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BRICS summit 2023: What's likely to be discussed?

From August 22-24, the chiefs of state and government from the BRICS group of major rising economies - Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa - will gather in Johannesburg for their 15th summit.

Among those likely to show there are South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Because of an arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court for war crimes in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin will not be present in person. Putin will be represented at the conference in Johannesburg by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who will be participating remotely.

The agenda for the meeting is largely unknown at this point, however the following topics are likely to be covered.

There is disagreement among the leaders over how and who should be let into the bloc as it grows.

According to South Africa, over 40 nations have shown interest in joining BRICS. These countries include Saudi Arabia, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Argentina, Indonesia, Egypt, and Ethiopia.

Brazil is skeptical about BRICS growth, while China supports it as a means to increase its power as it competes with the United States in commerce and geopolitical.

Both Russia and South Africa are eager to bring in new members as a means of breaking out of their diplomatic isolation over the Ukraine crisis. A decision has not been made in India.


Local currency fundraising and lending inside the New Development Bank (NDB), or so-called BRICS bank, is also expected to be discussed. South Africa's Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana has suggested that using the country's domestic currency will mitigate the effects of currency volatility.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine and the Federal Reserve began raising interest rates in early 2022 to combat inflation, the value of the dollar has risen against the currencies of emerging markets, making it more expensive for those countries to service their debt denominated in dollars.

South Africa's senior BRICS diplomat has stated that while the NDB, which was founded in 2015, is currently exploring the potential use of alternative currencies, there will be no discussion of a uniform BRICS currency during the summit.

As the NDB grows, this meeting may become an important venue for luring new member nations. Since 2021, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Bangladesh have all become members of the bank. Uruguay is currently in the midst of membership procedures, and interest has also been voiced by Algeria, Honduras, Zimbabwe, and Saudi Arabia.

Co-operation in economics

It is expected that the leaders will also discuss ways to strengthen economic linkages among their countries' varied economies.

Trade and investment potential in areas such as energy cooperation, infrastructure development, the digital economy, and the labor market are scheduled to be discussed at length.

BRIC Acquaintances

Leaders from other countries will likely dominate discussions on the final day of the summit. South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor said 67 leaders from throughout Africa, Latin America, Asia, and the Caribbean had been invited to join the conference.

Russia was opposed to French President Emmanuel Macron's attendance at the summit because of France's backing for Ukraine in the face of a Russian invasion. The French president, Macron, was not invited.

According to Pandor, the summit's subject of "BRICS and Africa" necessitates a focus on the relationships between the bloc and the African continent, and BRICS partners are ready to investigate ways to reap the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area.

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