It suits them, and they are the ones who benefit from it. They are trying to substitute international law with their own rules-based order, as they call it, but no one has seen these rules. At the same time, they use these rules in the pursuit of their self-serving objectives and change them whenever it suits their political agenda, whenever they like, and in any way that suits the interests of specific countries.

                In fact, this is also a manifestation of colonialism, even if in a new form. By the way, it is not very pretty. Today, these colonisers hide behind the noble slogans of democracy and human rights, while seeking to resolve the challenges they face at the expense of others and continuing to siphon off resources from the developing countries.

                By the way, the President of Brazil has mentioned the debt burden the developing economies face. Of course, on the one hand, there is this effort to siphon off all these resources, while, on the other hand, in terms of lending, the relations are engineered in a way that makes repaying these loans virtually impossible, so these obligations can be viewed as mandatory indemnities rather than loan payments.

                The emerging new world order is also threatened by the radical neoliberalism certain countries are trying to impose, aiming to destroy traditional values that are important to all of us: the family and respect for national and religious traditions.

                Certain politicians do not hesitate to justify even neo-Nazism, xenophobia, and various kinds of extremism and condone terrorists to serve their opportunistic purposes.

                The global majority that the countries attending the summit belong to, is becoming increasingly tired of the pressure and manipulation; but it is open to honest, equal and mutually respectful cooperation.

                This is the approach that the BRICS countries take to developing their multidimensional relations with the countries present at the summit and other interested states, as well as regional integration bodies, including the CIS, the EAEU, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, ASEAN, the Caribbean Community and the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf.

                Given that most African states are participating in our meeting, BRICS today naturally focuses on Africa, and we in Russia are happy about that. We believe that this is the right approach, especially since we have the Republic of South Africa as our Chair today.

                Friends, I met with many of you recently, at the second Russia-Africa Summit in St Petersburg where useful and constructive discussions took place. We reaffirmed in St Petersburg that Russia and Africa are linked by growing ties of friendship and close mutually beneficial relations that rely on a foundation laid during the African peoples' struggle for freedom in the mid-20th century.

                We deeply appreciate the African countries' extremely friendly attitude towards Russia. For its part, Russia is sincerely interested in a further deepening of multifaceted ties with the African continent, and we will actively promote these ties in practice and implement new joint projects in various fields.

                Our country has been paying special attention to ensuring food and fertilizer supplies to African countries and the global markets in general. In other words, we use all the opportunities at our disposal to contribute to the global efforts to fight hunger and prevent a food crisis. Luckily, Russia has produced record grain harvests for the second year in a row.

                By the way, as I have already said, we will provide urgent humanitarian aid to six African countries within the next several months by sending each of them between 25,000 and 50,000 tonnes of grain and delivering it for free, as was announced back in St Petersburg. We are about to complete the talks with our friends on these matters, and we are about to deliver on this task. I must point out that we are doing this despite all the illegal sanctions against our exports which seriously complicate transport, logistics, insurance and settlements. I would like to reassure our African friends that Russia will always remain a reliable supplier of agricultural products and will continue to support the neediest countries.

                Russia has the same responsible attitude on energy exports which mostly focus on rapidly developing markers. By offering its fuel at competitive prices, Russia helps friendly countries, including those in Africa, keep prices down while expanding manufacturing and agricultural output. This strengthens their energy security and makes their economies more resilient.

                Experts have calculated that by 2050, the global population will increase by 1.7 billion people, while global demand for energy will be up by 22 percent with this demand mostly driven by the least developed and developing countries. Therefore, it is obvious that there will be no alternative to hydrocarbon fuel in the foreseeable future. This does not mean that we do not need to accomplish the energy transition, but the transition to a low-carbon economy must be gradual, balanced and carefully prepared, taking into consideration specific national contexts and capabilities.

                Speaking of which, certain countries are now dealing with the consequences of the mistakes they made in planning for that transition. The problems are only growing. But we believe these problems can be solved by efficient use of all types of energy resources after the introduction of new, clean technologies and incentives to reduce the carbon footprint.

                Russia, along with its BRICS partners, certainly supports technological cooperation on equal terms in renewable energy as well as in other important areas, including the development of new types of nuclear reactors, the promotion of hydrogen technologies, and so on, for example, hydropower. By the way, Africa is our priority partner in these areas as well.

                Russia is currently involved in more than 30 promising energy projects in Africa, which are at various stages of development. We are active in 16 countries. For example, Rosatom is building the Dabaa nuclear power plant in Egypt. The total capacity of the power projects we are promoting is about 3.7 gigawatts.

                Exports of Russian crude oil, petrochemical products, and liquefied natural gas to Africa have more than doubled over the past two years – a decent increase of 160 percent.

                It goes without saying that every aspect that was discussed fully applies not only to Africa, but also to other regions and certainly the countries invited to this BRICS plus/Outreach meeting – the export of food, fertilisers, energy resources, other economic initiatives, as well as cultural, scientific, education and sports cooperation. We will build constructive and mutually beneficial relations with all these countries and expand our partnership. Our country has a lot to offer.

                In this regard, I would like to note that Russia will be chairing BRICS next year. Representing our colleagues, we will prioritise expanding ties with the countries that are joining us in the BRICS plus/Outreach format.


                In conclusion, I would like to express confidence that this meeting will be very useful and, I hope, will contribute to the strengthening of friendly relations between the five BRICS countries – more countries next year – and your countries, and will serve to intensify cooperation in a range of areas.

                Thank you for your attention.

                              Saudi Arabia appreciates BRICS' invitation, will take 'appropriate decision': FM (Саудовская Аравия ценит приглашение БРИКС и примет «соответствующее решение»: министр иностранных дел) / Saudi Arabia, August, 2023
                              Keywords: brics+
                              Saudi Arabia

                              Saudi Arabia's foreign minister told Al Arabiya TV on Thursday that the Kingdom appreciated the invitation by BRICS to join the group and would study the details before the proposed January 1 joining date and take "the appropriate decision."

                              Prince Faisal bin Farhan said BRICS was "a beneficial and important channel" to strengthen economic cooperation.

                              South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced Thursday that the BRICS club of emerging nations will admit six new members, including Saudi Arabia, UAE and Iran, at the start of next year.

                              "We have decided to invite the Argentine Republic, the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, to become full members of BRICS. The membership will take effect from the first of January 2024," Ramaphosa told a summit in Johannesburg.

                              Earlier on Thursday, Prince Faisal said that Saudi Arabia was looking forward to developing more cooperation with BRICS nations.

                              "We look forward to develop this cooperation to create new developmental and economic opportunities and elevate our relationship to the aspired level," he told a BRICS summit.

                              Prince Faisal also said the Kingdom will continue to be a reliable source of energy and had the tools to maintain stable energy markets.

                                            Egypt aspires to be active, influential member of BRICS, says PM (Египет стремится стать активным и влиятельным членом БРИКС, заявил премьер-министр) / Egypt, August, 2023
                                            Keywords: brics+

                                            CAIRO – 24 August 2023: Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli has affirmed Egypt's aspiration to promote cooperation and proceed with joint work with member states of the BRICS bloc in various fields at the bilateral and multilateral levels.

                                            Madbouli made the remarks during a speech he delivered on Thursday at a high-level dialogue session on cooperation between Africa and BRICS that was held on the fringes of the 15th BRICS summit.

                                            The prime minister is taking part in the summit on behalf of President Abdel Fattah El Sisi.

                                            Madbouli said Egypt welcomes all initiatives and projects that aim to achieve mutual interests and build a sustainable partnership.

                                            He added that Egypt is looking forward to being an active and influential member of the bloc as well as contributing to its efforts meant to find practical, effective and implementable solutions to the challenges suffered by "our countries".

                                            This requires intensifying joint action within the framework of South-South cooperation, he noted

                                            The high-level dialogue session was held within the framework of the "BRICS Plus" plan under the theme "BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Mutually Accelerated Growth, Sustainable Development and Inclusive Multilateralism".

                                            During his speech, Madbouli expressed thanks to South African President Cyril Ramaphosa for his country's hosting of the 15th BRICS summit amid exceptional conditions experienced by the world, which include unprecedented complications that significantly affect developing countries and their economies.

                                            The prime minister also welcomed the step taken by BRICS to expand itself, which he said would contribute to helping the bloc be more effective and more capable of expressing its visions at the international level.

                                            Madbouli noted that Egypt has been keen to strengthen its relations with BRICS nations over the past years through participating in the sessions held as part of the BRICS Plus plan. He added that Egypt also joined the bloc's New Development Bank in 2021.

                                            Madbouli reviewed Egypt's vision as regards areas to focus on within the framework of cooperation between the BRICS bloc and developing countries in the current stage.

                                            He said Egypt's vision includes the need to intensify joint efforts to address the food crisis, which he described as one of the most significant risks facing developing countries, and its consequences.

                                            This can be achieved by coordinating and intensifying efforts as part of regional and international multilateral action to meet the needs of developing countries, the prime minister added.

                                            The vision also contains developing the sectors of agriculture and food industries, transferring and localizing technology, building capacities, and improving infrastructure in rural areas, he noted.

                                            It also includes transferring agricultural technology as well as modern, sustainable irrigation systems, he pointed out.

                                            In this regard, Madbouli said Egypt is ready to host a global hub for the supply and storage of grains - in cooperation with the international community - in a way that contributes to facing the global food crisis.

                                            The prime minister added that Egypt's vision also contains working to reform the international economic and financial structure to make it more equitable, just and responsive to the needs of developing countries, including middle-income ones.

                                            It also includes developing mechanisms to reduce the burden of external debt, through exemption, swap or easy payment, in addition to proposals related to the governance of the global financial system, he noted.

                                                          UAE President appreciates BRICS expansion, says 'appreciate inclusion of nation as member to this important group' (Президент ОАЭ высоко оценивает расширение БРИКС и говорит: «Цените включение страны в качестве члена в эту важную группу») / India, August, 2023
                                                          Keywords: brics+

                                                          UAE President appreciates BRICS expansion, says 'appreciate inclusion of nation as member to this important group'

                                                          His reaction came hours after BRICS group of nations on Thursday decided to include six new members- Argentina, Ethiopia, Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the UAE

                                                          After his country was invited to join the BRICS grouping, UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan appreciated the "vision of the BRICS leadership".

                                                          He said that his country looks forward to working with BRICS for the benefit of all.

                                                          In a post on X, formerly Twitter, he wrote, "We respect the vision of the BRICS leadership and appreciate the inclusion of the UAE as a member to this important group. We look forward to a continued commitment of cooperation for the prosperity, dignity and benefit of all nations and people around the world."

                                                          His reaction came hours after BRICS group of nations on Thursday decided to include six new members- Argentina, Ethiopia, Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
                                                                        Ethiopian Prime Minister hails BRICS membership (Премьер-министр Эфиопии приветствует членство в БРИКС) / Ethiopia, August, 2023
                                                                        Keywords: brics+

                                                                        Ethiopia's admission to the Brics, a bloc of emerging countries that until now has included Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, is a "high point" for Africa's second most populous country, rejoiced its Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Thursday.

                                                                        Meeting at their summit in Johannesburg, the Brics, which aim to increase their influence in the world, announced on Thursday that they would welcome six new members in January: Iran, Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

                                                                        "An important moment for Ethiopia, the Brics leaders accepted our entry into the group today. Ethiopia stands ready to cooperate with all for an inclusive and prosperous world order," wrote Abiy Ahmed on his X (ex-Twitter) account.

                                                                        "Congratulations to all Ethiopians!" also read the X account of the Ethiopian Prime Minister's office.

                                                                        Traditionally non-aligned, Ethiopia maintains close ties with Russia and China - its main trading partner - but also with the United States, even if relations with Washington became strained during the two-year conflict in the Tigray region (northern Ethiopia), which ended in November 2022.

                                                                        Ethiopia was one of the world's most dynamic economies during the 2010 decade, but its growth was curbed by the Covid-19 pandemic, climatic calamities, the conflict in Tigray and the global shockwave of the war in Ukraine.

                                                                                      Iran officially invited to join BRICS (Иран официально приглашен в БРИКС) / Iran, August, 2023
                                                                                      Keywords: brics+

                                                                                      The invitation was made as the BRICS leaders are meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa.

                                                                                      South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that BRICS agreed to admit Iran, Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, the UAE and Saudi Arabia as new members.

                                                                                      The five current members are BRICS - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - collectively account for around 40% of the global population and a quarter of the world's gross domestic product (GDP).

                                                                                      President Ramaphosa told the summitteers that BRICS have reached a "consensus on the first phase of this expansion process" and have invited six states to become new members from January 1, 2024.

                                                                                      Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi is in South Africa to participate in the BRICS summit.

                                                                                      Mohammad Jamshidi, the Iranian president's deputy chief of staff for political affairs, said Iran's membership in BRICS is a "historic development" and a "strategic success" for the Islamic Republic's foreign policy.

                                                                                      He congratulated Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on the membership.

                                                                                      "Felicitations to the Leader of Islamic Revolution and the great nation of Iran," Jamshidi wrote on social platform X, formerly known as Twitter, Press TV reported.

                                                                                      Chinese President Xi Jinping said the BRICS enlargement will inject new impetus to the group's cooperation mechanism.

                                                                                      The enlargement demonstrates BRICS determination for unity and cooperation, Xi said at the summit.

                                                                                      "This membership expansion is historic," he said. "The expansion is also a new starting point for BRICS cooperation. It will bring new vigor to the BRICS cooperation mechanism and further strengthen the force for world peace and development."

                                                                                      Speaking via video link at the closing news conference of the three-day summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin thanked his South African counterpart for handling the summit and for his efforts to expand the bloc.

                                                                                      Iran was among dozens of countries that had sought membership in BRICS and submitted a formal application to join the economic bloc.
                                                                                                    How Russia is fighting for allies among the Brics countries using 'memory diplomacy' (Как Россия борется за союзников среди стран БРИКС, используя «дипломатию памяти») / United Kingdom, August, 2023
                                                                                                    Keywords: expert_opinion, political_issues
                                                                                                    United Kingdom

                                                                                                    Since the start of the Ukraine war, there have been numerous diplomatic visits by Russian officials to Africa and Latin America aiming at boosting Russia's global influence.

                                                                                                    In 2023 Russian officials visited Angola, Burundi, Eritrea, Eswatini, Kenya, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, South Africa and Sudan. In the same year, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov toured some areas of Latin America visiting Brazil, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba. The objective was to deepen ties and increase the support for Russia's war in Ukraine.

                                                                                                    As the Ukrainian war goes on, some observers have noted that Russia is trying to gather influential support for its position in the war. Its claims to be fighting against the west's power and neo-colonialism appear to have won some supporters. Ukraine's attempts to win allies in the same regions by arguing that it is fighting off an empire don't appear to have resonated so well.

                                                                                                    Some observers argue that we are witnessing the "return of the global Russia" through economic and political influence, and through its use of digital disinformation techniques to distribute narratives. In the 2010s, the expansion of Russia's influence in Africa was the result of economic "opportunism", but during the Ukraine war, it has become more strategic. There is evidence that in some African countries the influence of Russia continues to intensify. South Africa, for instance, seems to be moving away from the west and steering towards China's and Russia's orbit.

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                                                                                                    But this could partly be because a challenge to the current liberal order is likely to be beneficial for the global south, giving it more power to negotiate in the international arena and achieve some of its policy targets. This was hinted at the recent Brics conference meeting of senior leaders from Russia, China, Brazil, India and South Africa. The leaders of these expanding economies are therefore hesitant to fully condemn Russia for its actions in Ukraine.

                                                                                                    At the summit, Brazil's president Lula da Silva said the Ukraine war "showed the limitations of the UN security council", and pointed to the economic power of the Brics allies as a symbol of its global relevance. The recent decision to integrate six new countries (including Argentina, Iran and UAE) into the bloc will increase that relevance and could enable its members to influence the current world order.

                                                                                                    The strategic value of nostalgia

                                                                                                    Two interrelated factors can help us understand Russia's attractiveness to the global south, and reluctance to fully support Ukraine. First, Russia frames itself as an "anti-colonial" agent, particularly in Africa. Such a strategy is based on "memory diplomacy", aimed at increasing its influence overseas by taking advantage of shared positive memories.

                                                                                                    Memory diplomacy, for instance, invokes Russia's contribution to the victory against fascism during the second world war. In addition, it points out that Russia has never colonised an African country and that it did not participate in the slave trade. On the contrary, the argument goes, Russia, as the centre of the Soviet Union, supported different anti-colonial struggles in the region during the cold war, for example, in Angola and Mozambique.

                                                                                                    Another factor in understanding Russia's appeal to the global south is the "legacy" of Moscow's solidarity with various countries in the past.

                                                                                                    Read more: Africa is being courted by China, Russia and the US. Why the continent shouldn't pick sides

                                                                                                    In 1927, the Communist International, an international organisation supportive of world communism that was led by the Soviet Union, sponsored the League Against Imperialism. The league aimed to eliminate colonial rule in the world. It brought together leading anti-colonial activists from around the world and prominent people such as Albert Einstein and Mahatma Gandhi.

                                                                                                    Ultimately, the league became an inspiration for many of the leaders of the global south's decolonisation struggles. In this sense, it has left a long-term legacy in the countries where Moscow's support had an effect on their anti-colonial struggles.

                                                                                                    This is evident in the case of South Africa. Its position towards the war in Ukraine is arguably partly defined by a nostalgia relating to Moscow's support for its struggle against apartheid combined with a distrust for the west's policies. The criticism levelled at the west in the global south by leaders such as Brazil's Lula is that it upholds democracy at home while being willing to violate democratic principles elsewhere if the advancement of its interests makes it advantageous.

                                                                                                    Challenging nostalgia

                                                                                                    Ukraine has responded to Russia's diplomatic actions by increasing its embassies in Africa and prioritising the global south as a foreign policy. But this "battle" front may be more difficult than it seems.

                                                                                                    Russia continues to advance narratives, usually via its expertise in the use of digital channels, that strengthen its geopolitical influence. In addition, for the global south, Russia is perceived as a counterbalance to the west – particularly the US. And importantly, what can Ukraine offer to the global south?

                                                                                                    Ukraine could gather further support from Brics countries by strengthening existing economic ties and pointing out shared problems caused by Russia. Building the proposed new grain hubs for storing crops, such as wheat and corn, is a good start. This is particularly important because of Russia's decision to withdraw permission for Ukrainian ships carrying grain to leave Black Sea ports. This is likely to cause food shortages across Africa. The Kenyan government, for instance, denounced Russia's decision as a "stab in the back" for African countries.

                                                                                                    Ukraine could also tap into the similarities of its national struggle and those of the global south's anti-colonial experiences. Rather than focusing its narrative against Russia, it could begin to build shared "memories" with the global south by concentrating on the commonalities of victimhood.

                                                                                                    What is becoming increasingly clear is that any country that attempts to challenge the image of Russia as an anti-imperialist agent, is in for a long battle. Particularly, if those countries cannot effectively appeal to their own shared positive memories.

                                                                                                                  BRICS Summit: Kazakhstan's Keen Interest in Deepening Partnership (Саммит БРИКС: повышенная заинтересованность Казахстана в углублении партнёрства) / Kazakhstan, August, 2023
                                                                                                                  Keywords: brics+, summit

                                                                                                                  ASTANA – President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, who is expected to address the BRICS+ Dialogue via video conference on Aug. 24 as part of the 15th BRICS summit in Johannesburg, is likely to focus on unlocking the potential of transport routes in a broader effort to enhance economic interaction, according to Bauyrzhan Auken, the senior expert of the Asian Studies Department at the Kazakhstan Institute of Strategic Studies.

                                                                                                                  Tokayev addresses the meeting on Aug. 24. Photo credit:

                                                                                                                  Tokayev will participate in the meeting as the Chairman-in-Office of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). The three-day summit of BRICS, which owes its name to the initials of its five member states – Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, focuses on the future of the bloc.

                                                                                                                  Speaking of Tokayev's upcoming address to the dialogue, Auken said the remarks will attract "special attention" given his vast diplomatic experience and that he represents the SCO.

                                                                                                                  "Based on Kazakhstan's foreign policy agenda, it is expected that the President's proposals and initiatives will be aimed at ensuring security, preserving peace and trust between the BRICS member states. Special attention will be paid to developing transportation routes connecting North-South and West-East and strengthening economic ties, which are important for us," Auken told The Astana Times.

                                                                                                                  What is BRICS?

                                                                                                                  Initiated by Russia, BRICS constitutes a partnership among five prominent emerging markets and developing countries. Brazil, China, India, Russia, and South Africa represent over 42% of the global population, 30% of the world's territory, 23% of GDP and 18% of global trade.

                                                                                                                  The economic influence of BRICS is particularly driven by the growth of China, which accounted for over 70% of BRICS GDP in 2021.

                                                                                                                  From L to R: Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula, China's President Xi Jinping, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Photo credit: BRICS Twitter page

                                                                                                                  The first BRIC Summit was held in 2009 in Russia. South Africa was invited to join in December 2010, forming BRICS.

                                                                                                                  The shared commitment to restructuring the global political, economic and financial architecture to be more equitable, balanced and representative and amplifying the voices and interests of the broader global South is the founding value of the bloc.

                                                                                                                  The partnership cuts across three key areas – political and security cooperation, financial and economic cooperation, and cultural and people-to-people cooperation.

                                                                                                                  Expansion of the bloc

                                                                                                                  President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa, whose country chairs BRICS in 2023, announced in an Aug. 24 media briefing the consensus the group has reached on the first phase of the expansion process. Further phases will follow, he added.

                                                                                                                  Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are expected to become full members of BRICS, starting from Jan. 1, 2024.

                                                                                                                  "We value the interest of other countries in building a partnership with BRICS. We have tasked our foreign ministers to further develop the BRICS partner country model and a list of prospective partner countries and report by the next summit," said Ramaphosa.

                                                                                                                  What drives countries' interest in BRICS?

                                                                                                                  Auken noted cooperation with BRICS boosts the effectiveness of intercontinental cooperation of developing economies.

                                                                                                                  "The organization is an example of effective cooperation between developed states. Many countries have shown interest in joining the bloc due to the great prospects for development. BRICS has created a mechanism of contingent reserves, which will provide financial support to protect against global liquidity problems. The organization has also established a bank to finance sustainable development and infrastructure projects in the BRICS countries," said the expert.

                                                                                                                  Kazakhstan's vision of BRICS

                                                                                                                  Kazakhstan, the largest Central Asian economy that shares borders with Russia and China, has grown interested in the BRICS partnership. While not an official member, the country has participated in several BRICS summits and discussions, expressing its desire to deepen ties with the alliance.

                                                                                                                  "For Kazakhstan, BRICS can become a facilitator of deepening cooperation with the countries of South America and Africa," said Auken.

                                                                                                                  The expert noted that Kazakhstan's main incentive for expanding cooperation with BRICS is attracting foreign direct investment.

                                                                                                                  The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) 2023 report indicates that as a grouping, BRICS has witnessed a more than fourfold increase in their annual FDI inflows, from $84 billion in 2001 to $355 billion in 2021.

                                                                                                                  Another benefit for Kazakhstan is access to an enormous BRICS market and improved trade relations, including as an agricultural exporter. According to the Kazakh Foreign Ministry, Kazakhstan's trade turnover with BRICS exceeded $50 billion in 2022 and $45 billion in 2021.

                                                                                                                  Kazakhstan's aspirations to become a regional hub align closely with the BRICS agenda. The alliance supports projects that boost connectivity, including via the New Development Bank. Established in 2015, it funds infrastructure and sustainable development initiatives.

                                                                                                                  Addressing the High-Level Dialogue on Global Development on the margins of the 14th BRICS Summit in June 2022, Tokayev expressed Kazakhstan's keen interest in developing a vibrant partnership with BRICS countries. First Deputy Foreign Minister Kairat Umarov reiterated the interest at a June 2 meeting of BRICS foreign ministers in Cape Town.

                                                                                                                  "A balanced approach of Kazakhstan to participation in international organizations like BRICS will allow our country not only to strengthen its role in the global economy, but also to contribute to its interconnected and sustainable development, which will naturally have a positive impact on the welfare of the citizens of Kazakhstan," said the expert.

                                                                                                                  Kazakhstan's active participation in such organizations as the SCO, the Organization of Turkic States, the Eurasian Economic Union, and joint work on the Belt and Road initiative opens up a vast potential in establishing Kazakhstan as a transport hub of Eurasia, the expert said.

                                                                                                                                What to Know About the 6 Nations Invited to Join BRICS (Что нужно знать о шести странах, приглашенных в БРИКС) / USA, August, 2023
                                                                                                                                Keywords: brics+. expert_opinion

                                                                                                                                By Farnaz Fassihi, Vivian Yee, Natalie Alcoba and Declan Walsh

                                                                                                                                The five-nation group of emerging economies known as BRICS, which views itself as a counterweight to the West, has invited six more countries to join — most of them from the Middle East — during its summit in Johannesburg this week.

