BRICS: the summit in South Africa is underway as a “counterweight” to the West

Photo of author

By John

The heads of state and government of the BRICS countries arrived in South Africa to kick off a summit that aims to strengthen the group of emerging economies to act as a counterweight to the West. In addition to the leaders of Brazil, China, India and South Africa (Russia will be represented by the Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, in the absence of the president, Vladimir Putin) in Johannesburg there will also be those of many Asian, African and Middle Eastern countries, with the hope to be invited to join the group.
From the summit of emerging economies, which they are worth about a quarter of the world’s gross domestic productan anti-Western stance is expected, in particular on the role of the dollar in international transactions (which could be of help to Russia, whose economy is feeling the effects of the international sanctions imposed for the invasion of Ukraine).

However, the interests of the various BRICS countries do not always converge: As China seeks to extend its influence to bolster its efforts to compete with the United States, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is trying to keep his distance, saying the country does not want to get drawn into a big-power contest. “Our decision not to align ourselves with any major global power does not mean that we are neutral on matters of principle, or of national interest,” he said on the eve of the summit. India is also holding back anti-Western thrusts, which wants to maintain the geo-economic imprint of the acronym, without descending into a geopolitical drift, on the impetus of Russia and China, which would not find favor with Delhi.

The challenge to the West also involves the possible new entries of Iran and Venezuelaboth affected by Western sanctions. More than forty countries have shown interest in joining the BRICS groupaccording to South African officials, and 23 of these have formally requested admission to the group, as it is read as a signal that developing countries do not want to be told who to support on the global stage.

Xi, “The BRICS platform is a force for global economic growth”

The BRICS cooperation mechanism (the acronym that brings together Brazil, Russia, India and China and South Africa) is a key platform for emerging markets and major developing countries and «a constructive force for world economic growth, for better global governance and for greater democracy in international relations”. It is the message of Chinese President Xi Jinping, expressed upon his arrival in Johannesburg where he was welcomed yesterday by his South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa. The Chinese leader, as reported today by state media, is confident that the 15th summit of BRICS leaders, which opens today«will become a milestone in the development of the e it will help to take the unity and cooperation of developing countries to a higher level». Xi added that he considers “the Sino-African dialogue between leaders” important, useful for defining “the methods for closer cooperation, greater development and a more peaceful world”.