                                                                                                                                The choices by the current members — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — contained a few surprises, the biggest being the addition of Iran, which joined three other Middle Eastern states: Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt. Argentina and Ethiopia rounded out the half-dozen nations tapped for inclusion, while Indonesia, which was thought to be among the top candidates for admission, did not make the cut.

                                                                                                                                The expansion was a victory for China's leader, Xi Jinping, who strongly backed the rapid addition of new members. But Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India was said to be concerned about adding nations close to Beijing; India and China have border disputes and tend to consider each other potential adversaries.

                                                                                                                                Here is a look at some of the new BRICS members.


                                                                                                                                Iran, which holds the world's second-largest gas reserves and a quarter of the oil reserves in the Middle East, sought membership in BRICS to strengthen its economic and political ties with non-Western powers.

                                                                                                                                For the past few years, Iran has forged a deepening security and military partnership with Russia and bolstered its economic ties to China. The invitation to join BRICS was viewed by many as a reward.

                                                                                                                                Iran's addition will almost undoubtedly increase geopolitical tensions with the West, which could make other current members of the bloc, like India, uncomfortable.

                                                                                                                                Iran's economy, ranked the 22nd-largest in the world in 2022, has been plagued by inflation, slow growth and economic sanctions from the United States. But the country has stayed afloat by selling discounted oil to China, among other maneuvers. It has also diversified its economy away from oil and increased trade with BRICS members.

                                                                                                                                Mohammad Jamshidi, Iran's vice president for politics, called the invitation to join BRICS a "historic achievement and a strategic victory."

                                                                                                                                Saudi Arabia

                                                                                                                                The inclusion of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the Persian Gulf's two biggest political and financial heavyweights and two of the world's largest energy suppliers, is likely to give the bloc added heft in its quest to challenge the U.S.-dominated world order.

                                                                                                                                Both countries are longtime American allies who rely on the United States to protect them in a volatile region. But at the same time, both have chafed at the partnership in recent years, increasingly going their own way on issues like oil production, the war in Ukraine and their relationships with Iran and Syria — countries the United States would prefer to keep isolated.

                                                                                                                                Speaking at the BRICS summit in South Africa on Thursday, the Saudi foreign minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, said his country and the BRICS members shared a strong belief in "respecting the independence and sovereignty of states, and not interfering in their affairs."

                                                                                                                                Saudi Arabia sees joining the bloc as another step in its efforts to balance out its traditional partnerships with the United States and Europe with its largest trading partners in the East, China and India.

                                                                                                                                The Saudi foreign minister indicated that his country had not yet decided on whether to join BRICS. He said it appreciated the invitation but was waiting for more details from the group on the nature of membership.

                                                                                                                                "Based on that and after our internal deliberations, we will make the appropriate decision," he told the local news media on Thursday.

                                                                                                                                United Arab Emirates

                                                                                                                                The Emirates, like Saudi Arabia, has sought a bigger leadership role in the Middle East in recent years, even when that meant diverging from American interests.

                                                                                                                                Despite counting on American security guarantees, the Emirati ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has cozied up to both Russia and China. He visited Russia twice over the past year to meet with its president, Vladimir V. Putin, and agreed to have the Emirati Air Force train with China's this month.

                                                                                                                                Economically, too, the Emirates has thrived on non-Western relationships. The glitzy city-state of Dubai is flush with Russian money, oil and gold that found a home there after Western sanctions hit Russia following its invasion of Ukraine. Its trade with India and China has flourished.

                                                                                                                                The country still gets most of its weaponry from the United States, and analysts say it is not about to abandon the United States' security umbrella anytime soon.

                                                                                                                                But officials have expressed frustration with what they see as the United States' failure to protect the Persian Gulf from threats from Iran, which gulf countries believe has launched attacks on both the Emirates and its close partner, Saudi Arabia, in recent years. And they are skeptical that the American leadership is truly committed to the Middle East.

                                                                                                                                Those concerns were factors in the Emirati and Saudi decisions to reach separate détentes with Iran, their longtime regional nemesis, making it possible for the first time in years for all three countries to belong to the same bloc.


                                                                                                                                Argentina has the third-largest economy in Latin America, after Brazil and Mexico. Its backers in BRICS include India; Brazil, its largest trading partner; and China, with which it has increasingly close financial ties.

                                                                                                                                President Alberto Fernández of Argentina said in a recorded address on Thursday that entrance into BRICS represented an economic opportunity for his country, which is mired in one of its worst financial crises in decades, with annual inflation surpassing 100 percent.

                                                                                                                                Gabriel Merino, an international relations expert based in Buenos Aires, said admission into BRICS would reinforce important markets for Argentina and open new ones. It will also provide new financing avenues once the country gains admission into the BRICS's New Development Bank.


                                                                                                                                Egypt is one of the top recipients of American aid, but it has long maintained a strong relationship with Russia and has growing trade ties with China.

                                                                                                                                Its interest in weaning itself off American dependence strengthened over the last year and a half, as Egypt learned just how troublesome relying on the dollar can be. Russia's invasion of Ukraine touched off a foreign currency crisis and then put the Egyptian economy in a tailspin.

                                                                                                                                Investors pulled billions of dollars out of Egypt in a panic, and crucial wheat and fuel imports, bought with dollars, soared in price. Some imports became scarce and prices rose.

                                                                                                                                The dollar shortage also made it harder for the country to repay its debts and forced it to devalue its currency steeply, worsening the pain for ordinary Egyptians.

                                                                                                                                Inside BRICS, Egypt could trade in local currency. It also hopes to attract more investment from member countries.


                                                                                                                                Not long ago, Ethiopia was the rising star of Africa — one of the world's fastest-growing economies, led by Abiy Ahmed, a dynamic young leader who had won a Nobel Peace Prize.

                                                                                                                                But two years of civil war in the Tigray region ruined most of that. The economy tanked, the United States cut trade privileges and suspended food aid to Ethiopia, and Mr. Abiy has struggled to hold together a volatile nation.

                                                                                                                                Although the Tigray conflict ended last November, Mr. Abiy's forces have begun a new fight with powerful militias in another region.

                                                                                                                                For Mr. Abiy, BRICS offers an opportunity to move further from the American orbit. He is already closely allied to the Emirates, which provided crucial military support during the Tigray war.

                                                                                                                                And economically, Mr. Abiy needs foreign help to bolster Ethiopia's flagging currency and to seek new investments: This week, his finance minister, Ahmed Shide, estimated it would cost $20 billion to rebuild from the Tigray war alone.
                                                                                                                                              At BRICS Summit, Guterres global unity call in face of 'existential' challenges (На саммите БРИКС Гутерриш призвал к глобальному единству перед лицом «экзистенциальных» проблем) / France, August, 2023
                                                                                                                                              Keywords: speech, un
                                                                                                                                              Source: news.un.or

                                                                                                                                              The UN chief on Thursday underscored the urgent need for unity and justice to tackle humanity's pressing challenges, which range from the climate crisis to economic disparities and conflicts with global implications.

                                                                                                                                              Addressing the BRICS Summit, taking place in Johannesburg, South Africa, Secretary-General António Guterres commended the Rainbow Nation's "extraordinary path to unity through action and justice."

                                                                                                                                              "That's what our world needs: unity for action and unity for justice; we are confronting existential challenges," he said, drawing attention to worsening impacts of climate change and rising poverty, hunger and inequalities.

                                                                                                                                              The BRICS group of world economies made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa which joined in 2010, represents more than 40 per cent of the world's population, and all five States are also members of the wider G20 bloc.

                                                                                                                                              Mr. Guterres spotlighted the risks posed by emerging technologies without a comprehensive global framework, while also shedding light on the geopolitical divides and conflicts, especially the impacts stemming from the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

                                                                                                                                              Multipolar world

                                                                                                                                              In his address, Mr. Guterres outlined the global shift towards a multipolar world, cautioning that multipolarity alone cannot ensure a peaceful and just status quo. He called for robust and effective multilateral institutions to support this shift.

                                                                                                                                              Drawing parallels, he highlighted the lessons from the early 20th century when Europe's multipolarity without strong multilateral mechanisms contributed to the start of the First World War.

                                                                                                                                              "As the global community moves towards multipolarity, we desperately need – and I have been vigorously advocating for – a strengthened and reformed multilateral architecture based on the UN Charter and international law," Mr. Guterres said.

                                                                                                                                              Pointing out that today's global governance structures were established in the aftermath of World War Two, excluding many African countries still under colonial rule, he stressed the necessity for these institutions to reflect contemporary power dynamics and economic realities.

                                                                                                                                              Without reforms, fragmentation 'inevitable'

                                                                                                                                              The UN chief warned that without such reforms, fragmentation becomes inevitable.

                                                                                                                                              "We cannot afford a world with a divided global economy and financial system; with diverging strategies on technology including artificial intelligence; and with conflicting security frameworks," he said.

                                                                                                                                              Mr. Guterres went on to note that low-income countries, particularly in Africa, would bear the brunt of the impact of such a fracture.

                                                                                                                                              "I have come to Johannesburg with a simple message: in a fracturing world overwhelmed by crises, there is simply no alternative to cooperation," he said.

                                                                                                                                              Redesigning global financial architecture

                                                                                                                                              Addressing Africa's unique challenges, the Secretary-General said that as an historic victim of slavery and colonialism, the continent continues to confront "grave injustices", including economic disparities and rapid climate change.

                                                                                                                                              He called for a redesigned global financial architecture and stepped-up climate action, highlighting his Climate Solidarity Pact and Acceleration Agenda.

                                                                                                                                              "Developed countries must also finally keep their promises to developing countries: by meeting the $100 billion goal, doubling adaptation finance, replenishing the Green Climate Fund, and operationalizing the loss and damage fund this year," he said.

                                                                                                                                              Call for collective action

                                                                                                                                              Mr. Guterres concluded with a call for collective action, stressing that humanity will not be able to solve its common problems in a fragmented way.

                                                                                                                                              "Together, let us work to advance the power of universal action, the imperative for justice, and the promise of a better future."
                                                                                                                                                            ANALYSIS - Does Brics expansion mean a new global order? (АНАЛИЗ - Означает ли расширение БРИКС новый глобальный порядок?) / United Kingdom, August, 2023
                                                                                                                                                            Keywords: brics+, expert_opinion
                                                                                                                                                            United Kingdom

                                                                                                                                                            When British economist Jim O'Neill coined the "Bric" acronym about two decades ago to denote Brazil, Russia, India and China, he was writing about investment opportunities in nations set to become the world's top emerging economies.

                                                                                                                                                            Then a Goldman Sachs banker, he did not think that the four countries will borrow his idea to form a transnational bloc eight years later in 2009.

                                                                                                                                                            Now, the five-member group of developing nations has agreed to expand the alliance further to include Argentina, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and United Arab Emirates in a bid to provide a counterweight to the dominance of Western alliances in global affairs.

                                                                                                                                                            "This membership expansion is historic," Chinese president Xi Jinping, the bloc's most stalwart proponent of the enlargement, said. "It shows the determination of Brics countries for unity and cooperation with the broader developing countries."

                                                                                                                                                            The six new candidates will formally become members on 1 January 2024, South African president Cyril Ramaphosa said when he named the countries during a three-day leaders' summit he is hosting in Johannesburg.

                                                                                                                                                            "Brics has embarked on a new chapter in its effort to build a world that is fair, a world that is just, a world that is also inclusive and prosperous," Ramaphosa said.

                                                                                                                                                            "We have consensus on the first phase of this expansion process and other phases will follow."

                                                                                                                                                            The expansion adds economic heft to Brics whose current members are China – the world's second-largest economy – as well as Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa.

                                                                                                                                                            The move is also aimed at increasing Brics's clout as a champion of so-called Global South nations, many of which feel unfairly treated by international institutions dominated by the United States and other wealthy Western nations, explains professor Swaran Singh, an international relations professor at India's Jawaharlal Nehru University.

                                                                                                                                                            "Expansion of Brics or Brics were never meant for challenging any other system," he says.

                                                                                                                                                            "They were supposed to create an alternative platform to provide some opportunity for least developed and developing countries to participate in international decision making, which automatically perhaps indirectly implies that there is some discomfort with the way international decision making has happened inside the post-second World War international organizations," he tells The Independent.

                                                                                                                                                            "And therefore they were presenting an alternative to create space for these developing countries. And if it is expanding, that means that there is an increasing desire and demand in the world for a platform like this."

                                                                                                                                                            More than 40 countries expressed interest in joining Brics, with 22 formally asking, representing a disparate pool of potential candidates – from Iran to Argentina – motivated largely by a desire to level a global playing field many consider rigged against them.

                                                                                                                                                            United Nations secretary-general Antonio Guterres also attended Thursday's expansion announcement, reflecting the bloc's growing influence as he echoed its longstanding calls for reforms of the UN Security Council, International Monetary Fund, and World Bank.

                                                                                                                                                            "Today's global governance structures reflect yesterday's world," he said. "For multilateral institutions to remain truly universal, they must reform to reflect today's power and economic realities."

                                                                                                                                                            And while the criteria for inclusion of new members remains unclear, those invited to join the bloc reflect individual Brics members' desires to bring allies into the club.

                                                                                                                                                            Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva had vocally lobbied for neighbour Argentina's inclusion while Egypt has close commercial ties with Russia and India. The entry of oil powers Saudi Arabia and UAE highlights their drifting away from the United States's orbit and ambition to become global heavyweights in their own right.

                                                                                                                                                            Russia and Iran have found common cause in their shared struggle against US-led sanctions and diplomatic isolation. With their economic ties deepening in the wake of Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin used his address to lambast the West, highlight the threat they posed to traditional values in developing nations, and signal the emergence of a multi-polar world.

                                                                                                                                                            "Make no mistake: this is not just about trade," says Daniel Silke, director of the South Africa-based Political Futures consultancy. "This is about the fragmentation and political polarisation we are seeing in the world," he notes, adding that China had cited threats of a new Cold War with Washington as a reason to expand.

                                                                                                                                                            "The world... has entered a new period of turbulence and transformation," Xi said on Wednesday. "We, the Brics countries, should always bear in mind our founding purpose of strengthening ourselves through unity."

                                                                                                                                                            But Singh argues that while the individual countries may have their own national agenda when they address the Brics, "when it comes to collective, the declaration and the tone is much generic".

                                                                                                                                                            "It's not appearing at all as anti-West. It seeks reforms in the IMF. That is a fair thing that they have been talking about democratizing International institutions."

                                                                                                                                                            "But of course, Iran and Russia would be looking at Brics as their platform if they are getting isolated. This will be the collective which they will kind of depend on.

                                                                                                                                                            "So I can understand that Tehran and Moscow would have a very different take on how they see their participation in Brics.

                                                                                                                                                            "But overall, Brics is able to balance the tone and you have seen moderation in the final declaration which doesn't kind of become jingoistic exactly the way Russia would like it to be or Iran would like it to be.

                                                                                                                                                            "And of course, Russia, China, India have always said we oppose unilateral sanctions on Iran. So in that sense, you can see the same tone in the final declaration."

                                                                                                                                                            Though home to about 40 per cent of the world's population and a quarter of global gross domestic product, internal divisions have long hobbled Brics ambitions of becoming a major player on the world stage.

                                                                                                                                                            Brics countries have economies that are vastly different in scale and governments with often divergent foreign policy goals. And as a result, the West does not really see Brics as a serious threat to western blocs.

                                                                                                                                                            It was evident in the statement by White House national security advisor Jake Sullivan last Tuesday who noted that Washington does not see them as "evolving into some kind of geo-political rival to the United States or anyone else" due to divergence on critical issues.

                                                                                                                                                            The view is not unsubstantiated.

                                                                                                                                                            Its heavyweight members – China and India – are often at odds: New Delhi is more friendly to the West and has military deals with the United States, while it is in sometimes violent conflict with Beijing over their Himalayan border.

                                                                                                                                                            For Russian president Vladimir Putin the bloc is a forum to jab at the West that has sought to isolate Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine. But Lula used the summit to reiterate Brazil's position of "defending sovereignty (and) territorial integrity" of countries, in an apparent swipe at Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

                                                                                                                                                            "I doubt that an expanded Brics can pose any real challenge to existing blocs - Brics has always been incoherent politically speaking – while the Russians and Chinese have had a clear anti-West agenda, India and the rest do not necessarily see the world this way," says Jabin Thomas Jacob, an associate professor specialising in China's domestic politics and foreign relations at New Delhi's Shiv Nadar University.

                                                                                                                                                            "India has issues with Western economic domination but it is much closely aligned with the West on matters of international law and norms than it is with China or Russia.

                                                                                                                                                            "The Brics countries might look like they have taken a neutral stance on the Russian invasion but there are differences between them," says Jabin. "Clearly, China is much more invested in a Russian victory while the others are much more concerned about a quick end to the conflict and disruption in the grain and energy markets."

                                                                                                                                                            Additional reporting by agencies

                                                                                                                                                                          'Welcome to the BRICS 11' («Добро пожаловать в БРИКС-11») / UAE, August, 2023
                                                                                                                                                                          Keywords: brics+, expert_opinion, summit
                                                                                                                                                                          Author: Pepe Escobar

                                                                                                                                                                          In the end, History was made. Surpassing even the greatest of expectations, the BRICS nations performed a giant step for multipolarity by expanding the group to BRICS 11.

                                                                                                                                                                          Starting on January 1, 2024, the five original BRICS members will be joined by Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

                                                                                                                                                                          No, they won't turn into an unpronounceable BRIICSSEEUA. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov confirmed the song remains the same, with the familiar BRICS acronym to the Global South or Global Majority or "Global Globe" multilateral organization that will shape the contours of a new system of international relations.

                                                                                                                                                                          Here is the Johannesburg II Declaration of the 15th BRICS summit. BRICS 11 is just the start. There's a long line eager to join; without referring to the dozens of nations (and counting) that have already "expressed their interest", according to the South Africans, the official list, so far, includes Algeria, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Belarus, Bolivia, Venezuela, Vietnam, Guinea, Greece, Honduras, Indonesia, Cuba, Kuwait, Morocco, Mexico, Nigeria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkiye and Syria.

                                                                                                                                                                          By next year, most of them will either become BRICS 11 partners or part of the second and third wave of fully-fledged members. The South Africans have stressed that BRICS "will not be limited to just one expansion phase."

                                                                                                                                                                          Russia-China leadership, in effect

                                                                                                                                                                          The road leading to BRICS 11, during the two days of discussions in Johannesburg, was hard and bumpy, as admitted by Russian President Vladimir Putin himself. The final result turned out to be a prodigy of trans-continental inclusion. West Asia was aggregated in full force. The Arab world has three full members, as much as Africa. And Brazil strategically lobbied to incorporate troubled Argentina.

                                                                                                                                                                          The global GDP-purchasing power parity (PPP) of BRICS 11, as it stands, is now 36 percent (already larger than the G7), and the institution now encompasses 47 percent of the world's population.

                                                                                                                                                                          Even more than a geopolitical and geoeconomic breakthrough, BRICS 11 really breaks the bank on the energy front. By signing up Tehran, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, BRICS 11 instantly becomes an oil and gas powerhouse, controlling 39 percent of global oil exports, 45.9 percent of proven reserves and 47.6 percent of all oil produced globally, according to InfoTEK.

                                                                                                                                                                          A direct BRICS 11-OPEC+ symbiosis is inevitable (under Russia-Saudi Arabia leadership), not to mention OPEC itself.

                                                                                                                                                                          Translation: The collective west may soon lose its power to control global oil prices, and subsequently, the means to enforce its unilateral sanctions.

                                                                                                                                                                          A Saudi Arabia directly aligned with Russia-China-India-Iran offers a stunning counterpoint to the US-engineered oil crisis in the early 1970s, when Riyadh started wallowing in petrodollars. That represents the next stage of the Russian-initiated and Chinese-finalized rapprochement between Riyadh and Tehran, recently sealed in Beijing.

                                                                                                                                                                          And that's exactly what the Russia-China strategic leadership always had in mind. This particular diplomatic masterstroke is rife with meaningful details: BRICS 11 enters the fray on the exact same day, January 1, 2024, when Russia assumes the annual presidency of BRICS.

                                                                                                                                                                          Putin announced that the BRICS 11 summit next year will take place in Kazan, the capital city of Russia's Tatarstan, which will be yet another blow to the west's irrational, isolation-and-sanctions policies. Next January, expect further integration of the Global South/Global Majority/Global Globe, including even more radical decisions, conducted by the sanctioned-to-oblivion Russian economy - now, incidentally, the 5th largest in the world by a PPP of over $5 trillion.

                                                                                                                                                                          G7 in a coma

                                                                                                                                                                          The G7, for all practical purposes, has now entered an Intensive Care Unit. The G20 may be next. The new "Global Globe" G20 may be the BRICS 11 – and later on the BRICS 20 or even BRICS 40. By then, the petrodollar will also be on life support in the ICU.

                                                                                                                                                                          The BRICS 11 climax could not have been accomplished without a stellar performance by the Men of the Match: Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping, supported by their respective teams. The Russia-China strategic partnership dominated in Johannesburg and set the major guidelines. We need to be bold and expand; we need to press for reform of the current institutional framework – from the UN Security Council to the IMF and the WTO; and we need to get rid of those institutions that are subjugated by the artificial "rules-based international order."

                                                                                                                                                                          No wonder Xi defined the moment, on the record, as "historic." Putin went so far as to publicly call on all BRICS 11 to abandon the US dollar and expand trade settlements in national currencies - stressing that BRICS "oppose hegemonies of any kind" and "the exceptional status that some countries aspire to," not to mention "a policy of continued neo-colonialism."

                                                                                                                                                                          Importantly, as much as the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is celebrating its 10th anniversary next month, Putin drove home the necessity to:

                                                                                                                                                                          "…establish a permanent BRICS transport commission, which would deal not only with the North-South project [referring to the INTSC transportation corridor, whose key BRICS members are Russia, Iran and India], but also on a broader scale with the development of logistics and transport corridors, interregional and global."

                                                                                                                                                                          Pay attention. That's Russia-China in synch on connectivity corridors, and they are preparing to further link their continental transportation projects.

                                                                                                                                                                          On the financial front, the Central Banks of the current BRICS have been instructed to seriously investigate and increase trading in local currencies.

                                                                                                                                                                          Putin made a point of being very realistic on de-dollarization: "The issue of the single settlement currency is a complex issue, but we will move toward solving these problems one way or another." That complemented Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva's remarks on how the BRICS has started a working group to study the viability of a reference currency.

                                                                                                                                                                          In parallel, the BRICS' New Development Bank (NDB) has welcomed three new members: Bangladesh, Egypt, and UAE. Yet their road to prominence from now will be even steeper.

                                                                                                                                                                          South African President Cyril Ramaphosa publicly praised NDB President Dilma Rousseff's report on the nine-year-old institution; but Dilma herself stressed again that the bank aims to reach only 30 percent of total loans in currencies bypassing the US dollar.

                                                                                                                                                                          That's hardly enough. Why? It's up to Sergey Glazyev, the Minister of Macroeconomics at the Eurasia Economic Commission, working under the Russia-led EAEU, to answer the key question:

                                                                                                                                                                          "It is necessary to change the statutory documents of this bank. When it was created, I tried to explain to our financial authorities that the capital of the bank should be spread between the national currencies of founding countries. But American agents madly believed in the US dollar. As a result, this bank today is afraid of sanctions and is semi-paralyzed."

                                                                                                                                                                          No mountains can stop a mighty river

                                                                                                                                                                          So yes, the challenges ahead are immense. But the drive to succeed is contagious, perhaps best epitomized by Xi's remarkable speech at the closing ceremony of the BRICS Business Forum, read out by Chinese Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao.

                                                                                                                                                                          It's as if Xi had invoked a Mandarin version of the 1967 American pop classic "Ain't No Mountain High Enough." He quoted a Chinese proverb: "No mountains can stop the surging flow of a mighty river." And he reminded his audience that the fight was both noble - and necessary:

                                                                                                                                                                          "Whatever resistance there may be, BRICS, a positive and stable force for good, will continue to grow. We will forge stronger BRICS strategic partnership, expand the 'BRICS Plus' model, actively advance membership expansion, deepen solidarity and cooperation with other EMDCs [emerging market developing countries], promote global multipolarity and greater democracy in international relations, and help make the international order more just and equitable."

                                                                                                                                                                          Now add this profession of faith in humanity to the way the "Global Globe" perceives Russia. Even though the Russian economy's purchasing power parity is by now ahead of the imperial European vassals that seek to crush it, the Global South's perception of Moscow is as "one of our own." What happened in South Africa made this even more clear, and Russia's ascendency to the BRICS presidency in four months will crystallize it.

                                                                                                                                                                          It's no wonder that the collective west, dazed and confused, now trembles as it feels the earth – 85 percent of it, at least - moving under its feet.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Full text: Xi Jinping's speech at the 15th BRICS Summit (Полный текст: Выступление Си Цзиньпина на 15-м саммите БРИКС) / China, August, 2023
                                                                                                                                                                                        Keywords: speech, summit, xi_jinping

                                                                                                                                                                                        Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday addressed the 15th BRICS Summit in South Africa's Johannesburg, urging joint efforts to deepen BRICS cooperation and make global governance more just and equitable.

                                                                                                                                                                                        The following is the full text of his speech:

                                                                                                                                                                                        Seeking Development Through Solidarity and Cooperation and Shouldering Our Responsibility for Peace

                                                                                                                                                                                        Your Excellency President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa,

                                                                                                                                                                                        Your Excellency President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva,

                                                                                                                                                                                        Your Excellency President Vladimir Putin,

                                                                                                                                                                                        Your Excellency Prime Minister Narendra Modi,

                                                                                                                                                                                        I am very pleased to join you in Johannesburg for the important discussions on BRICS cooperation and development. It is especially significant that the BRICS Summit is held in Africa for the third time. I wish to thank President Ramaphosa and the South African government for the thoughtful arrangements.

                                                                                                                                                                                        We gather at a time when the world has entered a new period of turbulence and transformation. It is undergoing major shifts, division and regrouping, leading to more uncertain, unstable and unpredictable developments.

                                                                                                                                                                                        BRICS is an important force in shaping the international landscape. We choose our development paths independently, jointly defend our right to development, and march in tandem toward modernization. This represents the direction of the advancement of human society, and will profoundly impact the development process of the world. Our track record shows that we have consistently acted on the BRICS spirit of openness, inclusiveness and win-win cooperation, and taken BRICS cooperation to new heights in support of our five countries' development. We have upheld fairness and justice in international affairs, stood up for what is right on major international and regional issues, and enhanced the voice and influence of emerging markets and developing countries. BRICS countries invariably advocate and practice independent foreign policies. We always address major international issues based on their merits, making fair remarks and taking fair actions. We do not barter away principles, succumb to external pressure, or act as vassals of others. We BRICS countries share extensive consensus and common goals. No matter how the international situation changes, our commitment to cooperation since the very beginning and our common aspiration will not change.

                                                                                                                                                                                        We gather at a crucial time to build on our past achievements and open up a new future for BRICS cooperation. We should navigate the trend of our times and stay in the forefront. We should always bear in mind our founding purpose of strengthening ourselves through unity, enhance cooperation across the board, and build a high-quality partnership. We should help reform global governance to make it more just and equitable, and bring to the world more certainty, stability and positive energy.

                                                                                                                                                                                        —We should deepen business and financial cooperation to boost economic growth. Development is an inalienable right of all countries, not a privilege reserved for a few. The world economic recovery remains shaky, with less than three percent of growth for the year as estimated by some international institutions. Challenges for developing countries are even more formidable, hampering their efforts to realize the Sustainable Development Goals. We BRICS countries should be fellow companions on the journey of development and revitalization, and oppose decoupling and supply chains disruption, as well as economic coercion. We should focus on practical cooperation, particularly in such fields as digital economy, green development, and supply chain, and bolster economic, trade and financial exchanges.

                                                                                                                                                                                        China will set up a China-BRICS Science and Innovation Incubation Park for the New Era to support the deployment of innovation results. Under the BRICS Remote Sensing Satellite Constellation mechanism, we will explore the establishment of a BRICS Global Remote Sensing Satellite Data and Application Cooperation Platform to provide data support for agriculture, ecological conservation and disaster reduction in various countries. China will also work with all parties to jointly establish a BRICS Framework on Industrial Cooperation for Sustainable Development as a platform of industrial coordination and project cooperation in implementing the United Nations (UN) 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

                                                                                                                                                                                        —We should expand political and security cooperation to uphold peace and tranquility. As a Chinese saying suggests, "Nothing is more beneficial than stability, and nothing is more detrimental than turmoil." The Cold War mentality is still haunting our world, and the geopolitical situation is getting tense. All nations long for a sound security environment. International security is indivisible. Attempts to seek absolute security at the expense of others will eventually backfire. The Ukraine crisis has evolved to where it is today because of complex reasons. What is pressing now is to encourage peace talks, promote deescalation, end the fighting and realize peace. No one should add fuel to the fire to worsen the situation.

                                                                                                                                                                                        BRICS countries should keep to the direction of peaceful development and consolidate the BRICS strategic partnership. We need to make good use of the BRICS Foreign Ministers' Meeting, the Meeting of High Representatives on National Security and other mechanisms, support each other on issues concerning our respective core interests, and enhance coordination on major international and regional issues. We need to tender good offices on hotspot issues, pushing for political settlement and lowering the temperature. Artificial intelligence (AI) is a new area of development. BRICS countries have agreed to launch the AI Study Group of BRICS Institute of Future Networks at an early date. We need to enable the Study Group to play its full role, further expand cooperation on AI, and step up information exchange and technological cooperation. We need to jointly fend off risks, and develop AI governance frameworks and standards with broad-based consensus, so as to make AI technologies more secure, reliable, controllable and equitable.

                                                                                                                                                                                        —We should increase people-to-people exchanges and promote mutual learning between civilizations. There are many civilizations and development paths in the world, and this is how the world should be. Human history will not end with a particular civilization or system. BRICS countries need to champion the spirit of inclusiveness, advocate peaceful coexistence and harmony between civilizations, and promote respect of all countries in independently choosing their modernization paths. We need to make good use of such mechanisms as the BRICS seminar on governance, the BRICS forum on people-to-people and cultural exchanges, and the Women Innovation Contest to deepen people-to-people exchanges and strengthen the bond between our peoples.

                                                                                                                                                                                        China would like to propose that BRICS countries expand cooperation on education, enhance the role of the BRICS alliance for vocational education, explore and set up a cooperation mechanism on digital education, and foster a paradigm of all-round cooperation on education. In addition, we also need to strengthen exchanges on traditional cultures and promote the renewal of fine traditional cultures.

                                                                                                                                                                                        —We should uphold fairness and justice and improve global governance. Strengthening global governance is the right choice if the international community intends to share development opportunities and tackle global challenges. International rules must be written and upheld jointly by all countries based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, rather than dictated by those with the strongest muscles or the loudest voice. Ganging up to form exclusive groups and packaging their own rules as international norms are even more unacceptable. BRICS countries should practice true multilateralism, uphold the UN-centered international system, support and strengthen the WTO-centered multilateral trading system, and reject the attempt to create small circles or exclusive blocs. We need to fully leverage the role of the New Development Bank, push forward reform of the international financial and monetary systems, and increase the representation and voice of developing countries.

                                                                                                                                                                                        I am glad to see the growing enthusiasm of developing countries about BRICS cooperation, and quite a number of them have applied to join the BRICS cooperation mechanism. We need to act on the BRICS spirit of openness, inclusiveness and win-win cooperation to bring more countries into the BRICS family so as to pool our wisdom and strength to make global governance more just and equitable.


                                                                                                                                                                                        The ancient African continent is a reservoir of simple yet profound wisdom. As an African proverb puts it, "If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together." The philosophy of Ubuntu, which believes that "I am because we are," highlights the interdependence and interconnectedness of all peoples. Similarly, harmonious coexistence has been the aspiration of the Chinese nation for thousands of years. China is ready to work with BRICS partners to pursue the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind, enhance the strategic partnership, and deepen cooperation across the board. As fellow BRICS members, we should meet our common challenges with a shared sense of mission, shape a brighter future with a common purpose, and march together on the journey toward modernization.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Thank you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Africa gets a greater influence in BRICS decisions with Ethiopia, Egypt accepted into the bloc (Африка получает большее влияние на решения БРИКС, а Эфиопия и Египет приняты в блок) / South Africa, August, 2023
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Keywords: brics+
                                                                                                                                                                                                      South Africa

                                                                                                                                                                                                      The expansion of BRICS – from five to 11 countries, including Ethiopia and Egypt – will allow Africa to have a greater influence on the group's decisions regarding trade and geopolitics.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      There was a positive response to the announcement yesterday by President Cyril Ramaphosa that the two African countries, along with Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Iran and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), would be part of the bloc that represents the Global South.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      BRICS will now represent 46% of the world's population and an even greater share of its economic output.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Announcing the outcomes of the 15th BRICS Summit that ended in Johannesburg yesterday, Ramaphosa said BRICS was made up of a diverse group of nations.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      "It is an equal partnership of countries that have differing views but have a shared vision for a better world."

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Ramaphosa said the BRICS countries had reached consensus on the first phase of this expansion process. He said leaders had adopted the Johannesburg II Declaration, which reflected key BRICS messages on matters of global economic, financial and political importance.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      The summit agreed to task the BRICS finance ministers or Central Bank governors to consider the issue of local currencies, payment instruments and platforms and report back to the BRICS leaders by the next summit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Twenty countries had applied to be part of the expanded grouping, which has been referred to as "BRICS Plus" by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      "We have decided to invite the Argentine Republic, the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to become full members of BRICS. The membership will take effect from 1 January 2024," Ramaphosa said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      He said foreign ministers had been tasked to further develop the BRICS partner country model and a list of prospective partner countries and report by the next Summit, to be held in Russia.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi said: "We appreciate the confidence of all BRICS member states with whom we share robust relations. We look forward to co-operating and co-ordinating with them, and with the other countries invited to join the bloc, to achieve its goals toward strengthening economic co-operation among us and raise the voice of the Global South with regard to the various issues and development challenges we encounter in order to promote the developing countries' rights and interests."

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on X, formerly known as Twitter, described the announcement as a great moment for his country. "Ethiopia stands ready to co-operate with all for an inclusive and prosperous global order."

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Unisa Professor Emeritus of International Law Andre Thomashausen described the expansion as a fundamental shift in the international order.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      "BRICS was formed in 2004 for developing countries to have a greater say in development and modernisation. That is why a country like Ethiopia has been invited, it has a global airline, an enterprising rail project and it really is on the move." He said the three African countries would have a greater influence on BRICS and help prioritise the needs of the rest of the continent.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thomashausen said the BRICS culture was crucial as it enabled countries to consult, plan and make decisions despite their differences.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      He said two crucial items in the declaration included a review of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) quotas system before December 15, and the strengthening of disarmament and non-proliferation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      "The US has always had the majority say in IMF quotas or decisions and they have given the fund until December 15 to revise this. The BRICS nations have given a clear affirmation that they want disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons to be resumed – this conflicts with Nato countries but BRICS is adamant that this is not in the interests of development."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's remarks and answers to questions at the news conference following the BRICS Summit, Johannesburg, August 24, 2023 (Выступление и ответы на вопросы Министра иностранных дел С.В.Лаврова на пресс-конференции по итогам саммита БРИКС, Йоханнесбург, 24 августа 2023 года) / Russia, August, 2023

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ladies and gentlemen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The BRICS Summit is over. President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin took part in the summit via videocall. I was instructed to represent our country here on site.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A news conference by our leaders took place on the results of the summit. All five leaders presented their opinions, starting with President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa, as the BRICS Chair in 2023. He announced the adoption of the final political declaration focusing on the decision to increase the number of full BRICS members by six states.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    BRICS Plus is already underway. We have invited over 60 countries that are interested in developing relations with our association in the BRICS Plus/Outreach format and partner countries. This is a new format that was endorsed at the summit. Translating this agreement into a list of nominees for partner country status will be completed by the next summit to be held in Kazan in the autumn of 2024. The foreign ministers have been charged with continuing this work.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Question: The term "common account unit" is being mentioned increasingly often. President of Brazil Lula da Silva used it at a plenary session. Did you discuss at the summit any practical details for introducing this (possible time frame) and how it would function? Could this really become a quick alternative for a BRICS "common currency"?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sergey Lavrov: Nobody is talking now about a "common currency." At this point, all attention is focused on mutual trade, economic projects and investment. These things should be independent from the system controlled by the US and its Western allies. They should not depend on the dollar, euro or yen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    These countries have proven their ability to abuse their status of the issuer of reserve currencies in order to reach their goals in violation of all rules of a free market, international trade and the WTO.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The Five created another project called "the pool of reserve currencies" a long time ago after the establishment of the New Development Bank. This is a prelude to the steps that we are planning to take now to facilitate the use of national currencies, and, most importantly, to form an alternative payment system. The finance ministers and central bank governors of our countries have been charged with working out the details of this plan. They will set up a working group and prepare recommendations for the heads of state by the next summit in Kazan.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Question: How tough were the talks on expanding BRICS? Have you been able to agree on the criteria for accepting new countries into the group? Will BRICS change its name? How would you explain the fact that dozens of countries have been increasingly showing an interest in joining this association?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sergey Lavrov: We had quite a lively discussion on this matter. I cannot say that there were no issues at all, but all the countries involved were committed to arriving at a decision on accepting new countries into our group.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Of course, we relied on the criteria and procedures as approved for our partner countries. The weight, prominence and importance of the candidates and their international standing were the primary factors for us. It is our shared view that we must recruit like-minded countries into our ranks that believe in a multipolar world order and the need for more democracy and justice in international relations. We need those who champion a bigger role for the Global South in global governance. Six countries whose accession was announced today fully meet these criteria. They will be able to fully contribute to our efforts within BRICS effective January 1, 2024. Let me remind you that these countries are Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Argentina, Ethiopia, Iran, and Egypt. They all expressed their desire to join our group. Of the 23 applications we received, we reviewed six, and I have just listed them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    What caused this explosive expansion of BRICS? I believe that it stems from the fact that countries willing to forge closer ties with the five BRICS nations have a keen understanding of the deep-running international processes. They exposed the West in its relentless efforts to preserve its hegemony at any cost. And they understand all too well the causes which compel the West to pursue its objectives. In this case, it has been exploiting Ukraine to target the Russian Federation. All this was part of our discussions and conversations with the countries represented today at the meetings in Johannesburg. This hegemonism has a global span – that much is clear. Everyone understands that the United States is not out to punish Russia by relying on the Nazi regime, but to do away with any discordant voices or dissent on the international stage. This has been in plain view lately.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We are now in Africa. Just look at the way the Americans have been pressuring African countries by literally imposing their will on them. Last year, the United States adopted the Countering Malign Russian Activities in Africa Act. When the US House of Representative passed this act, but before it got to the Senate, Africans voiced their misgivings and spoke out against this kind of a boorish attitude towards them. The House is now thinking about changing the title. But the gist will remain unchanged. The United States adopted a Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa. This 17-page document mentions Russia and China seven times as the main obstacle to Africa's prosperity. It may well be that it targets people who have no experience in this area, who do not understand or have enough knowledge of history. However, this is yet another insult for African countries. This amounts to denying them their sovereign right to choose their partners. The IMF and the World Bank held their meetings in autumn of 2022, offering US Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen a rostrum for lecturing African countries. She had no qualms telling them that they must be mindful where they are getting their money from. This is what she said in plain English foregoing any attempts at diplomacy. At a recent intra-African event, President of Kenya William Ruto went on record saying that the Americans and their closest allies demand that African countries accept invitations to events which cater to the Western interests while refraining from attending those in which the Russian Federation takes part. This is all happening in plain view.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    No decent country would tolerate this attitude. Many believe that they can hardly counter this kind of pressure on their own. They view the organisation as a group of allies forming the core of the multipolar world order which we must forge together in keeping with the objective global development trends.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Of course, BRICS is one of the leading and fundamental pillars in the foundation of a world order with better justice for all and rooted in the principles set forth in the UN Charter, especially now that this group has become even stronger and larger. I am referring to all the principles of the United Nations in their entirety and the way they interact as a single whole, rather than about their distorted interpretation by the West, including as it applies to the developments in Ukraine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    As for the name, everyone wants it to remain unchanged. It has become a brand of sorts. No one among the new countries joining the BRICS suggested anything else. I believe that everyone understands that leaving everything as it is right now would be the best option to emphasise continuity in our work.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Question: Representatives of the Global Majority have assembled in Johannesburg today. We can see how the interests of this majority, to put it mildly, do not tally with the agenda pursued by the collective West. What should happen to make the latter change their foreign policy and start manoeuvring towards common sense?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Did you discuss issues related to democratising the UN and, specifically, to reviving its central role in coordinating the interests of the member states during your meetings on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sergey Lavrov: It's an extensive question that invites a lecture. I will try to give you a concise summary.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I can't judge when the West will be prepared to see sense. The functionaries who are at the head of governments in the overwhelming majority of Western countries, are united in their determination to promote the US agenda under Washington's guidance, including (as we see it in Europe) to the detriment of their own economies and citizens. It is an ideology-driven group of countries, which, as President Putin once put it, see themselves as inhabitants of the Heaven and are trying to replace our Lord God.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Occasionally we come in contact with people of this sort and talk to them behind the scenes, but we do not see even a glimmer of common sense there. "You should," "you must…" Who do we owe or are obliged to? This is not the case where you can hope to bring your point of view across to an interlocutor via a dialogue and expect them at least to hear it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We are always open to discussions, but we are not going to respond with calls for a discussion to arrogant ultimatums, blackmail and threats. If common sense fails to prevail… The Westerners say themselves that they must defeat Russia on the battlefield and inflict a strategic defeat on it. This is what they have in mind instead of common sense for now. This means we will work on that field – the battlefield, not the field of diplomacy or international law.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    They are well aware of this but cannot say so in public. They are forbidden to do this. They know what we are fighting for there. As President Vladimir Putin said in his remarks at the BRICS Summit, [we are fighting for] our security, for the interests of people who want to speak Russian, teach their children in Russian, and use the benefits of Russian culture on the land where their ancestors lived for centuries. This is a thing that should be clear to everyone.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    As for democratising the UN, we have long insisted on the need to reform the United Nations. Many novelties have been introduced over the past 15 years, including various commissions on peacebuilding (a new item on the agenda), on climate, on artificial intelligence and information technologies… A lot has been done. This helps the UN to adapt to the developments in the world, in science and technology.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The principal issue is how to reform the Security Council. It is this body that symbolises the UN in the eyes of most people. It possesses powers that no one else has, including the power to make decisions on war and peace, or on coercive measures like sanctions. While speaking about justice and democratisation, we must not put up with the fact that six out of 15 members of the UN Security Council represent the United States camp and obediently do the US bidding.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We discussed this matter yesterday and earlier today. The documents we have approved contain a paragraph confirming that the BRICS countries are committed to a Security Council reform to be carried out in the interests of expanding the representation of developing countries. They also mention India, Brazil and South Africa as the states whose active role in the UN we value and want to be strengthened at the UN Security Council.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This is the first time that BRICS documents state our support for the UN Security Council reform through expanding developing countries' representation in all membership categories, including permanent membership.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We have again explained our position regarding the two other candidates for permanent seats. India and Brazil officially submitted their bids long ago. The same has been done by Germany and Japan. Together they form the so-called G4 nations. In the situational sense, their interests are identical. But conceptually there can be no question of Germany and Japan joining the Security Council on a permanent basis, thereby aggravating the bias. The Golden Billion is represented by over one-third of the current Security Council composition, while the remaining 7 billion are under-represented. Neither Germany, nor Japan will introduce anything new to discussions at the Security Council. They are obedient actors implementing Washington's will, like the rest of Western countries. The infrequent invocations of the EU's "strategic autonomy" are drowned by barked commands to keep the discipline and toe the line.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Today's decision that was announced at the morning news conference would promote our coordination. As it is, BRICS regularly holds events at the UN. For example, the UN General Assembly will take place in September. Every year, we hold BRICS ministerial meetings there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    As the incoming BRICS Chair, we will not wait until January 1, 2024, and will start establishing contacts with the new members ahead of that date. We will show them the ropes so that the Eleven (a football team indeed!) are fully updated on the issues announced by the Russian Chairmanship.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Today, President of Russia Vladimir Putin described what we are going to do in 2024 to promote the decisions and results achieved under South Africa's Chairmanship.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Question: Russia is taking over the BRICS chairmanship next year. You have already mentioned that the BRICS Summit will take place in Kazan. This year's final declaration contains wishes of success to Russia. Are we ready for the summit? What can we expect from the Russian chairmanship? What does Russia want to achieve?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sergey Lavrov: If you have been watching our lives for the past 20 years, you know that we are ready for anything.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    President of Russia Vladimir Putin announced the priorities that we are going to promote. First, there are inherited responsibilities such as fulfilling the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership. There is a BRICS Action Plan for Innovation Cooperation for 2021-2024. The chairmanship will be responsible for ensuring that all projects under the chairmanship be implemented. As for the Action Plan for Innovation Cooperation, during the Covid pandemic, BRICS created bodies in charge of countering contagious diseases and established a joint virus research centre, and took other measures. Considering our leading role in this area, we will make public healthcare one of our priorities.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Second, the BRICS Business Council, the Women's Business Alliance (established at Russia's initiative) and the BRICS Youth Forum will continue, along with intensified contacts between scientists, cultural workers and teachers (the BRICS Network University). Several events for higher education institutions in the five countries (or 11 starting next year) are planned under the Russian chairmanship.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    As concerns energy, there is a platform for energy research created at Russia's initiative a long time ago. The platform is in operation, providing useful data. Now that major energy suppliers like Saudi Arabia and the UAE have decided to join BRICS, our cooperation in the energy sector will reach a completely new level and will become highly relevant. Good luck is something everybody needs. I can guarantee that we will have it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Question: Some analysts and media outlets stated in the run-up to the summit that the expansion of BRICS would be Moscow and Beijing's moral victory. The organisation's total weight in the global economy and geopolitics is indeed going up. What can you say about Russia's relative weight in BRICS in view of the fact that this summer, the BRICS New Development Bank has opted out of new investment projects in Russia due to sanctions?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sergey Lavrov: Russia's weight has nothing to do with the New Development Bank's decisions although the decision to suspend the projects in Russia that were already approved was illegitimate. The bank's former management overstepped their authority and distorted the statutory objectives set during the establishment of the New Development Bank.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The bank's new president, Dilma Rousseff, fully understands the objectives according to the above-stated incorporation documents. These objectives are to develop banking relations and finance industrial and other projects in the interests of the bank's member states, regardless of the artificial obstacles put up by international monetary bodies at the behest of the United States.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    There is an agreement to begin constructive work on developing alternative payment systems, another contribution to ensuring the effective operation of the New Development Bank.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I would refrain from discussing anybody's relative weight. After all, the relative weight of each country can be measured based on its UN membership: how much influence it has and how many representatives work in the Secretariat according to respective quotas.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The difference between BRICS and the G7 or other West-centric associations is that in those associations, everybody looks up to the United States. There may be small differences and some parties may try to push other decisions in addition to the strategic course determined by Washington – but the United States dictates the general course.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Our association takes a completely different approach. We had a very extensive discussion about this during our private meetings today and yesterday. There is the reason why, in response to the previous question, I spoke about the explosive interest in cooperating with BRICS and joining the group. These tendencies are the outcome of this approach. We operate in a different, more honest way: every participant is equal to the others. If somebody is not satisfied with a decision, there will be no consensus. If somebody feels uncomfortable, the other parties will do their best to come up with a wording or decision to ensure our unity. This is how we reach consensus instead of obeying the big boss. Consensus takes more time but agreements achieved through this process are significantly more stable, lasting and fruitful.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    From what I read and saw on television before the summit, Western media, when they announced the opening of the summit, they referred to BRICS as an "economic club." To a certain extent, economics plays an important role in the organisation, considering that the five member states are ahead of the G7 in terms of purchasing power parity, and with the addition of six new members, this gap will widen even more. We do a lot on the economy track. I have already laid out the plans for our central banks, and the ministries of finance, energy and transport.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    One of the important initiatives put forward by President of Russia Vladimir Putin, prompted by the situation with supply chains and logistics infrastructure in general, is a promising project that is now gaining priority – the International North-South Transport Corridor. Together with the Northern Sea Route, it will be a game changer for the global economy and the states located in Eurasia in terms of growth rates. With the addition of the Middle East and the Gulf countries, the opportunities for the effective implementation of these logistics projects will only increase.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    President Vladimir Putin has proposed creating a BRICS commission on transports. I think we will do this during our chairmanship. Similarly, everyone supported Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's proposal to create a space exploration commission. A very good initiative. We all congratulated our Indian friends on the successful docking of their lander in a place on the Moon where nothing made by humanity had ever touched its surface. Space is a promising area, as well as energy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    BRICS has a huge economic potential. But calling BRICS an economic club is trying to belittle its real significance. Its political declaration clearly states our demand for the democratisation of international relations, the enhancement of the role of the Global South in the global governance mechanisms. It asserts that we will abide by international law and the UN Charter in its entirety and the interrelated norms and principles contained therein.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We called for reforming the UN Security Council exclusively in favour of the developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Along with our determination to intensify the reform of the UN Security Council, the BRICS countries will also continue their coordinated activities to ensure a fairer order in the Bretton Woods institutions: the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The expansion of BRICS is a rapid and extensive process. The decision to define an additional category of partners at the next stage is a result of the organisation's approaches to international political problems and the vision of the future of international relations based on the promotion of objective multipolarity trends, where new centres of growth, financial and political influence would not simply blindly fulfil the Western "instructions," would not follow the lead of countries that are unable to abandon their colonial habits and still seek to prosper at the expense of others.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Africans have been telling us, both at this meeting and at the Russia-Africa Summit in St Petersburg, that they did not want us to supply them with food; they asked for technologies – how to grow grain efficiently, and how to process it. The same applies to many other things.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    President of Uganda Yoweri Museveni cited this example. The global coffee market is estimated at a little more than $450 billion, of which the countries producing coffee beans and raw materials account for only $25 billion. When it comes to Africa, all African countries together make less than $3 billion selling their coffee beans to the West. At the same time, Germany alone makes $7.5 billion selling processed raw materials as finished products – this is 150 percent more than the whole of Africa. That's what we talked about.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This summit raised to a qualitatively new level the discussion about justice, maintaining that one cannot go on forever draining resources from developing countries. Africans remember only too well the colonial times and what they fought for. Having gained independence, they realised the West was again trying to use them only as suppliers of low-cost resources, while appropriating all the added value and its advantages. They are not happy about this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We are approaching a serious turning point. We have reason to say that an era of transition to multipolarity has begun. It is unstoppable. This process has been historically predetermined.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Question: Several oil producing countries have joined BRICS. In this context, has Russia proposed establishing a BRICS Energy Alliance or maybe a BRICS Energy Bank as part of it? If so, have instructions to this effect been issued to the corresponding working groups?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sergey Lavrov: BRICS already has structures dealing with energy. With the new countries joining our ranks, we will look at the initiatives they have. If there will be support for them, we will carry them out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Question: In his remarks during the BRICS Summit, President Vladimir Putin said that Russia was ready to resume the grain deal if all the conditions as agreed in Türkiye last year are met. Are there any signs that the West is ready to fulfil its obligations for reviving the grain deal?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sergey Lavrov: So far, nothing suggest that this could be the case. All the West does is call on us to support the UN proposals.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Today, I will have a meeting with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Of course, I will raise this issue with him, among other things.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Here is the gist of the proposals the United Nations made, including in May 2023 and in early July 2023: no need for Russia to withdraw from the Ukrainian part of the package, and let everything continue the same way with the possible addition of a couple more ports and more inspections in order to keep increasing shipments. If we agree, they would start discussing ways for reconnecting the Russian Agricultural Bank to SWIFT in, say, three months, and will try to persuade insurance companies not to jack up their rates, while also reaching agreements to enable Russian ships to enter some ports.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    All these provisions are unacceptable for us. They have been feeding us promises on this particular topic for an entire year. We have been hearing similar proposals, which never materialised, on other matters related to our relations with the West beyond the grain deal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Let me give you one example. Could there be anything easier than settling the situation with the 260,000 tonnes of Russian fertilisers detained in EU ports more than a year ago? The company which owns this fertiliser has already said that we will give it for free to the developing countries. President of Russia Vladimir Putin has publicly called on the European Union to unblock the fertiliser Africans need so much so that we can deliver it for free and at our expense to their destination. We came forward with this proposal more than a year ago and had to go to great pains before the first shipment of just 20,000 tonnes out of these 260,000 tonnes was sent to Malawi. In fact, it took us five months to get the green light. It took another three months to send 34,000 tonnes to Kenya. This leaves us with more than 200,000 tonnes, which are still there. The quality of fertiliser deteriorates as it sits idle in ports as deadweight. For some reason that we don't understand there is an effort to stall a similar deal for Nigeria. This is what the Western promises are worth even if you are willing to give away something for free to the neediest countries.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    President of Russia Vladimir Putin has recently reaffirmed that we are ready to revive the Ukrainian part of the package the instance all the promises are met. The deal is in fact a package. We signed it as a solution consisting of two interdependent elements.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Question: We have been in Africa for three days now. I have a question on the regional affairs. Have you discussed the situation in Niger with any of your African colleagues? What will be the response from Russia and the BRICS countries in case of a possible ECOWAS intervention in this country?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sergey Lavrov: We did not have any special discussion on the developments in Niger. It was not part of our agenda. It is up to ECOWAS to deal with these matters here, but not all its members are here, and not everyone within this community supports the intervention.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The West has a knack for taking things out of context and treating any event the way it deems fit as part of cancel culture, taking events out of context while ignoring all other factors and causes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The Sahara-Sahel region in Africa has been suffering from terrorism since 2011, when NATO broke Libya apart shattered the Libyan state and supported terrorists by pitching them against Muammar Gaddafi. When Libya ceased to exist, it became a black hole and a backyard used by millions of illegal migrants heading north, while the very criminals the West used to topple the Muammar Gaddafi regime headed south. These men have now created and strengthened groups affiliated with ISIS and al-Qaeda here. Having lent their active support to the opposition against Muammar Gaddafi and supplied it with weapons, France is now about to leave Mali, and the same goes for the EU mission.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We must see the true causes of these government coups. What did Africa get from working with the West? As I have explained just now in detail, the African continent does not get any added value. All the West wants are its resources.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We have had a different approach ever since the Soviet era. We sought to lay the foundation for industrial development, promote education and healthcare.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The government coups, as they call them, already happened in Mali, Guinea, and Burkina Faso. I may not be aware of all the details, but when a social group, in this case, the military, sees that the way their national leaders built their relations with the West to their satisfaction does not help address the issues people in these countries face, they cannot look the other way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I do not think that an intervention would benefit anyone. There are those within ECOWAS who are already creating a force to counter it. I hope that the Africans can avoid going down this road, which would be a destructive and calamitous path to take for many countries and thousands of people.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Question: Yesterday, President of France Emmanuel Macron said he was ready to talk to President of Russia Vladimir Putin when "it's useful." However, he failed to come to the BRICS Summit. Does he want to come to Moscow? When might this dialogue become useful for Russia?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sergey Lavrov: I don't follow the comments on who intends to do what with regard to Russia and says so in public. If you are interested in something, the rules of diplomacy and basic decency require that you signal your interest (whether it is concerning a meeting or a telephone conversation) through diplomatic channels. A year ago, President of France Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholtz declared that they were continuing the dialogue and would yet have their say. More than that, they explained in public how and when they would bring Russia back to "civilised society." I stopped reading this stuff and no longer pay attention to it. If you say this publicly, you are mostly saying it for your audience (your voters, your EU partners). But it is unclear what signals are actually being sent by these statements.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Question: The other day, the French President made yet another statement to the effect that France could not allow Ukraine to be defeated and that Kiev should prepare for a protracted confrontation. The French Republic, for its part, would send long-range missiles. At the same time, President Macron is presenting himself as a potential mediator in the Ukraine conflict who is ready for talks with President of Russia Vladimir Putin. He also signalled his desire to attend the BRICS Summit. Could France, in your opinion, mediate a crisis settlement? What is your attitude towards these contradictory remarks by the French President?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sergey Lavrov: I have talked about this before. I proceed from the premise that if someone wants to contribute to conflict settlement, they should do it through the relevant channels rather than through a microphone. This is common knowledge. What is the point of making loud, public statements on one subject or another; I don't know. Today they say they will be mediators, tomorrow – that they will send long-range missiles to strike at Russia's territory. It is a tall order for me to deduce any conclusions from these statements. I know what is happening in Europe. Perhaps this is about the desire to remind people about yourself, show how active you are and how much support you need. It's anyone's guess.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    France was a mediator. Mr Francois Hollande was a "guarantor" in the Minsk agreements. But in 2022, he said proudly that they had no intention of implementing anything, despite the fact that these agreements had been approved by the UN Security Council. They had to gain time to send weapons to Ukraine to use against Russia. Therefore, when Macron claims that he will send long-range missiles, this is the same as Hollande saying he will be a mediator. Judge for yourself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Question: Certain Western media outlets noted before the BRICS meeting in Johannesburg that this summit brought South Africa's relations with Moscow into focus. How would you describe the current level of interaction between Moscow and Pretoria?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sergey Lavrov: Our relations are excellent. President Ramaphosa has visited the Russian Federation twice this year. The first time was in June, when he asked President Vladimir Putin to see a delegation of seven African leaders to discuss the Ukraine situation, without any publicity, and in a businesslike manner, as it should be.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The second time was in St Petersburg when he attended the Russia-Africa Summit at the end of July. In both cases, we had frank and useful bilateral talks in an atmosphere of trust. The two presidents charted guidelines for the further development of our ties in all areas – economic, investment, high technology, science, education, sports, military and military technical cooperation; they will continue in the same vein.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I believe that our relations are on the rise. All the leading politicians in the Republic of South Africa remember the role that the Soviet Union played in their fight against apartheid as well as in the decolonisation of Africa; we appreciate that. Our ties have a solid historical and political foundation. We are increasingly focusing on the areas of material cooperation that I mentioned. There is no doubt that we have good prospects.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Question: Niger and other African countries such as Mali and Burkina Faso have been swept by protests. People are marching in the streets calling on Russia and its partners to play an active role in protecting the region's countries from foreign interference, and from neocolonialism in general. What is Russia's view on the threats of external interference in Niger? What role can Russia and its allies play in this crisis?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sergey Lavrov: Immediately after what happened in Niger, we have seen timid but rather loud attempts to accuse Russia of organising the change of power through a coup. But even officials in leading Western countries were quick to declare that they had no evidence to support such claims.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I think these demonstrations with Russian flags are primarily a reflection of how people (in this case in Niger) feel about their lives. Niger used to be one of the most reliable allies of the West, of France. The country has a US military base. People must have looked back on this decades-long priority partnership with the West and realised that it was not giving them very much; that they remain in a subordinate position with their own progress going way too slow. This reflects their dissatisfaction with Western practices, which are based on colonial methods, and on the other hand, their memories of how we fought colonialism together. I do not think this can be waved off. These are not just lofty words. For African leaders and peoples, this is indeed a deep-rooted belief.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It is time everyone starts building equal relations, respecting each other, seeking a balance of interests. It is time nations stop dictating things to others, and all governments follow the requirements that are fully consistent with the UN Charter, which stipulates the sovereign equality of all states, large and small. If at least once the West tries to pursue a policy that is in line with this requirement, which it signed and ratified when the UN was established, perhaps common sense would have a chance.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  English translation of Prime Minister's remarks at the BRICS Business Forum Leaders' Dialogue (Английский перевод выступления Премьер-министра на Диалоге лидеров Бизнес-форума БРИКС) / India, August, 2023
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Keywords: speech, narendra_modi, business_council

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Leaders of the BRICS business community,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I am pleased that as soon as we set foot on the land of South Africa, the beginning of our program is being made through the BRICS Business Forum.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  First of all, I would like to thank President Ramaphosa for his invitation and for organizing this meeting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the BRICS Business Council, I extend my heartfelt congratulations and best wishes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Over the past ten years, the BRICS Business Council has played a very important role in enhancing our economic cooperation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  When the first BRICS summit was held in 2009, the world was coming out of a major economic crisis.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  At that time, BRICS was seen as a ray of hope for the global economy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  In the present time as well, amid the COVID pandemic, tensions, and conflicts, the world is grappling with economic challenges.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  In such times, the BRICS nations once again have a significant role to play.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Despite the turmoil in the global economy, India is currently the fastest-growing major economy in the world.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Soon, India will become a five trillion-dollar economy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  There is no doubt that in the coming years, India will be the Growth Engine of the world.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This is because India has transformed times of adversity and challenges into an opportunity for economic reforms.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  In the past few years, the reforms we have undertaken in mission mode have led to consistent improvement in the ease of doing business in India.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  We have reduced the compliance burden.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  We are replacing red tape with a red carpet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The implementation of GST (Goods and Services Tax) and the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code has boosted investor confidence.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sectors such as defense and space, which were previously restricted, have now been opened up for the private sector.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  We have particularly focused on public service delivery and good governance.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Through the use of technology, India has made a significant leap in financial inclusion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The greatest benefit of this has been received by our rural women.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Today, millions of people in India receive Direct Benefit Transfers with just a click.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Over 360 billion dollars worth of such transfers have been made so far.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This has increased transparency in service delivery, reduced corruption, and minimized middlemen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  India has the most affordable per gigabyte data prices.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Today, from street vendors to large shopping malls, the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) is used for transactions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Today, India stands as the country with the highest number of digital transactions in the world.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Countries like the UAE, Singapore, and France are also joining this platform.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  There are numerous possibilities to work on this with BRICS countries as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The large scale investments being made in India's infrastructure are changing the country's landscape.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  In this year's budget, we have allocated around 120 billion dollars for infrastructure.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Through this investment, we are laying a strong foundation for a new India of the future.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Transformations are taking place rapidly in rail, road, waterways, and airways.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  New highways are being built in India at a pace of ten thousand kilometers per year.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The number of airports has doubled in the last 9 years.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  To boost investment and production, we have introduced the Production Linked Incentives scheme.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The reduction in logistics costs is making India's manufacturing sector more competitive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  In the field of renewable energy, India is one of the world leaders.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  We are actively taking steps to make India a global manufacturing hub in sectors such as solar energy, wind energy, electric vehicles, green hydrogen, and green ammonia.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It is natural that this will create a substantial market for renewable technology in India.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Today, India has the world's third-largest startup ecosystem.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  There are more than a hundred unicorns in India.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  In sectors like IT, Telecom, FinTech, AI, and semiconductors, we are promoting the vision of "Make in India, Make for the World."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  All these efforts have had a direct positive impact on the lives of the common people.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Over the past nine years, there has been a nearly threefold increase in people's incomes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Women have been a significant contributor to India's economic development.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  From IT to space, banking to healthcare, women are contributing shoulder-to-shoulder with men towards the progress of the nation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The people of India have pledged to build a developed nation by 2047.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I invite all of you to be a part of India's journey of development.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The COVID pandemic has taught us the importance of resilient and inclusive supply chains.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Mutual trust and transparency are crucial for this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  By combining each other's strengths, we can contribute significantly to the well-being of the entire world, especially the Global South.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Once again, I extend my congratulations to the leaders of the BRICS business community for their contributions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I also express my gratitude to my friend President Ramaphosa for hosting this outstanding event.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thank you. DISCLAIMER - This is the approximate translation of Prime Minister's Press Statement. Original Press Statement were delivered in Hindi.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                English translation of Prime Minister's remarks at the 15th BRICS Summit (Английский перевод выступления Премьер-министра на 15-м саммите БРИКС) / India, August, 2023
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Keywords: speech, summit, narendra_modi

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Excellency President Ramaphosa,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Excellency President Lula da Silva,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Excellency President Putin,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Excellency President Xi,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Ladies and Gentlemen,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I once again congratulate and thank my dear friend President Ramaphosa for the grand organization of the 15th BRICS Summit and the warm hospitality extended to us.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                It is a matter of great pleasure for me and my delegation to be once again in the beautiful city of Johannesburg.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                This city has a very deep connection with the people of India and the history of India.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Tolstoy Farm, at some distance from here, was built by Mahatma Gandhi 110 years ago.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                By combining the great ideas of India, Eurasia and Africa, Mahatma Gandhi had laid a strong foundation of our unity and mutual harmony.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In the last nearly two decades, BRICS has completed a very long and wonderful journey.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                We have made many achievements in this journey.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Our New Development Bank is playing an important role in the development of the countries of the Global South.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                We have created a financial safety net through the Contingency Reserve Arrangement.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                With initiatives like BRICS satellite Constellation, Vaccine R&D Centre, mutual recognition of pharma products, we are bringing positive changes in the lives of common citizens of BRICS countries.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Through initiatives like Youth Summit, BRICS Games, Think Tanks Council, we are strengthening people-to-people ties between all countries.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Railway Research Network, closer cooperation between MSMEs, online BRICS database, Startup Forum were some of the suggestions given by India to give a new direction to the BRICS agenda.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I am glad that significant progress has been made on these subjects.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I would like to put forward some suggestions for further broadening our close cooperation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The first is cooperation in the field of space. We are already working on the BRICS satellite constellation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Taking it a step further, we can consider creating a BRICS Space Exploration Consortium.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Under this, we can work for global good in areas like space research, weather monitoring.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                My second suggestion is cooperation in education, skill development and technology.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                To make BRICS a future ready organization, we have to make our societies future ready. Technology will play an important role in this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In India, we have created DIKSHA i.e. Digital Infrastructure for Knowledge Sharing platform to provide education to the children of remote and rural areas.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Also, to promote innovation among school students, we have created 10,000 Atal tinkering labs across the country.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Bhashini, an AI-based language platform, is being used in India to remove language barriers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                CoWIN platform has been created for vaccination.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Public service delivery is being revolutionized through Digital Public Infrastructure i.e. India Stack.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Diversity is a great strength of India.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The solution to any problem in India comes out at the test of this diversity.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                That's why these solutions can be easily implemented in any corner of the world.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In this context, we will be happy to share all these platforms developed in India with BRICS partners.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                My third suggestion is that we can do skills mapping together to identify each other's strengths.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Through this we can complement each other in the journey of development.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                My fourth suggestion is regarding big cats.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                A large number of big cats of different species are found in all the five countries of BRICS.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Under the International Big Cat Alliance, we can make joint efforts for their protection.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                My fifth suggestion is about traditional medicine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                We all have ecosystems of traditional medicine in our countries.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Can we together create a repository of traditional medicine?


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The countries of the Global South have been given a special importance in BRICS, under the chairmanship of South Africa.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                We heartily welcome it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                This is not only the expectation of the present time, but also the need.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                India has given top priority to this topic under its G-20 presidency.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Our effort is to move forward together with all the countries on the motto of "One Earth, One Family, One Future".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                125 countries participated in the Voice of Global South summit held in January this year, sharing their concerns and priorities.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                We have also proposed to give permanent membership of G-20 to the African Union.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I am sure all the BRICS partners are also together in the G20. And all will support our proposal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Giving special place to all these efforts in BRICS will increase the self-confidence of the countries of the Global South.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                India fully supports the expansion of the BRICS membership. And welcomes moving forward with consensus in this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In 2016, during India's chairmanship, we defined BRICS as Building Responsive, Inclusive, and Collective Solutions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                After seven years, we can say that, BRICS will be – Breaking barriers, Revitalizing economies, Inspiring Innovation, Creating opportunities, and Shaping the future.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Together with all the BRICS partners, we will continue to contribute actively in making this new definition meaningful.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thank you very much.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                DISCLAIMER - This is the approximate translation of Prime Minister's Press Statement. Original Press Statement were delivered in Hindi.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Excellency President Ramaphosa,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Excellency President Lula da Silva,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Excellency President Putin,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Excellency President Xi,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Ladies and Gentlemen,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I once again congratulate and thank my dear friend President Ramaphosa for the grand organization of the 15th BRICS Summit and the warm hospitality extended to us.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                It is a matter of great pleasure for me and my delegation to be once again in the beautiful city of Johannesburg.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                This city has a very deep connection with the people of India and the history of India.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Tolstoy Farm, at some distance from here, was built by Mahatma Gandhi 110 years ago.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                By combining the great ideas of India, Eurasia and Africa, Mahatma Gandhi had laid a strong foundation of our unity and mutual harmony.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In the last nearly two decades, BRICS has completed a very long and wonderful journey.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                We have made many achievements in this journey.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Our New Development Bank is playing an important role in the development of the countries of the Global South.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                We have created a financial safety net through the Contingency Reserve Arrangement.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                With initiatives like BRICS satellite Constellation, Vaccine R&D Centre, mutual recognition of pharma products, we are bringing positive changes in the lives of common citizens of BRICS countries.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Through initiatives like Youth Summit, BRICS Games, Think Tanks Council, we are strengthening people-to-people ties between all countries.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Railway Research Network, closer cooperation between MSMEs, online BRICS database, Startup Forum were some of the suggestions given by India to give a new direction to the BRICS agenda.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I am glad that significant progress has been made on these subjects.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I would like to put forward some suggestions for further broadening our close cooperation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The first is cooperation in the field of space. We are already working on the BRICS satellite constellation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Taking it a step further, we can consider creating a BRICS Space Exploration Consortium.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Under this, we can work for global good in areas like space research, weather monitoring.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                My second suggestion is cooperation in education, skill development and technology.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                To make BRICS a future ready organization, we have to make our societies future ready. Technology will play an important role in this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In India, we have created DIKSHA i.e. Digital Infrastructure for Knowledge Sharing platform to provide education to the children of remote and rural areas.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Also, to promote innovation among school students, we have created 10,000 Atal tinkering labs across the country.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Bhashini, an AI-based language platform, is being used in India to remove language barriers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                CoWIN platform has been created for vaccination.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Public service delivery is being revolutionized through Digital Public Infrastructure i.e. India Stack.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Diversity is a great strength of India.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The solution to any problem in India comes out at the test of this diversity.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                That's why these solutions can be easily implemented in any corner of the world.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In this context, we will be happy to share all these platforms developed in India with BRICS partners.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                My third suggestion is that we can do skills mapping together to identify each other's strengths.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Through this we can complement each other in the journey of development.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                My fourth suggestion is regarding big cats.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                A large number of big cats of different species are found in all the five countries of BRICS.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Under the International Big Cat Alliance, we can make joint efforts for their protection.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                My fifth suggestion is about traditional medicine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                We all have ecosystems of traditional medicine in our countries.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Can we together create a repository of traditional medicine?


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The countries of the Global South have been given a special importance in BRICS, under the chairmanship of South Africa.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                We heartily welcome it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                This is not only the expectation of the present time, but also the need.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                India has given top priority to this topic under its G-20 presidency.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Our effort is to move forward together with all the countries on the motto of "One Earth, One Family, One Future".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                125 countries participated in the Voice of Global South summit held in January this year, sharing their concerns and priorities.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                We have also proposed to give permanent membership of G-20 to the African Union.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I am sure all the BRICS partners are also together in the G20. And all will support our proposal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Giving special place to all these efforts in BRICS will increase the self-confidence of the countries of the Global South.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                India fully supports the expansion of the BRICS membership. And welcomes moving forward with consensus in this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In 2016, during India's chairmanship, we defined BRICS as Building Responsive, Inclusive, and Collective Solutions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                After seven years, we can say that, BRICS will be – Breaking barriers, Revitalizing economies, Inspiring Innovation, Creating opportunities, and Shaping the future.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Together with all the BRICS partners, we will continue to contribute actively in making this new definition meaningful.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thank you very much.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                DISCLAIMER - This is the approximate translation of Prime Minister's Press Statement. Original Press Statement were delivered in Hindi.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              English translation of Prime Minister's Statement on BRICS Expansion (Английский перевод заявления премьер-министра о расширении БРИКС) / India, August, 2023
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Keywords: brics+, speech, summit, narendra_modi


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Media Colleagues,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              First and foremost, I extend my heartiest congratulations to my friend, President Ramaphosa, for the successful organization of this BRICS summit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I am delighted that several positive outcomes have emerged from this three-day conference.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              On the occasion of the 15th anniversary of BRICS, we have taken a crucial decision of its expansion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              As I mentioned yesterday, India has always fully supported the expansion of BRICS membership.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              India's has always believed that the inclusion of new members will strengthen BRICS as an organization and provide new impetus to our collective endeavors.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              This step will further strengthen the faith of many countries of the world in the multipolar world order.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I am pleased that our teams have come to an agreement on the guiding principles, standards, criteria, and procedures for expansion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              And based on these, today we have agreed to welcome Argentina, Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, and UAE into BRICS.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Firstly, I extend my heartfelt congratulations to the leaders and people of these countries.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I am confident that together with these nations, we will infuse our cooperation with new momentum and energy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              India has deep and historic relationships with all these countries.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              With the help of BRICS, we will also add new dimensions to our bilateral cooperation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              For those countries that have expressed a desire to join BRICS, India will contribute in forming a consensus to welcome them as partner countries.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The expansion and modernization of BRICS sends a message that all global institutions should adapt to changing times.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              This is an initiative that can set an example for the reform of other global institutions established in the twentieth century.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Just now, my friend President Ramaphosa congratulated India on its Moon Mission, and I am experiencing this since yesterday; everyone is extending their best wishes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              And around the world, this achievement is being recognized not as the success of just one nation, but as a significant success for the human kind.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              This is a matter of immense pride for all of us, and it's an occasion to congratulate India's scientists on behalf of the entire world.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yesterday evening, India achieved a soft landing on the southern pole of the Moon with its Chandrayaan mission.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              This achievement is a significant milestone, not only for India but also for the entire global scientific community.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              In the area where India had set its target, no previous attempt had ever been made, and this endeavor has been successful. So, science has been able to take us to a very difficult terrain.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              This, in itself, is a great accomplishment for science and for the scientists.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              On this historic occasion, all the congratulatory messages for me, for India, for Indian scientists and for the global scientific community, that have been pouring in; I publicly thank all of you, on my behalf, on behalf of my countrymen, and on behalf of my scientists.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thank You. DISCLAIMER - This is the approximate translation of Prime Minister's Press Statement. Original Press Statement were delivered in Hindi.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            BRICS CHAIR President Cyril Ramaphosa's Media Briefing Remarks Announcing the Outcomes of the XV BRICS Summit, 24 August 2023 (Выступление президента Сирила Рамафосы на пресс-брифинге по итогам XV саммита БРИКС, 24 августа 2023 г.) / South Africa, August, 2023
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Keywords: media, speech, cyril_ramaphosa
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            South Africa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Members of the Media,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Good Afternoon,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            We successfully concluded the 15th BRICS Summit yesterday.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It is the first BRICS Summit to be hosted in-person since the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent global travel restrictions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Leading up to the Summit, there was a wide-ranging BRICS business programme aimed at attracting investment, promoting collaboration and showcasing opportunities within South Africa, Africa and BRICS countries.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            We welcome the clear vision of Ms Dilma Rousseff as the President of the New Development Bank on the role that the Bank should play in support of infrastructure and sustainable development in Africa and the Global South.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            We celebrated the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the BRICS Business Council and welcomed the self-review by the Council and the subsequent recommendations made to Leaders.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            We also welcomed the work of the BRICS Women's Business Alliance in their first in-person engagement with leaders. We particularly welcomed the participation of youth representatives in the Summit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            We addressed our expectations for the BRICS economic partnership to generate tangible benefits for our communities and deliver viable solutions for common challenges faced by the global South.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            We shared our vision of BRICS as a champion of the needs and concerns of the peoples of the Global South. These include the need for beneficial economic growth, sustainable development and reform of multilateral systems.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            We reiterate our commitment to inclusive multilateralism and upholding international law, including the purposes and principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            We are concerned about ongoing conflicts in many parts of the world. We stress our commitment to the peaceful resolution of differences and disputes through dialogue and inclusive consultation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The Summit noted that an unbalanced recovery from the hardship of the COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating inequality across the world.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            We encourage multilateral financial institutions and international organisations to play a constructive role in building global consensus on economic policies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            We have noted that there is global momentum for the use of local currencies, alternative financial arrangements and alternative payment systems.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            As BRICS, we are ready to explore opportunities for improving the stability, reliability and fairness of the global financial architecture.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The Summit agreed to task the BRICS Finance Ministers and/or Central Bank Governors, as appropriate, to consider the issue of local currencies, payment instruments and platforms and report back to the BRICS leaders by the next Summit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This Summit reaffirmed the importance of BRICS people-to-people exchanges in enhancing mutual understanding, friendship and cooperation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The Summit appreciates the progress made over the last year in the fields of media, culture, education, sports, arts, youth, civil society and academic exchanges.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            We adopted the Johannesburg II Declaration which reflects key BRICS messages on matters of global economic, financial and political importance.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It demonstrates the shared values and common interests that underlie our mutually beneficial cooperation as the five BRICS countries.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            BRICS itself is a diverse group of nations.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It is an equal partnership of countries that have differing views but have a shared vision for a better world.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            As the five BRICS countries, we have reached agreement on the guiding principles, standards, criteria and procedures of the BRICS expansion process, which has been under discussion for quite a while.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            We have consensus on the first phase of this expansion process, and further phases will follow.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            We have decided to invite the Argentine Republic, the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to become full members of BRICS. The membership will take effect from 1 January 2024.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            We value the interest of other countries in building a partnership with BRICS.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            We have tasked our Foreign Ministers to further develop the BRICS partner country model and a list of prospective partner countries and report by the next Summit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Today, we will be hosting leaders from Africa and the Global South in the BRICS-Africa Outreach and BRICS Plus Dialogue.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This is so that we can have an inclusive dialogue on key issues affecting developing economies and identify actions that we can take together towards a more equitable, inclusive and representative world.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            May I conclude by thanking the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India and China, together with their delegations, for participating in this most successful 15th BRICS Summit held in Johannesburg, South Africa.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Through this Summit, BRICS has embarked on a new chapter in its effort to build a world that is fair, a world that is just, a world that is also inclusive and prosperous.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I thank you.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Welcome Remarks by BRICS Chair, President Cyril Ramaphosa at the BRICS–Africa Outreach and BRICS Plus Dialogue, 24 August 2023 (Приветственное слово председателя БРИКС, президента Сирила Рамафосы на мероприятии «BRICS-Africa Outreach» и диалоге «BRICS Plus», 24 августа 2023 г.) / South Africa, August, 2023
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Keywords: speech, summit, cyril_ramaphosa
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          South Africa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Your Excellency, Mr António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Your Excellency, President Azali Assoumani, President of the Union of the Comoros and Chair of the African Union,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Your Excellencies, Leaders of BRICS nations,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Leaders of Africa and the Global South,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Leaders of Global and Regional Institutions,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Honourable Ministers,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Distinguished Guests,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It is a great honour to welcome you to South Africa for the BRICS-Africa Outreach and BRICS Plus Dialogue.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          When reflecting on the purpose and role of BRICS in the world today, we recall the Bandung Conference of 1955, where Asian and African nations demanded a greater voice for developing countries in world affairs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The Conference called for the recognition of the equality of all nations, large and small.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          We still share that common vision of a fair and just world.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          We still seek to overcome polarity and division. We want a world without barriers between North and South, East and West.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          We still seek a world in which we work together underpinned by mutual respect.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Through the 15th BRICS Summit and this Dialogue we should strive to advance the Bandung spirit of unity, friendship and cooperation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          In South Africa we have a world for this: Ubuntu.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ubuntu is a practice based on the understanding that our success, prosperity and well-being depend on the success, prosperity and well-being of others.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          We see the BRICS partnership as a catalyst for global growth and development that responds to the needs of all nations.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It is the right of Africa and the entire Global South to fully reap the benefi ts of global trade and investment. Without trade and investment our economies cannot thrive and our peoples' material conditions cannot improve.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          As the African continent, we are determined that the continent's substantial resources are harnessed for the benefit and development of Africa's people.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The African Continental Free Trade Area, once fully operational, will unlock the benefits of the continental market and generate substantial opportunities for Africa and other countries.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          To make use of these opportunities, Africa is looking to the BRICS partnership to unlock infrastructure and development financing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This was part of the founding vision of the New Development Bank.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The Bank is playing a leading role in efforts to increase the resilience of the Global South, and to bring fairness to global trading and financial systems by strengthening the use of BRICS currencies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          We have to reform global economic, financial and political governance, including the multilateral trading system, so that we create a conducive environment for fair trade.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          While many countries of the Global South are seeing significant progress in industrialisation, technological development, innovation and the digital economy, they are not fully reaping the economic benefits.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          By working together, by sharing skills and capabilities, by mobilising resources, we will be able to give renewed impetus to global growth and sustainable development.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          We need to move beyond expressions of solidarity towards inclusion and mutually beneficial economic cooperation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          We trust that this dialogue will provide leadership, vision and hope as we strive together for a better Africa and a better world.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I thank you.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        How BRICS Expansion Will Impact South America (Как расширение БРИКС повлияет на Южную Америку) / Brazil, August, 2023
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Keywords: brics+, expert_opinion
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Author: Oliver Stuenkel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        On the occasion of the 15th BRICS Leaders Summit in Johannesburg this week, the current members—Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa—invited Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to join the bloc early next year. The expansion, the first since 2010, will transform the BRICS group and represents a geopolitical win for Beijing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        For years, China had sought to add new members, while countries like Brazil and India were skeptical of the move, wary that it would dilute their influence and transform BRICS into a China-led alliance. Given Beijing's dominant role in the grouping—its economy is larger than that of all the other current members combined—it is only natural that Chinese President Xi Jinping envisions BRICS to be part of a larger number of Beijing-led initiatives, which are meant to build an increasingly China-centric global order. Adding Iran, Egypt, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates is a clear show of China's ambition to challenge U.S. influence in the Middle East, a region Beijing increasingly views as vital.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The move also has potentially significant geopolitical implications for South America. Argentina, the continent's second-largest economy, is set to join Brazil as a BRICS member. Both Javier Milei and Patricia Bullrich, the first- and second-placed finishers of the recent national primaries, have signaled skepticism about China, and Bullrich even announced her opposition to Argentina's potential BRICS accession. However, such declarations must be taken with a grain of salt. Yet while Bullrich or Milei, if victorious, could indeed decline the invitation, Argentine business elites, keen to preserve amicable ties to Beijing, are likely to pressure them to avoid antagonizing the Chinese government at a moment when the Argentine economy is extremely vulnerable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        While inviting a country like Indonesia—which requested not to be included at the last minute for reasons that are not entirely clear—would not have significantly altered the overall geopolitical role of BRICS, inviting Iran in particular is likely to change the way governments, especially in the West, perceive the bloc. Western media mostly refer to BRICS as an emerging-powers bloc. Now, the inclusion of Tehran, a regime that supplies Russia with drones for its invasion of Ukraine and that is subject to broad economic sanctions, risks consolidating the perception that the BRICS bloc is, in fact, an anti-Western alliance led by Beijing and Moscow. This may become particularly clear in 2024, when Vladimir Putin plans to host the 16th BRICS Leaders Summit to great fanfare in the city of Kazan, hoping to show that Western plans to isolate him have failed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        This is bound to have significant implications for Brazil and Argentina (as well as India and South Africa) as they attempt to position themselves as neutral or "non-aligned" actors as tensions grow between the West on the one side and the Sino-Russian bloc on the other. While India has the advantage of being seen as one of the West's key allies in Asia—and currently fosters greater military ties to both Europe and the United States through weapons purchases and its Quad membership—Brazil and Argentina also must adapt to a new geopolitical context. This new context makes it increasingly challenging to articulate a position that is, broadly speaking, equidistant from the two superpowers. Such a recalibration may involve, for example, joining the OECD in order to compensate for the BRICS' increasingly anti-Western tilt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Numerous analysts in the West are likely to wave off BRICS expansion as irrelevant, overlooking that membership involves up to a hundred yearly intra-BRICS meetings not only of presidents, but numerous ministers, government bureaucracies, regulatory agencies, think tanks and civil society organizations. The immediate impact of such encounters may not be easy to quantify, but it is no coincidence that no BRICS leader had ever missed a summit. (This year, Putin attended virtually after South Africa asked him not to come in person; the country sought to avoid having to choose whether to act on an International Criminal Court arrest warrant.) BRICS membership has long been a key element of Brazil's foreign policy identity, and there is little doubt that Argentina's BRICS accession would alter geopolitical realities in South America.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The inclusion of Argentina in the BRICS bloc could also foster a different attitude from both the United States and the European Union toward Latin America. Their inertia vis-à-vis their declining influence in the region is best symbolized by the United States' timid contributions to combat deforestation in the Amazon and the EU's hesitant negotiation strategy in the context of the EU-Mercosur trade deal, which is causing growing bewilderment in Brasília and Buenos Aires. A BRICS grouping that includes Argentina could awaken the West from its apparent passivity.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ABOUT THE AUTHOR Stuenkel is a contributing columnist for Americas Quarterly and teaches International Relations at the Getulio Vargas Foundation in São Paulo. He is the author of The BRICS and the Future of Global Order and Post-Western World: How Emerging Powers Are Remaking Global Order.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      BRICS: between broadening and deepening (БРИКС: между расширением и углублением) / China, August, 2023
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Keywords: expert_opinion, summit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Author: Andrey Kortunov

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The BRICS summit in South Africa has attracted a lot of international attention - more than such regular events usually receive. Many intriguing questions fed this attention for a couple of months. The interest in the BRICS gathering is understandable - this is the group's first face-to-face meeting at the highest level since the 2019 summit in Brasilia, Brazil. The host - South African President Cyril Ramaphosa - clearly committed himself to giving the event maximum scale and luster by inviting national leaders from 67 countries, including 53 other African states, as well as Bangladesh, Bolivia, Indonesia and Iran, not to mention heads of influential international organizations.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      All these situational uncertainties and preparation ambiguities notwithstanding, the most important issue of the 15th BRICS summit is, of course, the likely decisions on new members. Historically, BRICS has been rather reluctant to grow its ranks: Since its inception in 2009, the initial group of the four founders added only one additional member, which is now hosting the 2023 summit. In this sense, BRICS is very different from the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) that has almost doubled its membership since the early days of the original "Shanghai Five" group. However, recently membership inquiries and direct applications have been arriving in large numbers from various corners of the world. With two dozen nations standing in line to join the group, the summit in South Africa might well become a turning point in the history of BRICS.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      For any multilateral group, broadening presents both opportunities and challenges. By going broader, a group gets additional representativeness and legitimacy. Even today many BRICS leaders take pride in saying that their community accounts for more than a quarter of the planet's territory and the gross world product as well as for more than two-fifths of the world's population. Adding a couple of other large nations of the Global South would make BRICS look even more impressive. The geopolitical opponents of BRICS fully understand the implications of its possible enlargement: It's not surprising that the US leadership cautions its partners in Latin America, Middle East and Africa about applying for BRICS membership.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      However, broadening does not come without a price tag attached. More diversity within a group inevitably generates more disagreements among its members, it becomes increasingly difficult to come to a common denominator on some sensitive and divisive matters, which often happen to be the most important ones. At the same time, deepening instead of broadening has its own undeniable advantages and its strong supporters within the BRICS family. Deepening refers to strengthening the existing relationships and cooperation among the BRICS countries, rather than expanding the group by inviting new members. After expelling Russia in 2014, the group of seven leading Western economies has not announced any plans to invite new members, but it has energetically worked on its cooperation infrastructure and its institutional capacities to engage other international actors on the ad hoc basis.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Since it was launched in 2006, BRICS can hardly qualify as a full-fledged multilateral international organization with its own charter, detailed procedures, a permanent physical headquarter or an operational budget. However, some of its institutional initiatives, particularly the New Development Bank, as well as the Contingent Reserve Arrangement, the BRICS Business Council, and the BRICS Academic Forum, have proven to be quite successful. Proponents of deepening call for further enhancing the group's institutional capacity as the very top priority. They also advance the concept of "BRICS+" as an alternative to the membership growth - using the five members scattered across four continents as a wheel hub and their numerous partners as wheel spokes, BRICS could emerge as an open and flexible platform that any country, block or region in the world economy will be able to use in accordance with its specific needs and development strategies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Nonetheless, deepening with no prospects for broadening creates problems as well. An exclusive club always breeds envy and even resentment from those who are not admitted to the club. Sometimes, those who are not let in, try to start an alternative club of their own. It is no accident that soon after the launch of BRICS an informal alliance of middle powers - Indonesia, South Korea, Turkey and Australia (MIKTA) was created. One of the implicit goals of the new grouping was to serve as a counterbalance to BRICS in generating ideas and proposals for the G20 agendas.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Of course, BRICS does not need to make a clear-cut choice between broadening and deepening - neither at the summit in Johannesburg nor later. A reasonable approach would be to balance the two priorities by opening doors for a gradual rise of membership and concentrating on building the institutional capacity of the group that would help to erase the red line between BRICS members and its partners. In any case, the future of international multilateralism is likely to be defined more by project-based, flexible coalitions of the willing rather than by rigid and heavily bureaucratized blocs and alliances from the 20th century.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The author is the Academic Director of the Russian International Affairs Council.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's Article for South Africa's Ubuntu Magazine, August 21, 2023 (Статья Министра иностранных дел С.В.Лаврова для южноафриканского журнала Ubuntu Magazine, 21 августа 2023 г.) / Russia, August, 2023
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Keywords: sergey_lavrov, speech

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    BRICS: Towards a Just World Order

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    On the eve of the BRICS Summit, I would like to share with our dear readers my thoughts on the prospects for cooperation among the group of five countries in the current geopolitical context.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Tectonic shifts are taking place in the world today. The possibility of dominance by one country or even a small group of States is disappearing. The model of international development built on the exploitation of the resources of the World Majority to maintain the well-being of the "golden billion" is hopelessly out of date. It does not reflect the aspirations of all humankind.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We are witnessing the emergence of a more just multipolar world order. New centers of economic growth and of global decision-making on important political issues in Eurasia, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America are guided primarily by their own interests and assign paramount importance to national sovereignty. And against this background they achieve impressive success in various areas.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Attempts of the "collective West" to reverse this trend with a view to preserving its own hegemony have an exactly opposite effect. The international community is tired of the blackmail and pressure from the Western elites and their colonial and racist manners. That is why, for example, not only Russia, but also a number of other countries are consistently reducing their dependence on the US dollar, switching to alternative payment systems and national currency settlements. I recall the wise words of Nelson Mandela: "When the water starts boiling it is foolish to turn off the heat." And it truly is.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Russia – a civilisation State, the largest Eurasian and Euro-Pacific power – continues to work towards further democratization of international life, building an architecture of inter-State relations that would be based on the values of equal and indivisible security, and cultural and civilisational diversity, and would provide equal opportunities for development for all members of the international community with no one left behind. As President of Russia Vladimir Putin noted in his Address to the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation on 21 February 2023: "In today's world there should be no division into so-called civilised countries and all the rest... There is a need for an honest partnership that rejects any exclusivity, especially an aggressive one." In our opinion, all this is in line with the Ubuntu philosophy, which advocates interconnectivity between nations and people.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    In this context, Russia has consistently stood for strengthening the position of the African continent in a multipolar world order. We will further support our African friends in their aspirations to play an increasingly significant role in resolving the key problems of our time. This also applies in full to the process of reforming the United Nations Security Council, in which framework, in our deep conviction, first and foremost, the legitimate interests of developing countries, including in Africa, must be protected.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Multilateral diplomacy does not stand aside from the global trends. Such a grouping as BRICS is a symbol of true multipolarity and an example of honest inter-State communication. Within its framework, States with different political systems, distinctive value platforms and independent foreign policies effectively cooperate in various spheres. I think it is no exaggeration to say that the five BRICS countries are a kind of cooperation "network" over the traditional North-South and West-East lines.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Indeed, we have something to present to our public. Through joint efforts, BRICS has managed to create a culture of dialogue based on the principles of equality, respect for the choice of one's own developmental path and consideration of each other's interests. This helps us find common ground on and solutions even to the most complex issues.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The place and significance of BRICS today and its ability to influence the global agenda are determined by objective factors. The figures speak for themselves. The population of the BRICS countries is over 40 percent and the area of their territories exceeds a quarter of the world's land. According to experts' forecasts, in 2023 the five countries will account for about 31.5 percent of global GDP (at purchasing power parity), while the share of the G7 has fallen to 30 percent in this indicator.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Today, the BRICS strategic partnership is gaining momentum. The "Big Five" offers the world creative, forward-looking initiatives aimed at achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, ensuring food and energy security, healthy growth of the global economy, conflict resolution, and combating climate change, including by means of a just energy transition.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    An extensive network of mechanisms has been established to address these challenges. The Strategy for Economic Partnership 2025, which defines the benchmarks of cooperation in the mid-term, is being implemented. The BRICS Energy Research Cooperation Platform launched at the Russian initiative is operating successfully. The BRICS Vaccine Research and Development Center designed to help develop effective responses to challenges to the epidemic well-being of our countries has started its work. Initiatives on Denial of Safe Haven to Corruption, on Trade and Investment for Sustainable Development, and on Enhancing Cooperation on Supply Chains have been approved. The BRICS Strategy on Food Security Cooperation has been adopted.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The unconditional priorities include strengthening the potential of the New Development Bank and the BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement, improving payment mechanisms, and increasing the role of national currencies in mutual settlements. It is planned to focus on these issues at the BRICS Summit in Johannesburg.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We do not aim to replace existing multilateral mechanisms, much less to become a new "collective hegemon". On the contrary, the BRICS countries have consistently advocated the creation of conditions for the development of all States, which excludes the bloc logic of the Cold War and zero-sum geopolitical games. BRICS seeks to offer inclusive solutions based on a participatory approach.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Building on that, we are consistently working to develop the BRICS interaction with the countries representing the World Majority. In particular, one of the priorities of the South African Chairship is strengthening cooperation with African countries. We fully share this approach. We are ready to contribute to economic growth on the continent and to strengthening security there, including its food and energy components. A striking example is the outcome of the Second Russia-Africa Summit held in St. Petersburg on 27-28 July 2023.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    In this context, it is natural that our grouping has many like-minded countries around the world. BRICS is seen as a positive force that can strengthen the solidarity of the Global South and Global East and become one of the pillars of a new, more just polycentric world order.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The five countries stand ready to respond to this request. That is why we launched the expansion process. It is symbolic that it has gained such momentum in the year of South Africa's Chairmanship, a country that has joined BRICS as a result of a consensus-based political decision.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I am convinced that the XV Summit will be another milestone of BRICS strategic partnership and will determine the key priorities for the coming years. We highly appreciate the efforts of the South African Chairship, including the intensified work to improve the entire constellation of BRICS mechanisms to deepen BRICS dialogue with other countries.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The future of the BRICS+ format (Будущее формата БРИКС+) / Russia, August, 2023
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Keywords: brics+, expert_opinion

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The future of the BRICS+ format

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The 2023 BRICS summit is over and it is clear that it is one of the most historic and transformational BRICS summits on record. While there has not been much progress on critical issues such as BRICS+ trade liberalization or the creation of a new reserve currency, a major expansion was unleashed by the bloc, with six new members forming part of the BRICS core starting from January 1, 2024: Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt and Iran. This widening of the ranks enables BRICS to cover almost all of the main regions of the Global South, most notably the Middle East that is now represented by Iran, Saudi Arabia and UAE. But while the BRICS expansion clearly increases the economic and political weight of the grouping, it also creates longer term challenges that may be non-trivial to resolve.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The challenges associated with the BRICS expansion are all too well-known: if the principle of consensus-based decision-making is to be maintained, securing support for new initiatives will become increasingly difficult. The addition of Argentina certainly serves to strengthen BRICS presence in Latin America and in MERCOSUR, but what will happen with Argentina's stance on some of the key issues of BRICS future economic development if populist forces take over after the next presidential elections? There is also the risk of shifting geopolitical preferences – something that changes not only with electoral cycles, but also economic exigencies. All in all, expansion is a plus, but it is something that calls for additional mechanisms to be created within BRICS to mitigate the associated risks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  On the other hand, there are also opportunities that new members bring to the BRICS bloc – these are only yet to be explored in view of the re-configuration of the bloc's membership. One important prospect in my view is the greater scope for plurilateral alliances and accords within a significantly expanded BRICS that may bring together 5 to 7 members, maybe less or more, but not necessarily the full 11-strong consensus. With respect to important initiatives within BRICS, the R5 common currency project may be undertaken by the bulk of the "old core" in conjunction with Saudi Arabia, while other BRICS economies that are not ready can potentially join later within the R5+ format. Such a plurilateral framework in some ways already operates in international organizations and fora such as G20 or the WTO. The wider membership provides also greater variability and scope for innovation in terms of new initiatives coming from core members. It also serves to reduce somewhat the negative effects of the China-India frictions with respect to the key items on BRICS development agenda such as BRICS+ and trade openness.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  How will other BRICS-related alliances develop going forward? A lot depends on how the BRICS+ format will evolve as it served as essentially a laboratory for preparing the ground for the expansion that took place this year. Indeed, every country that acceded to BRICS in 2023 previously featured in the BRICS+ activities undertaken by South Africa and China. Thus far there is still not much clarity on what the reigning paradigm is in the bloc – in para 92 of the Declaration the BRICS have tasked the Foreign Ministers "to further develop the BRICS partner country model and a list of prospective partner countries and report by the next Summit". In essence a circle of friends is emerging in line with what was advocated by Brazil. The BRICS+ format is welcomed in the context of South Africa's presidency, but there is no framework or plan advanced as to how this format is to be further developed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  One of the possibilities is that Russia during its presidency in 2024 will revisit the concept of the "integration of integrations", i.e. bringing closer together the regional integration arrangements of the BRICS economies. The most recent statements coming from Moscow point to plans to strengthen the linkages between the SCO, the EAEU and BRICS. Such a BRICS+ framework that creates a platform for regional integration arrangements may be instrumental in expanding BRICS reach to the only remaining region left outside of the core, namely ASEAN/South-East Asia. ASEAN is a crucial region in the world economy as it is one of the main incubators of free-trade alliances, digital economic alliances and some of the highest economic growth rates in the world in the past several decades. In fact, it appears that Indonesia was discussed as a possible member for the 2023 expansion, but in the end it opted to stay on the sidelines. Part of the reason may have been ASEAN-wide considerations – in view of the need for Indonesia to measure its policy impulses by ASEAN-wide considerations of centrality and consensus, its greater cooperation with BRICS could be secured via building "region-to-region" bridges towards ASEAN from other regional integration blocs where BRICS economies are members.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Image: Alexas_Fotos via Pixabay

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                BRICS expansion: A watershed moment for the global economy (Расширение БРИКС: переломный момент для мировой экономики) / China, August, 2023
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Keywords: economic_challenges

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Editor's note: Yaroslav Lissovolik, founder of "BRICS+ Analytics," is a member of the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC). The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The 15th BRICS summit in South Africa is set to bring major changes to the global economic landscape as the bloc is preparing to unleash an expansion that may result in a significant increase in its economic weight and influence on the international arena.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                China-proposed "BRICS Plus" cooperation approach launched in 2017 is bearing its fruits as dozens of developing economies have enthusiastically responded to the openness of the bloc, expressing their desire to join the grouping. We are witnessing what may be termed the "BRICS Plus moment" in the evolution of the BRICS bloc as the summit's decisions on expansion are likely to impact not only the development trends across the Global South but also across the entire world economy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                One notable merit in China's determination to expand the current BRICS membership is that it reaffirms the principle of openness of the BRICS as a bloc, including its very core. This expansion in the core membership is likely to be also complemented by other forms of cooperation with developing economies under the umbrella of the BRICS Plus framework. In particular, there is the option of creating a "circle of friends" that have observer status and/or are regular participants in BRICS Plus summits.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Another important track in the BRICS expansion process is the widening membership of the New Development Bank. There will be a need to accord priority to African economies, especially large land-locked economies (such as Ethiopia) that require greater infrastructural connectivity. The green agenda as well as digital development should also be high on the agenda of this key BRICS development institution.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The headquarters building of the New Development Bank (NDB), also known as the BRICS bank, in east China's Shanghai, June 17, 2022. /Xinhua

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In terms of the possible candidates for expansion, two economies stand out in terms of their regional role and prospective role in the global economy – Indonesia in South East Asia and Saudi Arabia in the Middle East. These two economies are also the leading players in their respective regional integration blocks – Indonesia in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and Saudi Arabia in the Gulf Cooperation Council.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In the case of Saudi Arabia, this is a key player in the global energy space for decades to come; in the case of Indonesia, it is one of the largest developing economies by gross domestic product and population in the next several decades.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Another important aspect of the BRICS summit in 2023 is the closer cooperation between BRICS and the African continent. Apart from the sheer number of African economies attending the summit, there will be a need to channel this cooperation into pragmatic trajectories. Most importantly, the BRICS economies need to support Africa's efforts in launching the African Continental Free Trade Area – and the best way for this to be done is via lower import tariffs in BRICS core members for African countries.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                There will be other important issues discussed at the BRICS summit, including the issue of the creation of a new global currency. While it is unlikely that such a currency is going to emerge in the course of this year, the exchange of views among BRICS leaders will likely set the stage for a gradual progression of the use of national currencies and alternative payment mechanisms. These developments together with greater trade turnover and investment among the BRICS Plus economies will provide a stronger foundation for launching a common BRICS currency.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The importance of the themes discussed at the summit will make this event one of the highlights of the year for the global economy. Issues such as BRICS expansion and discussions on the creation of a new currency will be tracked closely by global markets.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The BRICS economies, while forging ahead with creating new frameworks and platforms, will also express support for multilateral institutions such as the World Trade Organization. This emphasis on multilateralism that lies at the core of BRICS principles will be a crucial signal to the global community concerning the development paradigm that is going to be advanced by BRICS Plus.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In the end, the BRICS appears now to be firmly on track towards greater openness and expansion. There will likely be new expansion venues that are going to be explored by the BRICS – one is the "integration of integrations" that brings together the main regional integration arrangements in which BRICS countries are members. Another possibility will be a "BRICS Plus" format that allows for the regional blocks and regional development institutions with the participation of advanced economies (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and Asian Development Bank for example) to take part in BRICS summit discussions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The BRICS expansion process is only starting in earnest and these new stages of BRICS Plus development may provide new platforms for a revitalized globalization effort that is more sustainable and inclusive compared to the unipolar patterns of the past.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                (If you want to contribute and have specific expertise, please contact us at Follow @thouse_opinions on Twitter to discover the latest commentaries in the CGTN Opinion Section.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              BRICS to unveil the main criteria for the expansion: Interview with Yaroslav Lissovolik (БРИКС раскроет основные критерии расширения: интервью с Ярославом Лисоволиком) / Russia, August, 2023
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Keywords: brics+, expert_opinion, summit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yaroslav Lissovolik is the Founder of BRICS+ Analytics[1] – a think-tank that explores the potential of the BRICS+ format in the global economy. Previously he worked as chief economist and head of research in Deutsche Bank Russia, the Eurasian Development Bank as well as Sberbank. He also worked as an Advisor to Russia's Executive Director in the International Monetary Fund. In the beginning of 2017 he developed the BRICS+ concept based on the model of economic cooperation among the regional integration blocks of BRICS economies. In the same year he also advanced the R5 initiative that targeted greater use of BRICS national currencies and the creation of a common BRICS reserve currency.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Dr. Lissovolik, this year South Africa holds the chair in the BRICS block and it has declared that its main priority is the closer cooperation between Africa and the BRICS alliance. What do you think the BRICS economies can do to support African development?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              In my view the best contribution that the BRICS can deliver to African development is to coordinate a BRICS+ reduction in import barriers to African economies. This would go a long way towards contributing to the success of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). Some of the BRICS economies have import tariff rates in excess of 30% in the agricultural sector so there is sizeable scope for improving market access for African countries coming from the BRICS economies. But it is also the capability of BRICS to coordinate via BRICS+ a wider scale trade liberalization for Africa that comprises the bulk of the Global South that also matters.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A reduction in import duties and other barriers on a scale of BRICS+, meaning comprising not just the BRICS core, but also their regional partners, would significantly reinforce the market openness effect for Africa. If Russia or Brazil decide on a coordinated reduction in import barriers for the AfCFTA, this will trigger (due to their modalities of their trade policy) the liberalization of markets vis-à-vis Africa from their partners from the respective regional integration blocks – the Eurasian Economic Union and MERCOSUR. This is what I refer to as the BRICS+ multiplier of trade openness for Africa.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • The key theme in the upcoming summit will be the expansion of the BRICS core. What possible scenarios do you see unfolding in the coming meetings?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Attention is mostly focused on the expansion of the BRICS core and hardly any attention is accorded to the possible modalities of the BRICS+ format. With respect to the core, the BRICS are likely to unveil the main criteria for the expansion of the core, which may include among other things the economic weight of the candidate countries in their respective regions. There may be several additions to the core, such as Saudi Arabia and Indonesia, in the coming years. But a sizeable expansion in the core has its limitations and more weight in the expansion process will likely be channeled into the BRICS+ track.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              As regards the BRICS+ format, apart from the formation of a group of partner countries that have either applied or shown interest in cooperating with the block, there is a need to create a platform for regional integration arrangements led by the BRICS economies. Each BRICS core member is a key player in their respective regional trade blocks – India in BIMSTEC, Russia in the Eurasian Economic Union, South Africa in the African Union and the AfCFTA, Brazil in MERCOSUR, and China in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). All these regional blocks have already featured in the outreach activities of BRICS, with a common platform for these arrangements being named BEAMS (from the first letters of the respective regional blocks). Such a platform would be capable of coordinating large-scale initiatives in the sphere of trade and investment, including a coordinated BRICS+ openness of markets with respect to the AfCFTA.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Is there scope for Western participation in a BRICS+ format? Are there ways to build communication lines between say the G7 countries and BRICS?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I think that it is possible to expand the communication lines between the BRICS and the G7, but most likely in terms of the sequencing of their outreach the BRICS will opt to prioritize the South-South format of BRICS+, before proceeding to extend the outreach to developed economies. My proposal in this respect since 2018 has been the creation of a BRICS++ platform that would provide scope for Western regional development institutions to participate in the discussions with their BRICS+ counterparts. If the BRICS+ since 2017 has been reserved by China for promoting economic cooperation across the Global South, a BRICS++ platform can focus initially on bringing in development institutions with Western participation such as the EBRD, ADB, AIIB as well as regional integration blocks such as RCEP. As the format takes greater traction via pragmatic initiatives in the sphere of development financing in areas such as green and digital development, there may be scope to expand it to include invitations of some of the Western leaders and regional blocks to the BRICS++ summits.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Another focus theme in the summit is the discussion of the use of national currencies and the possibility of a common BRICS currency. How far are the core members of the group likely to advance this agenda?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I do believe that a BRICS currency is very much a feasible project, certainly such modifications of the R5 (one of the current names for the common BRICS currency) as an accounting unit or a reserve currency would be quite straightforward to implement. What is more debatable is what kind of a currency to settle international transactions the BRICS could advance – even here in terms of technicalities and mechanics there are quite credible proposals coming most recently from Brazil's Paulo Nogueira Batista, former Vice-President of the New Development Bank[2]. Most of the doubts voiced with respect to the common currency project relate not even so much to the technical feasibility, but rather the lack of political support from within BRICS.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              With respect to the summit, I expect that the BRICS are likely to announce their plans to assess the prospects of the creation of such a currency, possibly with the academic circles and think-tanks from the BRICS economies being asked to explore these issues. The actual decision is unlikely in my view in the next several years until there is a firm consensus among all core BRICS members on the expediency of such a course of action. At the earliest such a decision appears to be within reach during Brazil's presidency in BRICS in 2025.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • There is a lot of euphoria about the planned expansion of the BRICS block and the launching of a common currency, but what are the risks and challenges facing the BRICS?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Challenges abound for the BRICS and indeed the discussions surrounding the BRICS expansion and the common currency suggest that agreement is not always easy to reach on critical issues that matter for the future of the block and the global economy. But apart from the problems in reaching the needed consensus, there is a broader problem that was in part referred to recently by Jim O'Neill, namely that there is a lack of focus on pragmatic themes that matter for the economy and markets. This is not just about the common currency, but also about the trade liberalization within BRICS and the broader BRICS+, the possibility of creating pragmatic platforms of cooperation among the regional development institutions where BRICS countries are members. Too much effort has been expended at times on secondary issues that have no bearing on the economy, markets or global governance.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              And losing time in adopting crucial decisions may be costly, when global economic risks are high. Most BRICS economies are facing economic growth headwinds, with China still to exhibit a more emphatic post-COVID recovery. Economic stability is also challenging due to intensifying EM exchange rate volatility amid higher interest rates in the US. And then there are challenges and risks associated with innovation and technological development arising partly from the lack of momentum within the BRICS themselves as well as due to sanctions, protectionism and other restrictions emanating from the advanced economies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • If the expansion of BRICS progresses further in the coming years, could it be that BRICS+ emerges as a platform for a new round of globalization in the world economy?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Indeed, despite the challenges and risks, BRICS if expanded to the BRICS+ and BRICS++ formats could attain the scale to serve as an important platform for a revitalized globalization effort. It could work more closely with the G20 as well as with the Bretton Woods institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank in rendering the new the new round of globalization more inclusive and balanced. Regional integration arrangements and their development institutions could also become important drivers in this globalization effort, with BRICS+ having the capability of creating a new layer of global governance that is represented by regionalism, i.e. coordination mechanisms for regional blocks and their development institutions. But before these grand plans are to materialize, BRICS needs to deliver on some of the most pressing issues for the global economy and for Africa – these themes include greater market access vis-à-vis the Global South and greater effectiveness for the BRICS institutions such as the New Development Bank (NDB) and the BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Johannesburg II Declaration. BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Mutually Accelerated Growth, Sustainable Development and Inclusive Multilateralism, Sandton, Gauteng, South Africa, 23 August 2023 (Йоханнесбургская II декларация. БРИКС и Африка: Партнерство ради взаимного ускорения роста, устойчивого развития и инклюзивной многосторонности, Сэндтон, Гаутенг, Южная Африка, 23 августа 2023 г.) / Russia, August, 2023
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Keywords: brics+, concluded_agreements, summit


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. We, the Leaders of the Federative Republic of Brazil, the Russian Federation, the Republic of India, the People's Republic of China and the Republic of South Africa met in Sandton, South Africa, from 22 to 24 August 2023 for the XV BRICS Summit held under the theme: "BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Mutually Accelerated Growth, Sustainable Development and Inclusive Multilateralism".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. We reaffirm our commitment to the BRICS spirit of mutual respect and understanding, sovereign equality, solidarity, democracy, openness, inclusiveness, strengthened collaboration and consensus. As we build upon 15 years of BRICS Summits, we further commit ourselves to strengthening the framework of mutually beneficial BRICS cooperation under the three pillars of political and security, economic and financial, and cultural and people-to-people cooperation and to enhancing our strategic partnership for the benefit of our people through the promotion of peace, a more representative, fairer international order, a reinvigorated and reformed multilateral system, sustainable development and inclusive growth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Partnership for Inclusive Multilateralism

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. We reiterate our commitment to inclusive multilateralism and upholding international law, including the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations (UN) as its indispensable cornerstone, and the central role of the UN in an international system in which sovereign states cooperate to maintain peace and security, advance sustainable development, ensure the promotion and protection of democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, and promoting cooperation based on the spirit of solidarity, mutual respect, justice and equality.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            4. We express concern about the use of unilateral coercive measures, which are incompatible with the principles of the Charter of the UN and produce negative effects notably in the developing world. We reiterate our commitment to enhancing and improving global governance by promoting a more agile, effective, efficient, representative, democratic and accountable international and multilateral system.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            5. We call for greater representation of emerging markets and developing countries, in international organizations and multilateral fora in which they play an important role. We also call for increasing the role and share of women from EMDCs at different levels of responsibilities in the international organizations.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            6. We reiterate the need for all countries to cooperate in promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms under the principles of equality and mutual respect. We agree to continue to treat all human rights including the right to development in a fair and equal manner, on the same footing and with the same emphasis. We agree to strengthen cooperation on issues of common interests both within BRICS and in multilateral fora including the United Nations General Assembly and Human Rights Council, taking into account the necessity to promote, protect and fulfil human rights in a non-selective, non-politicised and constructive manner and without double standards. We call for the respect of democracy and human rights. In this regard, we underline that they should be implemented on the level of global governance as well as at national level. We reaffirm our commitment to ensuring the promotion and protection of democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all with the aim to build a brighter shared future for the international community based on mutually beneficial cooperation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            7. We support a comprehensive reform of the UN, including its Security Council, with a view to making it more democratic, representative, effective and efficient, and to increase the representation of developing countries in the Council's memberships so that it can adequately respond to prevailing global challenges and support the legitimate aspirations of emerging and developing countries from Africa, Asia and Latin America, including Brazil, India and South Africa, to play a greater role in international affairs, in particular in the United Nations, including its Security Council.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            8. We reaffirm our support for the open, transparent, fair, predictable, inclusive, equitable, non-discriminatory and rules-based multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) at its core, with special and differential treatment (S&DT) for developing countries, including Least Developed Countries. We stress our support to work towards positive and meaningful outcomes on the issues at the 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13). We commit to engage constructively to pursue the necessary WTO reform with a view to presenting concrete deliverables to MC13. We call for the restoration of a fully and well-functioning two-tier binding WTO dispute settlement system accessible to all members by 2024, and the selection of new Appellate Body Members without further delay.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            9. We call for the need to make progress towards the achievement of a fair and market-oriented agricultural trading system, ending hunger, achieving food security and improved nutrition, promoting sustainable agriculture and food systems, and implement resilient agricultural practices. We emphasize the need to deliver on agriculture reform in accordance with the mandate in Article 20 of the Agreement on Agriculture, while recognizing the importance of respecting the mandates with regards to a Permanent Solution on Public Stockholding (PSH) for food security purposes and special safeguard mechanism (SSM) for developing countries, including LDCs, in their respective negotiating contexts. BRICS members are also concerned with trade restrictive measures which are inconsistent with WTO rules, including unilateral illegal measures such as sanctions, that affect agricultural trade.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            10. We support a robust Global Financial Safety Net with a quota-based and adequately resourced International Monetary Fund (IMF) at its centre. We call for the conclusion of the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) 16th General Review of Quotas before 15 December 2023. The review should restore the primary role of quotas in the IMF. Any adjustment in quota shares should result in increases in the quota shares of emerging markets and developing economies (EMDCs), while protecting the voice and representation of the poorest members. We call for reform of the Bretton Woods institutions, including for a greater role for emerging markets and developing countries, including in leadership positions in the Bretton Woods institutions, that reflect the role of EMDCs in the world economy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Fostering an Environment of Peace and Development

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            11. We welcome the Joint Statement of the BRICS Ministers of Foreign Affairs and International Relations meeting on 1 June 2023 and note the 13th Meeting of BRICS National Security Advisors and High Representatives on National Security held on 25 July 2023.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            12. We are concerned about ongoing conflicts in many parts of the world. We stress our commitment to the peaceful resolution of differences and disputes through dialogue and inclusive consultations in a coordinated and cooperative manner and support all efforts conducive to the peaceful settlement of crises.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            13. We recognise the importance of the increased participation of women in peace processes including in conflict prevention and resolution, peacekeeping, peacebuilding, post-conflict reconstruction and development, and sustaining peace.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            14. We stress our commitment to multilateralism and to the central role of the United Nations which are prerequisites to maintain peace and security. We call on the international community to support countries in working together towards post-pandemic economic recovery. We emphasise the importance of contributing to post-conflict countries' reconstruction and development and call upon the international community to assist countries in meeting their development goals. We stress the imperative of refraining from any coercive measures not based on international law and the UN Charter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            15. We reiterate the need for full respect of international humanitarian law in conflict situations and the provision of humanitarian aid in accordance with the basic principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence established in UNGA resolution 46/182.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            16. We commend continued collective efforts of the United Nations, the African Union and sub-regional organisations, including in particular the cooperation between the United Nations Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council, to address regional challenges including maintaining peace and security, promoting peacebuilding, post-conflict reconstruction and development, and call for continued support by the international community to these endeavours using diplomatic means such as dialogue, negotiations, consultations, mediation, and good offices, to resolve international disputes and conflicts, settle them on the basis of mutual respect, compromise, and the balance of legitimate interests. We reiterate that the principle "African solutions to African problems" should continue to serve as the basis for conflict resolution. In this regard we support African peace efforts on the continent by strengthening the relevant capacities of African States. We are concerned about the worsening violence in Sudan. We urge the immediate cessation of hostilities and call for the unimpeded access of the Sudanese population to humanitarian assistance. We remain concerned at the situation in the Sahel region, in particular in the Republic of Niger. We support the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Libya. We reiterate our support for a "Libyan led and Libyan-owned" political process with UN-led mediation as the main channel. We emphasize the need to achieve an enduring and mutually acceptable political solution to the question of Western Sahara in accordance with relevant UNSC resolutions and in fulfilment of the mandate of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            17. We welcome the positive developments in the Middle East and the efforts by BRICS countries to support development, security and stability in the region. In this regard, we endorse the Joint Statement by the BRICS Deputy Foreign Ministers and Special Envoys for the Middle East and North Africa at their meeting of 26 April 2023. We welcome the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran and emphasise that deescalating tensions and managing differences through dialogue and diplomacy is key to peaceful coexistence in this strategically important region of the world. We reaffirm our support for Yemen's sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity, and commend the positive role of all the parties involved in bringing about a ceasefire and seeking a political solution to end the conflict. We call on all parties to engage in inclusive direct negotiations and to support the provision of humanitarian, relief and development assistance to the Yemeni people. We support all efforts conducive to a political and negotiated solution that respects Syrian sovereignty and territorial integrity and the promotion of a lasting settlement to the Syrian crisis. We welcome the readmission of the Syrian Arab Republic to the League of Arab States. We express our deep concern at the dire humanitarian situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories due to escalating violence under continued Israeli occupation and the expansion of illegal settlements. We call on the international community to support direct negotiations based on international law including relevant UN Security Council and General Assembly resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative, towards a two-state solution, leading to the establishment of a sovereign, independent and viable State of Palestine. We commend the extensive work carried out by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and call for greater international support for UNRWA activities to alleviate the humanitarian situation of the Palestinian people.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            18. We express serious concern with the ongoing deterioration of the security, humanitarian, political and economic situation in Haiti. We believe that the current crisis requires a Haitian-led solution that encompasses national dialogue and consensus building among local political forces, institutions and the society. We call on the international community to support the Haitian endeavours to dismantle the gangs, enhance the security situation and put in place the foundations for long-lasting social and economic development in the country.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            19. We recall our national positions concerning the conflict in and around Ukraine as expressed at the appropriate fora, including the UNSC and UNGA. We note with appreciation relevant proposals of mediation and good offices aimed at peaceful resolution of the conflict through dialogue and diplomacy, including the African Leaders Peace Mission and the proposed path for peace.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            20. We call for the strengthening of disarmament and non-proliferation, including the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction (BTWC) and the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction (CWC), recognizing its role in safeguarding and for preserving their integrity and effectiveness to maintain global stability and international peace and security. We underline the need to comply with and strengthen the BTWC, including by adopting a legally binding Protocol to the Convention that provides for, inter alia, an efficient verification mechanism. We reassert our support for ensuring the long-term sustainability of outer space activities and prevention of an arms race in outer space (PAROS) and of its weaponization, including through negotiations to adopt a relevant legally binding multilateral instrument. We recognise the value of the updated Draft Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space, the Threat or Use of Force against Outer Space Objects (PPWT) submitted to the Conference on Disarmament in 2014. We stress that practical and non-binding commitments, such as Transparency and Confidence-Building Measures (TCBMs), may also contribute to PAROS.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            21. We reiterate the need to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue through peaceful and diplomatic means in accordance with the international law, and stress the importance of preserving the JCPOA and the UNSCR 2231 to international non-proliferation as well as wider peace and stability and hope for relevant parties to restore the full and effective implementation of the JCPOA at an early date.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            22. We express strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations whenever, wherever and by whomsoever committed. We recognize the threat emanating from terrorism, extremism conducive to terrorism and radicalization. We are committed to combating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including the cross-border movement of terrorists, and terrorism financing networks and safe havens. We reiterate that terrorism should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization or ethnic group. We reaffirm our unwavering commitment to contribute further to the global efforts of preventing and countering the threat of terrorism on the basis of respect for international law, in particular the Charter of the United Nations, and human rights, emphasizing that States have the primary responsibility in combating terrorism with the United Nations continuing to play central and coordinating role in this area. We also stress the need for a comprehensive and balanced approach of the whole international community to effectively curb the terrorist activities, which pose a serious threat, including in the present-day pandemic environment. We reject double standards in countering terrorism and extremism conducive to terrorism. We call for an expeditious finalization and adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism within the UN framework and for launching multilateral negotiations on an international convention for the suppression of acts of chemical and biological terrorism, at the Conference of Disarmament. We welcome the activities of the BRICS Counter-Terrorism Working Group and its five Subgroups based upon the BRICS Counter-Terrorism Strategy and the BRICS Counter-Terrorism Action Plan. We look forward to further deepening counter-terrorism cooperation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            23. While emphasising the formidable potential of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for growth and development, we recognise the existing and emerging possibilities they bring for criminal activities and threats, and express concern over the increasing level and complexity of criminal misuse of ICTs. We welcome the ongoing efforts in the Ad Hoc Committee to elaborate a comprehensive international convention on countering the use of ICTs for criminal purposes and reaffirm our commitment to cooperating in the implementation of the mandate adopted by the UN General Assembly resolution 75/282 in a timely manner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            24. We reaffirm our commitment to the promotion of an open, secure, stable, accessible and peaceful ICT-environment, underscored the importance of enhancing common understandings and intensifying cooperation in the use of ICTs and Internet. We support the leading role of the United Nations in promoting constructive dialogue on ensuring ICT-security, including within the UN Open-Ended Working Group on security of and in the use of ICTs 2021-2025, and developing a universal legal framework in this realm. We call for a comprehensive, balanced, objective approach to the development and security of ICT products and systems. We underscore the importance of establishing legal frameworks of cooperation among BRICS countries on ensuring security in the use of ICTs. We also acknowledge the need to advance practical intra-BRICS cooperation through implementation of the BRICS Roadmap of Practical Cooperation on ensuring security in the use of ICTs and the activities of the BRICS Working Group on security in the use of ICTs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            25. We reaffirm our commitment to strengthen international cooperation and our collaboration against corruption and continue to implement the relevant international agreements in this regard, in particular the United Nations Convention against Corruption. With the knowledge that the scourge of corruption knows no geographic boundaries, and respects no society or humanitarian cause, we have jointly put in place a strong foundation to combat corruption through capacity building, including, conducting training programmes and sharing of current best practices applied in each of our countries. We will continue to reinforce these efforts and increase our knowledge of the emerging avenues. We will enhance international cooperation through collaborative information-sharing networks, and mutual legal assistance to combat illicit financial flows, counter safe havens and support the investigation, prosecution and recovery of stolen assets subject to domestic laws and regulations of BRICS countries.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Partnership for Mutually Accelerated Growth

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            26. We note that an unbalanced recovery from the shock and hardship of the pandemic is aggravating inequality across the world. The global growth momentum has weakened, and the economic prospects have declined owing to trade fragmentation, prolonged high inflation, tighter global financial conditions, in particular the increase in interest rates in advanced economies, geopolitical tensions and increased debt vulnerabilities.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            27. We encourage multilateral financial institutions and international organizations to play a constructive role in building global consensus on economic policies and preventing systemic risks of economic disruption and financial fragmentation. We call for Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) to continue implementing the recommendations which should be voluntary within MDBs governance frameworks, from the G20 Independent Review Report on MDBs Capital Adequacy Frameworks to increase their lending capacities, while safeguarding MDBs long-term financial stability, robust creditor rating, and preferred creditor status.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            28. We believe that multilateral cooperation is essential to limit the risks stemming from geopolitical and geoeconomic fragmentation and intensify efforts on areas of mutual interest, including but not limited to, trade, poverty and hunger reduction, sustainable development, including access to energy, water and food, fuel, fertilizers, as well as mitigating and adapting to the impact of climate change, education, health as well as pandemic prevention, preparedness and response.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            29. We note that high debt levels in some countries reduce the fiscal space needed to address ongoing development challenges aggravated by spillover effects from external shocks, particularly from sharp monetary tightening in advanced economies. Rising interest rates and tighter financing conditions worsen debt vulnerabilities in many countries. We believe it is necessary to address the international debt agenda properly to support economic recovery and sustainable development, while taking into account each nation's laws and internal procedures. One of the instruments, amongst others, to collectively address debt vulnerabilities is through the predictable, orderly, timely and coordinated implementation of the G20 Common Framework for Debt Treatment, with the participation of official bilateral creditors, private creditors and Multilateral Development Banks in line with the principle of joint action and fair burden-sharing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            30. We reaffirm the importance of the G20 to continue playing the role of the premier multilateral forum in the field of international economic and financial cooperation that comprises both developed and emerging markets and developing countries where major economies jointly seek solutions to global challenges. We look forward to the successful hosting of the 18th G20 Summit in New Delhi under the Indian G20 Presidency. We note the opportunities to build sustained momentum for change by India, Brazil and South Africa presiding over the G20 from 2023 to 2025 and expressed support for continuity and collaboration in their G20 presidencies and wish them all success in their endeavours. Therefore, we are committed to a balanced approach by continuing to amplify and further integrate the voice of the global South in the G20 agenda as under the Indian Presidency in 2023 and the Brazilian and South African presidencies in 2024 and 2025.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            31. We recognize the important role of BRICS countries working together to deal with risks and challenges to the world economy in achieving global recovery and sustainable development. We reaffirm our commitment to enhance macro-economic policy coordination, deepen economic cooperation, and work to realize strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive economic recovery. We emphasize the importance of continued implementation of the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership 2025 in all relevant ministerial tracks and working groups. We will look to identify solutions for accelerating the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            32. Recognising that BRICS countries produce one third of the world's food, we reaffirm our commitment to strengthen agricultural cooperation and promote sustainable agriculture and rural development of BRICS countries for enhancing food security both within BRICS and worldwide. We emphasize the strategic importance of facilitating steady access to agricultural inputs, on ensuring global food security. We reiterate the importance of implementing the Action Plan 2021-2024 for Agricultural Cooperation of BRICS Countries, and welcome the Strategy on Food Security Cooperation of the BRICS Countries. We underscore the need for resilient food supply chains.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            33. We recognize the dynamism of the digital economy in enabling global economic growth. We also recognize the positive role that trade and investment can play in promoting sustainable development, national and regional industrialization, the transition towards sustainable consumption and production patterns. We recognize the challenges facing trade and investment development in the digital era and acknowledge that BRICS members are at different levels of digital development, and thus recognize the need to address respective challenges including the various digital divides. We welcome the establishment of the BRICS Digital Economy Working Group. We reaffirm that openness, efficiency, stability, reliability, are crucial in tackling economic recovery challenges and boosting international trade and investment. We encourage further cooperation among BRICS countries to enhance the interconnectivity of supply chains and payment systems to promote trade and investment flows. We agree to strengthen exchanges and cooperation in trade in services as established in the BRICS Framework for Cooperation on Trade in Services, with the BRICS Business Council and BRICS Women's Business Alliance (WBA) with the aim to promote implementation of BRICS Trade in Services Cooperation Roadmap and relevant documents including the BRICS Framework for cooperation in Trade in Professional Services.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            34. We reiterate our support to the African Union Agenda 2063 and to Africa's efforts towards integration, including through the operationalisation of the African Continental Free Trade Area. We underscore that the AfCFTA is poised to create a predictable environment for investments, particularly in infrastructure development, and provides an opportunity to find synergies with partners on cooperation, trade and development on the African continent. We underline the importance of strengthening the partnership between BRICS and Africa to unlock mutually beneficial opportunities for increased trade, investment and infrastructure development. We welcome progress made towards the AfCFTA Protocol on Women and Youth in Trade and recognise its potential to be a catalyst for economic and financial inclusion of women and youth into Africa's economy. We stress the importance of issues including industrialization, infrastructure development, food security, agriculture modernisation for sustainable growth health-care, and tackling climate change for the sustainable development of Africa.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            35. We further note that the African continent remains on the margins of the global trading system and has much to gain through BRICS collaboration. The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and BRICS cooperation presents opportunities for the continent to transition away from its historic role as a commodity exporter towards higher productivity value addition. We welcome and support the inclusion of the African Union as a member of the G20 at the New Delhi G20 Summit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            36. We commit to strengthening intra-BRICS cooperation to intensify the BRICS Partnership on New Industrial Revolution (PartNIR) and create new opportunities for accelerating industrial development. We support intra-BRICS cooperation in human resource development on new technologies through the BRICS Centre for Industrial Competences (BCIC), BRICS PartNIR Innovation Centre, BRICS Startup Forum and collaboration with other relevant BRICS mechanisms, to carry out training programmes to address challenges of NIR for Inclusive and sustainable industrialization. We reiterate our commitment to continue discussion on the establishment of BCIC in cooperation with UNIDO to jointly support the development of Industry 4.0 skills development among the BRICS countries and to promote partnerships and increased productivity in the New Industrial Revolution. We look forward to the cooperation with UNIDO and request the PartNIR Advisory Group to coordinate with UNIDO.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            37. We recognize the crucial role that Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) play in unlocking the full potential of BRICS economies and reaffirm the importance of their participation in production networks and value chains. We will continue joint efforts aimed at eliminating constraints such as lack of easily accessible information and financing, skills shortage, network effects, as well as regulation of excessive administrative burden, and procurement related constraints ensuring easily accessible information and financing, skill up gradation and market linkage. We endorse the BRICS MSMEs Cooperation Framework which promotes BRICS cooperation on such issues as exchanging information about fairs and exhibitions, and encouraging participation of MSMEs in the selected events to enhance interactions and cooperation amongst MSMEs which may secure deals. Member states will facilitate exchange of business missions, and promote sector specific Business to Business (B2B) meetings amongst the MSMEs, to enhance enterprise-to-enterprise cooperation and business alliances between the MSMEs of BRICS, with a particular focus on women-owned and youth-owned MSMEs. Member States will provide information relating to MSMEs, business development opportunities and possibilities of partnerships for the development of MSMEs in the BRICS countries. In addition, we will promote sharing of information on trade policies, and market intelligence for MSMEs to increase their participation in international trade. We will facilitate access to resources and capabilities such as skills, knowledge networks, and technology that could help MSMEs improve their participation in the economy and global value chains. We will exchange views on measures and approaches for integrating BRICS MSMEs into global trade and Global Value Chains, including by sharing experience on how regional integration approaches can support the development of MSMEs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            38. We reiterate the commitment to promote employment for sustainable development, including to develop skills to ensure resilient recovery, gender-responsive employment and social protection policies including workers' rights. We reaffirm our commitment to respect, promote, and realise decent work for all and achieve social justice. We will step up efforts to effectively abolish child labour based on the Durban Call to Action and accelerate progress towards universal social protection for all by 2030. We will invest in skills development systems to improve access to relevant and quality skills for workers in the informal economy and workers in new forms of employment as we seek to increase productivity for economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable and inclusive economies. We will explore the development of a BRICS platform to implement the Productivity Ecosystem for Decent Work.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            39. We acknowledge the urgent need for tourism industry recovery and the importance of increasing mutual tourist flows and will work towards further strengthening the BRICS Alliance for Green Tourism to promote measures, which can shape a more resilient, sustainable and inclusive tourism sector.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            40. We agree to enhance exchanges and cooperation in the field of standardization and make full use of standards to advance sustainable development.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            41. We agree to continue to deepen cooperation on competition amongst BRICS countries and create a fair competition market environment for international economic and trade cooperation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            42. We agree to enhance dialogue and cooperation on intellectual property rights through, the BRICS IPR cooperation mechanism (IPRCM). As we celebrate a decade of cooperation of the Heads of Intellectual Property Offices, we welcome the alignment of their workplan to the Sustainable Development Goals.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            43. We support enhancing statistical cooperation within BRICS as data, statistics and information form the basis of informed and effective decision making. On the 10th anniversary of its first issue, we support the continued release of the BRICS Joint Statistical Publication 2023 and the BRICS Joint Statistical Publication Snapshot 2023 for engaging a wider range of users.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            44. We recognise the widespread benefits of fast, inexpensive, transparent, safe, and inclusive payment systems. We look forward to the report by the BRICS Payment Task Force (BPTF) on the mapping of the various elements of the G20 Roadmap on Cross-border Payments in BRICS countries. We welcome the sharing of experience by BRICS members on payment infrastructures, including the interlinking of cross-border payment systems. We believe this will further enhance cooperation amongst the BRICS countries and encourage further dialogue on payment instruments to facilitate trade and investment flows between the BRICS members as well as other developing countries. We stress the importance of encouraging the use of local currencies in international trade and financial transactions between BRICS as well as their trading partners. We also encourage strengthening of correspondent banking networks between the BRICS countries and enabling settlements in the local currencies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            45. We task our Finance Ministers and/or Central Bank Governors, as appropriate, to consider the issue of local currencies, payment instruments and platforms and report back to us by the next Summit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            46. We recognise the key role of the NDB in promoting infrastructure and sustainable development of its member countries. We congratulate Ms Dilma Rousseff, former President of the Federative Republic of Brazil, as President of the New Development Bank (NDB) and are confident that she will contribute to strengthening of the NDB in effectively achieving its mandate. We expect the NDB to provide and maintain the most effective financing solutions for sustainable development, a steady process in membership expansion, and improvements in corporate governance and operational effectiveness towards the fulfilment of NDB's General Strategy for 2022-2026. We welcome the three new members of the NDB, namely Bangladesh, Egypt and United Arab Emirates. We encourage the NDB to play an active role in knowledge sharing process and incorporate the member-countries best practices in its operational policies, according to its governance mechanism and taking into account national priorities and development goals. We see the NDB as an important member of global MDB family, given its unique status as an institution created by EMDCs for EMDCs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            47. We welcome the establishment of the BRICS Think Tank Network for Finance during 2022 and efforts to operationalise the Network. We will work towards the identification and designation of the lead Think Tanks from member countries. We endorse the Operational Guidelines for the BRICS Think Tank Network for Finance developed under South Africa's Chairship, which provides guidance on how the Network will operate in terms of governance, delivery of outputs and funding of the BRICS Think Tank Network for Finance.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            48. We recognise that infrastructure investments support human, social, environmental, and economic development. We note that the demand for infrastructure is growing, with a greater need for scale, innovation and sustainability. We highlight that BRICS countries continue to offer excellent opportunities for infrastructure investment. In this regard, we further recognise that leveraging governments' limited resources to catalyse private capital, expertise and efficiency will be paramount in closing the infrastructure investment gap in BRICS countries.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            49. We continue to support the work of the Task Force on Public-Private Partnership (PPP) and Infrastructure in sharing knowledge, good practices and lessons learnt on the effective development and delivery of infrastructure for the benefit of all member countries. In this regard, the Task Force has collated guiding principles that advance the adoption of a programmatic approach in infrastructure delivery and promotes the use of PPPs and other blended finance solutions in infrastructure development and delivery. We look forward to convening the Infrastructure Investment Symposium later this year for a discussion amongst BRICS governments, investors and financiers on ways to work with the private sector to promote the use of green, transition and sustainable finance in infrastructure delivery.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            50. The BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) continues to be an important mechanism for mitigating the effects of a crisis situation, complementing existing international financial and monetary arrangements, and contributing to the strengthening of the global financial safety net. We reiterate our commitment to the continued strengthening of the CRA and look forward to the successful completion of the sixth Test-Run later in 2023. We also support progress made to amend the outstanding technical issues on the Inter-Central Bank Agreement and endorse the proposed theme of 2023 BRICS Economic Bulletin 'Challenges in a post-COVID-19 environment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            51. We welcome the continued cooperation on topics of mutual interest on sustainable and transition finance, information security, financial technology, and payments, and look forward to building on work in these areas under the relevant work streams, including the proposed study on leveraging technology to address climate data gaps in the financial sector and support the proposed initiatives aimed at enhancing cyber security and developing financial technology, including the sharing of knowledge and experience in this area.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Partnership for Sustainable Development

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            52. We reaffirm the call for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in its three dimensions: economic, social and environmental, in a balanced and integrated manner by mobilising the means required to implement the 2030 Agenda. We urge donor countries to honour their Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitments and to facilitate capacity building and the transfer of technology along with additional development resources to developing countries, in line with the national policy objectives of recipients. We highlight in this regard that the SDGs Summit to be held in New York in September 2023 and the Summit of the Future to be held in September 2024, constitute significant opportunities for renewing international commitment on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            53. We recognise the importance of implementing the SDGs in an integrated and holistic manner, inter alia through poverty eradication as well as combating climate change whilst promoting sustainable land use and water management, conservation of biological diversity, and the sustainable use of its components and the biodiversity and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilisation of genetic resources, including by appropriate access to genetic resources, in line with Article 1 of Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and in accordance with national circumstances, priorities and capabilities. We also underscore the significance of technology and innovation, international cooperation, public-private partnerships, including South-South cooperation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            54. We underscore the importance of collaborating on biodiversity conservation and sustainable use matters, such as research and development of conservation technologies, development of protected areas, and the combatting of illegal trade in wildlife. Furthermore, we will continue to actively participate in international biodiversity-related conventions, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), its protocols and advancing the implementation of its Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and working towards the Global Initiative on Reducing Land Degradation and Enhancing Conservation of Terrestrial Habitats.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            55. We welcome the historic adoption of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (KMGBF) at the 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP-15) in December 2022. We thus undertake to strive towards the implementation of all the global goals and targets of the KMGBF, in accordance with the principles of common but differentiated responsibilities and national circumstances, priorities and capabilities in order to achieve its mission to halt and reverse biodiversity loss and vision of living in harmony with nature. We urge developed countries to provide adequate means of implementation, including financial resources, capacity-building, technical and scientific cooperation, and access to and transfer of technology to fully implement the KMGBF. We also acknowledge the potential for cooperation on the sustainable use of biodiversity in business to support local economic development, industrialisation, job creation, and sustainable business opportunities.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            56. We reemphasise the importance of implementing the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Paris Agreement and the principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities (CBDR-RC) enhancing low-cost climate technology transfer, capacity building as well as mobilizing affordable, adequate and timely delivered new additional financial resources for environmentally sustainable projects. We agree that there is a need to defend, promote and strengthen the multilateral response to Climate Change and to work together for a successful outcome of the 28th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP28). We recognise that the Means of Implementation should be enhanced by developed countries, including through adequate and timely flow of affordable Climate Finance, Technical Cooperation, Capacity Building and transfer of Technology for climate actions. Furthermore, there is a need for comprehensive financial arrangements to address loss and damage due to climate change, including operationalising Fund on Loss and Damage as agreed at the UNFCCC COP27 to benefit developing countries.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            57. We agree to address the challenges posed by climate change while also ensuring a just, affordable and sustainable transition to a low carbon and low-emission economy in line with the principles of CBDR-RC, in light of different national circumstances. We advocate for just equitable and sustainable transitions, based on nationally defined development priorities, and we call on developed countries to lead by example and support developing countries towards such transitions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            58. We stress the need for support of developed countries to developing countries for access to existing and emerging low-emission technologies and solutions that avoid, abate and remove GHG emissions and enhance adaptation action to address climate change. We further emphasize the need for enhancing low-cost technology transfer and for mobilizing affordable, adequate new and timely delivered additional financial resources for environmentally sustainable projects.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            59. We express our strong determination to contribute to a successful COP28 in Dubai, later this year, with the focus on implementation and cooperation. As the main mechanism for assessing collective progress towards achieving the purpose of the Paris Agreement and its long-term goals and promoting climate action on all aspects of the Paris Agreement under the UNFCCC, the Global Stocktake must be effective and identifying implementation gaps on the global response to climate change, whilst prospectively laying the foundations for enhanced ambition by all, in particular by developed countries. We call upon developed countries to fill outstanding gaps in means of implementation for mitigation and adaptation actions in developing countries.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            60. We welcome Brazil's candidacy to host COP30 as the year 2025 will be key to the very future of the global response to climate change.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            61. We further urge developed countries to honour their commitments, including of mobilizing the USD 100bn per annum by 2020 and through 2025 to support climate action in developing countries. In addition, importance of doubling adaptation finance by 2025 from the base of 2019 is also key in order to implement adaptation actions. Moreover, we look forward to setting up an ambitious New Collective Quantified goal, prior to 2025, as per the needs and priorities of developing countries. This will require enhanced financial support from developed countries that is additional, grant-based and/or concessional, timely delivered, and adequate to take forward adaptation and mitigation action in a balanced manner. This extends to support for the implementation of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            62. We acknowledge that the financial mechanisms and investments to support the implementation of environment and climate change programmes need to be enhanced, and increased momentum to reform these financial mechanisms, as well as the multilateral development banks and international financial institutions is required. In this regard, we call on the shareholders of these institutions to take decisive action to scale-up climate finance and investments in support towards achieving the SDGs related to climate change and make their institutional arrangements fit for purpose.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            63. We oppose trade barriers including those under the pretext of tackling climate change imposed by certain developed countries and reiterate our commitment to enhancing coordination on these issues. We underline that measures taken to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss must be WTO-consistent and must not constitute a means of arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination or a disguised restriction on international trade and should not create unnecessary obstacles to international trade. Any such measure must be guided by the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR-RC), in the light of different national circumstances. We express our concern at any WTO inconsistent discriminatory measure that will distort international trade, risk new trade barriers and shift burden of addressing climate change and biodiversity loss to BRICS members and developing countries.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            64. We commit to intensify our efforts towards improving our collective capacity for global pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response, and strengthening our ability to fight back any such pandemics in the future collectively. In this regard, we consider it important to continue our support to the BRICS Virtual Vaccine Research and Development Center. We look forward to the holding of the High-Level Meeting on Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response to be to be held on 20th September 2023 at the United Nations General Assembly and we call for an outcome that will mobilise political will and continued leadership on this matter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            65. We recognize the fundamental role of primary health care as a key foundation for Universal Health Care and health system's resilience, as well as on prevention and response to health emergencies. We believe that the High-level meeting on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) to be held at the UN General Assembly in September 2023 would be a critical step for mobilizing the highest political support for UHC as the cornerstone to achieving SDG 3 (good health and well-being). We reiterate our support for the international initiatives, with the leadership of WHO, on addressing tuberculosis (TB) and look forward to actively engaging in the United Nations High-Level Meeting on TB in New York in September this year and encourage an assertive political declaration.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            66. Taking into account national legislation and priorities of BRICS countries, we commit to continue cooperation in traditional medicine in line with previous meetings of the BRICS Health Ministers and their outcomes, as well as the BRICS High-Level Forum on the Traditional Medicine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            67. We note that BRICS countries have significant experience and potential in the field of nuclear medicine and radio pharmaceutics. We welcome the decision to establish a BRICS Working Group on Nuclear Medicine to expand cooperation in this area.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            68. We welcome South Africa hosting BRICS Science Technology and Innovation (STI) Steering Committee meetings throughout 2023 as the main coordination mechanism to manage and ensure the successful hosting of BRICS STI activities. We call on the Steering Committee to undertake a strategic review of the thematic focus areas and organisational framework of the BRICS STI Working Group to ensure better alignment as appropriate with current BRICS policy priorities. We commend South Africa for hosting the 8th BRICS Young Scientist Forum and the concurrent organization of the 6th BRICS Young Innovator Prize. We commend the success of the BRICS STI Framework Programme in continuing to connect scientists through the funding of an impressive portfolio of research projects between BRICS countries. We also appreciate the efforts of the BRICS STI Framework Programme Secretariat in facilitating a discussion to launch in 2024 a Call for Proposals for BRICS STI Flagship Projects. We recognize the progress achieved in the implementation of the BRICS Action Plan for Innovation Cooperation (2021-24). In this regard we encourage further actions to be taken on initiatives such as the BRICS Techtransfer (the BRICS Centers for Technology Transfer) and the iBRICS Network (the dedicated BRICS innovation network). We also welcome more actions to be taken, especially by the BRICS STIEP (Science, Technology and Innovation Entrepreneurship Partnership) Working Group, in the fields of innovation and entrepreneurship, for example, through support for the BRICS Incubation Training and Network, the BRICS Technology Transfer Training Program, and the BRICS Startup Forum.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            69. We congratulate our Space agencies for successfully implementing the BRICS RSSC agreement by exchanging of BRICS Satellite Constellation data samples; holding of the 1st BRICS RSSC Application Forum in November 2022; convening of the 2nd meeting of BRICS Space Cooperation Joint Committee in July 2023 and continue to successfully implement the BRICS Constellation Pilot Projects. We encourage the BRICS Space agencies to continue enhancing the level of cooperation in remote sensing satellite data sharing and applications, so as to provide data support for the economic and social development of the BRICS countries.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            70. While emphasising the fundamental role of access to energy in achieving SDGs and noting the outlined risks to energy security we highlight the need for enhanced cooperation among the BRICS countries as major producers and consumers of energy products and services. We believe that energy security, access and energy transitions are important and need to be balanced. We welcome the strengthening of cooperation and increasing investment in the supply chains for energy transitions and note the need to fully participate in the clean energy global value chain. We further commit to increase the resilience of energy systems including critical energy infrastructure, advancing the use of clean energy options, promoting research and innovation in energy science and technology. We intend to address energy security challenges by incentivising energy investment flows. We share a common view, taking into consideration national priorities and circumstances, on the efficient use of all energy sources, namely: renewable energy, including biofuels, hydropower, fossil fuels, nuclear energy and hydrogen produced on the basis of zero and low emission technologies and processes, which are crucial for a just transition towards more flexible, resilient and sustainable energy systems. We recognise the role of fossil fuels in supporting energy security and energy transition. We call for collaboration amongst the BRICS countries on technological neutrality and further urge for the adoption of common, effective, clear, fair and transparent standards and rules for assessment of emissions, elaboration of compatible taxonomies of sustainable projects as well as accounting of carbon units. We welcome joint research and technical cooperation within the BRICS Energy Research Cooperation Platform, and commend the holding of the BRICS Youth Energy Summit and other related activities.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            71. We remain committed to strengthening BRICS cooperation on population matters, because the dynamics of population age structure change, and pose challenges as well as opportunities, particularly with regard to women's rights, youth development, disability rights, employment and the future of work, urbanisation, migration and ageing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            72. We reiterate the importance of BRICS cooperation in the field of disaster management. We stress the importance of disaster risk reduction measures towards building resilient communities and the exchange of information on best practices, adoption of climate change adaptation initiatives, and integration of indigenous knowledge systems and improving investments in early warning systems and disaster resilient infrastructure. We further stress the need for holistic inclusivity in disaster risk reduction by mainstreaming disaster risk reduction in government and community-based planning. We encourage expanding intra-BRICS cooperation through joint activities for enhancing the capacities of national emergency systems.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            73. We agree with the importance placed by South Africa as BRICS Chair on Transforming Education and Skills Development for the Future. We support the principle of facilitating mutual recognition of academic qualifications amongst BRICS countries to ensure mobility of skilled professionals, academics, and students and recognition of qualifications obtained in each other's countries subject to compliance of applicable domestic laws. We welcome concrete proposals made during the 10th Meeting of BRICS Ministers of Education focusing on critical areas in education and training such as entrepreneurship development, skills for the changing world, out-of-school youth, climate change, labour market intelligence, early childhood development and university global ranking. We appreciate the progress on education and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) cooperation, in particular, the operationalization of the BRICS TVET Cooperation Alliance which focuses on strengthening communication and dialogue and early finalisation of the Charter of the BRICS TVET Cooperation Alliance thereby promoting substantial cooperation in TVET, integrating TVET with industry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            74. We commit to strengthening skills exchanges and cooperation amongst BRICS countries. We support the digital transformation in education and TVET space, as each BRICS country is domestically committed to ensure education accessibility and equity, and promote the development of quality education. We agree to explore opportunities on BRICS digital education cooperative mechanisms, hold dialogues on digital education policies, share digital educational resources, build smart education systems, and jointly promote digital transformation of education in BRICS countries and to develop a sustainable education by strengthening the cooperation within BRICS Network University and other institution-to-institution initiatives in this area, including the BRICS University League. We welcome the BRICS Network University International Governing Board consideration to expand membership of the BRICS Network University to include more universities from the BRICS countries. We underscore the importance of sharing best practices on expanding access to holistic early childhood care and education to provide a better start in life for children within BRICS countries. We welcome the decision to facilitate exchanges within BRICS countries on equipping learners with skills fit for the future through multiple learning pathways.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Deepening People-to-People Exchanges

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          75. We reaffirm the importance of BRICS people-to-people exchanges in enhancing mutual understanding, friendship and cooperation. We appreciate the progress made under South Africa's Chairship in 2023, and including in the fields of media, culture, education, sports, arts, youth, civil society and academic exchanges, and acknowledge that people-to-people exchanges play an essential role in enriching our societies and developing our economies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          76. We recognise that youth is a driving force for accelerating the achievement of sustainable development goals. Leadership by young people is fundamental to accelerating a just transition premised on the principles of intergenerational solidarity, international cooperation, friendship, and societal transformation. A culture of entrepreneurship and innovation must be nurtured for the sustainable development of our youth. We reiterate the importance of the BRICS Youth Summit as a forum for meaningful engagement on youth matters and recognise its value as a coordinating structure for youth engagement in BRICS. We welcome the finalisation of the BRICS Youth Council Framework.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          77. We commend the successful holding of the BRICS Business Forum. On its 10th anniversary, we welcome the BRICS Business Council's self-reflection with a focus on milestones achieved and areas of improvement. We further welcome the intention of the BRICS Business Council to track intra-BRICS trade flows, identify areas where trade performance has not met expectations and recommend solutions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          78. We acknowledge the critical role of women in economic development and commend the BRICS Women's Business Alliance. We recognise that inclusive entrepreneurship and access to finance for women would facilitate their participation in business ventures, innovation, and the digital economy. We welcome initiatives that will enhance agricultural productivity and access to land, technology, and markets for women farmers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          79. On its 15th anniversary, we recognise the value of BRICS Academic Forum as a platform for deliberations and discussions by leading BRICS academics on the issues confronting us today. The BRICS Think Tanks Council also celebrates 10 years of enhancing cooperation in research and capacity building among the academic communities of BRICS countries.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          80. Dialogue among political parties of BRICS countries plays a constructive role in building consensus and enhancing cooperation. We note the successful hosting of BRICS Political Parties Dialogue in July 2023 and welcome other BRICS countries to host similar events in the future.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          81. We reaffirm our commitments under all the instruments and Agreements signed and adopted by the Governments of the BRICS States on Cooperation in the Field of Culture and commit to operationalising the Action Plan (2022-2026) as a matter of urgency through the BRICS Working Group on Culture.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          82. We commit to ensure the integration of culture into our national development policies, as a driver and an enabler for the achievement of the goals set out in the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We also reaffirm our commitment to promote culture and the creative economy as a global public good as adopted at the World Conference on Culture and Sustainable Development-MONDIACULT22.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          83. We agree to support the protection, preservation, restoration and promotion of our cultural heritage, including both tangible and intangible heritage. We commit to take strong action to fight against illicit trafficking of our cultural property and encourage dialogue among culture and heritage stakeholders and commit to promote digitization of the culture and creative sectors by finding technologically innovative solutions and pushing for policies that transform ways in which cultural contents are produced, disseminated, and accessed. We reaffirm our commitment to support participation of cultural enterprises, museums and institutions in international exhibitions and festivals, hosted by BRICS countries and extend mutual assistance in the organisation of such events.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          84. We welcome the establishment of a Joint Working Group on Sports to develop a BRICS Sport Cooperation Framework, during South Africa's Chairship in 2023. We look forward to the successful holding of the BRICS Games in October 2023 in South Africa. We commit to provide the necessary support for BRICS countries to participate in international sport competitions and meetings held in their own country in compliance with relevant rules.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          85. We emphasize that all BRICS countries have rich traditional sport culture and agree to support each other in the promotion of traditional and indigenous sports among BRICS countries and around the world. We encourage our sport organizations to carry out various exchange activities both online and offline.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          86. We commend the progress made by BRICS countries in promoting urban resilience including through the BRICS Urbanisation forum and appreciate the commitment to further strengthen inclusive collaboration between government and societies at all levels, in all BRICS countries in implementing the 2030 Agenda and promoting the localisation of the SDGs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Institutional Development

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          87. We reiterate the importance of further enhancing BRICS solidarity and cooperation based on our mutual interests and key priorities, to further strengthen our strategic partnership.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          88. We note with satisfaction the progress made on BRICS institutional development and stress that BRICS cooperation needs to embrace changes and keep abreast with the times. We shall continue to set clear priorities in our wide-ranging cooperation, on the basis of consensus, and make our strategic partnership more efficient, practical and results oriented. We task our Sherpas to continue discussions on a regular basis on BRICS institutional development, including on consolidation of cooperation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          89. We welcome the participation, at the invitation of South Africa as BRICS Chair, of other EMDCs as "Friends of BRICS" in BRICS meetings below Summit-level and in the BRICS-Africa Outreach and BRICS Plus Dialogue during the XV BRICS Summit in Johannesburg in 2023.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          90. We appreciate the considerable interest shown by countries of the global South in membership of BRICS. True to the BRICS Spirit and commitment to inclusive multilateralism, BRICS countries reached consensus on the guiding principles, standards, criteria and procedures of the BRICS expansion process.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          91. We have decided to invite the Argentine Republic, the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to become full members of BRICS from 1 January 2024.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          92. We have also tasked our Foreign Ministers to further develop the BRICS partner country model and a list of prospective partner countries and report by the next Summit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          93. Brazil, Russia, India and China commend South Africa's BRICS Chairship in 2023 and express their gratitude to the government and people of South Africa for holding the XV BRICS Summit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          94. Brazil, India, China and South Africa extend their full support to Russia for its BRICS Chairship in 2024 and the holding of the XVI BRICS Summit in the city of Kazan, Russia.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Investment and Finance
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Investment and finance in BRICS
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        How the BRICS nations failed to rebuild the global financial order (Как странам БРИКС не удалось восстановить мировой финансовый порядок) / France, August, 2023
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Keywords: economic_challenges, expert_opinion, ndb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        At its launch almost a decade ago, the BRICS nations' New Development Bank (NDB) was celebrated as a chance for countries across the Global South to break free of the US-dominated IMF and World Bank and rewrite the rules of financing global development. But while the number of nations signed up to the NDB has almost doubled since its founding, critics say that the BRICS bank is making many of the same mistakes as the institutions it was supposed to replace.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        In July 2014, the five BRICS countries of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – representing more than 3 billion people – announced the launch of a new bank that would finance desperately needed infrastructure projects across the developing world. Although it was immediately dubbed the "BRICS Bank" by supporters and detractors alike, its official name held a simple yet powerful promise: the New Development Bank (NDB).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The timing was significant – the announcement came almost 70 years to the day after the Allied nations met at Bretton Woods in New Hampshire to establish the global financial architecture that would help rebuild a world shattered by World War II. Two institutions emerged: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, now part of the World Bank Group, and the International Monetary Fund, which was charged with maintaining a system of fixed exchange rates centered on the US dollar and, at the time, gold.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        While the world has changed a lot since then, the institutions that arose from the 1944 Bretton Woods Conference seem slow to catch up. In a "gentlemen's agreement" that has endured since the end of World War II, the position of World Bank president has always been held by an American and that of IMF managing director by a European. Voting power within the IMF remains pegged to the size of members' economies, not their populations, giving the US an effective veto over all major policy decisions even as countries with far greater populations struggle to reform the institution from the inside.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Even by its own formula for determining member countries' internal influence, the allocation of voting shares lags behind a world turning more and more towards rising economies across the Global South. Although the five BRICS countries are responsible for 26 percent of the global GDP in nominal terms, they have just 15 percent of the voting power between them at the IMF.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Speaking in September 2022 in the aftermath of the catastrophic floods that swept Pakistan, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for the urgent reform of what he described as "a morally bankrupt global financial system".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "This system was created by rich countries to benefit rich countries," he said. "Practically no African country was sitting at the table of the Bretton Woods Agreement; and in many other parts of the world, decolonisation had not yet taken place. It perpetuates poverty and inequalities."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Read moreSize, population, GDP: The BRICS nations in numbers

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Critics of the current crop of multilateral development banks (MDBs) such as the World Bank have accused them of having privileged the financing of extractive, export-oriented projects across the developing world that ravage the environment while doing little to build up domestic industry. The IMF, in particular, has come under criticism for its structural adjustment programmes of the 1980s, which imposed trade liberalisation, privatisation and austerity measures on lower-income countries across Africa as borrowing conditions. While the programmes' legacy remains controversial, many economists say such policies deepened poverty and inequality by cutting away social safety nets while failing to build a foundation for economic growth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Slashing red tape

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        South African Institute of International Affairs chief executive Elizabeth Sidiropoulos said the NDB and its accompanying Contingent Reserve Arrangement – an agreement among the countries' central banks for mutual support during currency crises that was modelled on the IMF – had been born out of a palpable frustration with years of failure to reform the US-dominated institutions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "The idea behind the NDB was creating a bank that had greater equality among its shareholders, could hopefully make decisions more quickly and make more loans in local currencies," she said. "These institutions are not replacing the IMF and World Bank, but providing additional space – if you compare the NDB to the World Bank, it's a much smaller institution."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Opening its doors in 2016 with $50 billion in start-up capital, the NDB has since carefully carved out a niche for itself, having approved $32 billion in financing for 96 projects across its five original member countries. In 2021 it expanded its membership for the first time, bringing Bangladesh, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates – almost 280 million people – into the fold, with Uruguay still listed on its site as a "prospective member". By contrast, the World Bank Group committed $98.8 billion to its almost 190 partner countries – "distributed in credits, loans, grants, and guarantees" – in 2021 alone.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Despite its limited scale, the NDB's explicit mission of financing infrastructure and sustainable development projects across the Global South – most notably, the much-needed green energy infrastructure that will help developing economies shift away from a reliance on fossil fuels – has proved attractive to the bank's growing slate of member countries. In the four years stretching from 2022 through 2026, the bank has said that it will dedicate 40 percent of its total volume of approvals to "projects contributing to climate change mitigation and adaptation".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Also attractive is the BRICS Bank's committment to lending more and more money in local currencies, following a long-expressed desire among the BRICS countries to break away from the domination of the US dollar.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        While the vast majority of international loans have to be repaid in US dollars, effectively increasing the debt burden of developing countries as the greenback's value rises, local-currency lending would leave those same borrowers less affected by the policies of the US Federal Reserve. It would also leave them less vulnerable to the US government's power to use the dollar's status as the international reserve currency to unilaterally impose crippling financial sanctions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Despite this committment, though, local-currency lending remains low. Less than a quarter of disbursements made by the BRICS Bank last year were in local currency – and the vast bulk of that was denominated in Chinese renminbi and, more recently, South African rand.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The bank's flexibility is also appealing. Aiming to cut through some of the red tape of other development banks, the NDB's "Country Systems" approach relies on the regulatory systems in the countries in which the projects are being built, effectively passing on the responsibility for evaluating and monitoring the projects' social and economic impacts to local agencies in line with local legislation. Although the World Bank now has strict safeguards around social and environmental impact developed through repeated consultations with civil society groups, the NDB has been criticised for keeping its own commitments deliberately vague, and passing the responsibility for community consultation and participation on new projects to the client.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sidiropoulos said that despite its small size, the bank's less stringent lending conditions continued to attract borrowers across the BRICS countries.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "We're living in a world where accessing large amounts of development finance is difficult," she said. "The fact that this bank exists creates chances for its members to access development financing more quickly."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Business as usual?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Daniel Bradlow, senior research fellow at the University of Pretoria's Centre for the Advancement of Scholarship, said the NDB had remained modest in its ambitions despite the lofty rhetoric around its launch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "As a new bank, I thought it was going to be more innovative and creative than what it is," he said. "In practice it's been a relatively useful, but small bank. During Covid, South Africa got $2 billion loans to deal with the pandemic, which was helpful."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Still others see the bank's business-as-usual approach as a wasted opportunity. Ana Garcia, general coordinator of the Rio de Janeiro-based BRICS Policy Centre, said that she had initially been hopeful that the bank had learned the hard-earned lessons of the past few decades of international lending.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "It needs to be a lot more serious about asking what the consequences of the projects that it is financing are," Garcia said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Starting in the early 1980s, public outcry and political pressure over projects funded by the World Bank that caused widespread environmental degradation had pressured the institution to adopt stricter policies around ecological and social responsibility, and pathways for community and civil society participation, in new projects. No need, it seemed, to repeat the mistakes of the past.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "On the one hand, it's very interesting to study the NDB strategic guidelines," she said. "As a new financial institution, it already had guidelines around social and ecological impact … On the other hand, you do have a global consensus around the need to finance sustainable global infrastructure – and in this way, the NDB is not that different from the others."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Garcia pointed to the Araripe III wind energy project, which received more than $67 million from the NDB through the Brazilian Development Bank. The project, which built 156 wind turbines on land leased from more than 70 families, now produces enough clean energy to supply 400,000 homes. But despite the project's obvious benefits, members of the local quilombola community say they have struggled with the project's impact on their homes and livelihoods, complaining that there had been little interest in holding consultations with locals before the project broke ground.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Another controversial project, the paving of the Trans-Amazonian Highway that environmentalists say has facilitated the extracted deforestation that has decimated the world's largest rainforest, seems to stretch the definition of sustainable development beyond recognition.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Worse, despite the slew of renewable energy projects that marked the bank's first forays into development finance, the NDB seems to be increasingly gravitating towards the kinds of traditional carbon-intensive projects that have proved so disastrous for the climate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        In 2019, the BRICS Bank approved around $790 million in loans for three energy projects in South Africa. Of that sum, around $480 million went to local power company Eskom's Medupi power plant, now one of the largest coal-fired power plants in the world.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Despite initially inspiring language around equality and accountability, Sidiropoulos said, the NDB's decision-making process around how it judged proposed infrastructure projects to be "sustainable" left much to be desired.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "If you look at the point they made about transparency, in fact they are probably much more opaque than other banks," she said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Read moreChina urges expansion at BRICS summit in South Africa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Garcia said that as a relatively new institution, the BRICS Bank still has time to fulfil its initial promise of a new way of financing infrastructure development.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "The first thing is transparency – they need to open their data to specific interest groups," she said. "The second thing is participation beyond business – once you have a project, you need to open a space for consultations with local groups. Channels for participation, channels for transparency, this is something they can easily do, and something that the World Bank already does."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        But Bowman said that there was little sign that the BRICS member countries were open to building another approach than breaking ground first and asking questions later.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "I suspect that like what happened in the other MDBs, it will take some problematic projects that make the management and member states decide that they need to pay more attention to these issues and that they should be more cautious in their reliance on country systems," he said. "It could also change because of changing understanding in the member states on these issues, but this is less likely."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Biswajit Dhar, professor at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning at Jawaharlal Nehru University, told climate-focused publication India Climate Dialogue that the NDB's growing reliance on private capital to fund its lending left the bank in thrall to the same economic forces that had shaped the paradigm it once sought to displace.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "By being forced to enter into private capital markets, the NDB will have to first think of remaining financially viable, which will happen at the expense of its mandate," he said. "Since it has to function as a commercial entity and not a development finance body, it can ill afford to involve civil society organisations to do due diligence of the projects it is funding."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sidiropoulos said that new financial institutions, whatever their ambitions, still had to survive in a world shaped by the demands of private capital markets and the judgement of credit rating agencies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "We are seeing the emergence of new development finance institutions, but the truth is that we do live in a globalised world," she said. "It's not about creating another institution, it's about changing the paradigm, changing the framework through which [credit] risk is assessed."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        But this change, she said, was unlikely to come from a business-as-usual approach. She raised the prospect of failing to meet the 2030 deadline of the UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which call on governments to eradicate poverty, reduce inequality and take urgent action on climate change.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "It requires a realisation that we're in a crisis moment," she said. "We're halfway to the SDGs, and we're not going to realise them, and we literally have a burning planet – and the countries of the global south are going to bear a lot of the brunt of that."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      BRICS leaders reach consensus on currency stance (Лидеры БРИКС достигли консенсуса по валютной позиции) / South Africa, August, 2023
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Keywords: economic_challenges, summit, trade_relations
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      South Africa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      THE 15TH BRICS Summit held in South Africa has given a lifeline to Russia as there was consensus on the use of local currencies in international trade and financial transactions between member states.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The summit came to an epic end yesterday with the adoption of the Johannesburg II Declaration and the acceptance of six additional countries after three days of intense deliberations. Saudi Arabia, Iran, Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia and the United Arab Emirates will become full BRICS members in January 2024.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      BRICS leaders committed themselves yesterday to strengthening the framework of mutually beneficial co-operation under the three pillars of political and security, economic and financial, and cultural and people-to-people co-operation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      In the declaration, BRICS nations welcomed the sharing of experience by BRICS members on payment infrastructures, including the interlinking of cross-border payment systems.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The declaration states that the leaders stressed the importance of encouraging the use of local currencies in international trade and financial transactions between BRICS as well as their trading partners.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The leaders also encouraged the strengthening of correspondent banking networks between the BRICS countries and enabling settlements in the local currencies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      They said this would further enhance co-operation among the BRICS countries and encourage further dialogue on payment instruments to facilitate trade and investment flows between the BRICS members as well as other developing countries.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      President Cyril Ramaphosa said the summit noted that an unbalanced recovery from the hardship of the Covid-19 pandemic is exacerbating inequality across the world.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Ramaphosa said they encouraged multilateral financial institutions and international organisations to play a constructive role in building global consensus on economic policies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This is in line with BRICS's desire to lessen the countries' reliance on the US dollar which is the world's reserve currency and enjoys great dominance over their economies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "We have noted that there is global momentum for the use of local currencies, alternative financial arrangements and alternative payment systems," Ramaphosa said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "As BRICS, we are ready to explore opportunities for improving the stability, reliability and fairness of the global financial architecture.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "The summit agreed to task the BRICS finance ministers and/or central bank governors, as appropriate, to consider the issue of local currencies, payment instruments and platforms and report back to the BRICS leaders by the next summit."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The use of local currencies in international trade and financial transactions will greatly benefit Russia as it was removed from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (Swift), an international payment system used by thousands of financial institutions, after its invasion of Ukraine in February 2021.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Since Russia was sanctioned by the US and Western countries and kicked out of Swift, it has been using its own currency the Russian rouble – in relation to those of the countries it trades and has developed its own payment and settlement system for cross-border transactions with countries like China and India.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Around June, Russia and India approached the South African government about the possibility of interlinking payment infrastructure for settlement in their own currencies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      However, the SA Reserve Bank stalled this move and proposed that attention be given to other priorities. The BRICS Summit discussed the international payments system in detail and also debated the question of whether a BRICS currency was possible or desirable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      However, in the end BRICS members agreed that the set of requirements necessary to create a common currency could not be quickly satisfied, but could only emerge over multiple years as a track record of impeccable credibility and wide use was built up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      In his virtual address, Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday said he was confident that these issues would be much clearer by the next BRICS Summit in Russia next year.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "I believe that a single settlement currency definitely deserves our attention. This is a complex issue, but we have to move towards resolving it in one way or another," Putin.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "The second issue deals with carrying out economic transactions between our countries."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Independent economist George Magnus said, however, that dislodging the US dollar was not something that was likely to happen, and certainly not in the foreseeable future.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Magnus said the US dollar played a unique role in the world's monetary system and global economy, unparalleled by the UK sterling which was mostly linked to gold.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "It is uniquely determined, quite perversely, by the structure of the global balance of payments – and in particular by surplus countries like China, Saudi Arabia and Brazil," he said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "These countries pursue macroeconomic policies that subdue domestic demand, sustain large savings that are reflected in balance of payments surpluses and then send these savings mostly to the only nation in the world with big enough capital markets, transparency, openness and trust to absorb them, that is the United States."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "The end of the dollar, if and when it happens, will be accompanied by an upending of the world's trading and commercial system. You cannot change one without the other. And a lot of countries that are hostile to or ambivalent about the United States certainly don't want that."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Does an Expanded BRICS Mean Anything? (Означает ли что-нибудь расширение БРИКС?) / USA, August, 2023
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Keywords: brics+, expert_opinion
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Author: Jim O'Neill

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Now that the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) will accept new members, one wonders if the grouping can pose a genuine challenge to the prevailing global-governance institutions. As in the past, the group's influence will depend on its effectiveness, not on its composition or size.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    LONDON – When I coined the BRIC acronym back in 2001, my primary point was that global governance would need to adjust to incorporate the world's largest emerging economies. Not only did Brazil, Russia, India, and China top the list of that cohort; they also were collectively responsible for governing close to half of the world's population. It stood to reason that they should be represented accordingly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Over the past two decades, some have misread my initial paper as a kind of investment thesis, while others have interpreted it as an endorsement of the BRICS (South Africa was added in 2010) as a political grouping. But I never intended any such thing. On the contrary, ever since the Brazilian and Russian foreign ministers proposed the idea of creating a formal BRIC political grouping in 2009, I have questioned the organization's purpose, beyond serving as a symbolic gesture.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Now that the BRICS has announced that it will add six more countries – Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates – I pose the question again. The decision, after all, does not appear to have been decided on any clear objective, much less economic, criteria. Why, for example, was Indonesia not asked? Why Argentina and not Mexico, or Ethiopia and not Nigeria?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Clearly, the BRICS' symbolic power will grow. The group has been able to tap into the broader Global South's suspicion that post-World War II global-governance organizations are too Western. It has occasionally been able to present itself as the voice of the emerging and developing world – a category that of course excludes the United States and other advanced economies. Insofar as it has reminded everyone that the structure of international institutions does not reflect the global economic shifts over the past 30 years, it has succeeded.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It is true that in terms of purchasing power parity, the BRICS are slightly larger than the G7. But, because their currencies trade at prices far below their PPP-implied levels, the group remains significantly smaller than its advanced-economy counterpart, when measured in current nominal US dollars.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It is also true that China has firmly established itself as the world's second-largest economy. In nominal terms, its GDP is more than three times larger than Japan and Germany, and around 75% the size of the US. Meanwhile, India has been growing fast and now seeks to become the third-largest economy by the end of this decade. But none of the other BRICS has performed anywhere near as well as these two. Brazil and Russia account for around the same share of global GDP as they did in 2001, and South Africa is not even the largest economy in Africa (Nigeria has surpassed it).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Of course, some G7 members are in the same boat. Italy and Japan have registered hardly any growth for many years, and the United Kingdom, too, has been struggling. Just as China dominates the BRICS by dint of being twice the size of all the others combined, so the US is now bigger than the rest of the G7 combined. America and China dominate their respective groups even more than they did in the past. What these dynamics suggest is that neither the G7 nor the BRICS (expanded or otherwise) makes much sense for tackling today's global challenges. Neither can do much without the direct, equal involvement of the other.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    What the world really needs is a resurrected G20, which already includes all the same key players, plus others. It remains the best forum for addressing truly global issues such as economic growth, international trade, climate change, pandemic prevention, and so on. Though it now faces significant challenges, it still can reclaim the spirit of 2008-10, when it coordinated the international response to the global financial crisis. At some point, the US and China will have to overcome their differences and allow the G20 to return to its central position.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    As for the BRICS, the group could be more effective, on the margins, if key members were truly serious about pursuing shared goals. But China and India rarely agree on anything, and given their current bilateral relationship, neither is likely to be enthusiastic about the other gaining more influence in key global institutions (unless they are equally balanced).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    That said, if China and India could resolve their border disputes and develop a closer constructive relationship, both countries would benefit, as would world trade, global economic growth, and the BRICS' effectiveness. China and India could cooperate in many areas, and in ways that would influence the other BRICS and many others throughout the Global South.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    One big issue is the dominance of the US dollar. It is not especially healthy for the world to be so dependent on the dollar and, as a corollary, on the US Federal Reserve's monetary policy. The introduction of the euro could have diminished the dollar's dominance if eurozone member states had agreed to allow their financial instruments to be liquid and large enough to appeal to the rest of the world. Similarly, if any of the BRICS – especially China and India – undertook significant financial reforms to achieve that goal, their currencies would almost certainly become more widely used. But if they continue to limit themselves to complaining about the dollar and musing in the abstract about a shared BRICS currency, they are unlikely to achieve much.
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