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Waves of BRICS expansion

History and prospects of the BRICS group

BRICS was founded in June 2006 (originally as BRIC) at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. The name of the association was created based on the abbreviation of the member countries' names: Brazil, Russia, India, and China.

BRIC was conceived as an intergovernmental informal union of dynamically developing countries and became a platform for strengthening comprehensive cooperation between those countries whose economies have high growth potential. The group has nothing to do with military arrangements and mainly focuses on economic issues.

According to the Korean Embassy, on November 12, 2010, at the G20 Seoul Summit, South Africa declared its desire to join BRIC. This decision was supported by the member countries of the group, and in 2011, when South Africa joined the association, the name of the union was changed to BRICS.

What unites the BRICS countries?

Primarily, all BRICS members are united by the idea of economic cooperation, so more and more companies worldwide realise the need to secure their intellectual property in these countries. The rapid development of the science and technology sector and the expansion of markets have led to an increase in the number of applications for trademark registration and patenting of inventions, utility models, and industrial designs worldwide.

According to the official website of the Russian 2020 BRICS chairmanship, the first priority of the union is to improve the quality of life of the population and the progressive shift to high technology in the maximum possible spheres.

Furthermore, BRICS aims to promote the development of politics and security, economics and finance, and cultural and humanitarian cooperation. The member countries honour equality and maintain mutual respect.

The second wave of BRICS expansion

On May 19, 2022, at a news briefing ahead of the 9th BRICS Summit in Beijing, Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi proposed the expansion of the BRICS group. Following this proposal, on June 27, 2022, Argentina and Iran applied to join the union.

In June 2023, Egypt and Ethiopia also formally applied to join BRICS. Following these developments, the 15th BRICS Summit was held in Johannesburg from August 22–24, 2023, resulting in the announcement of the expansion of the association. Afterwards, Argentina refused to join BRICS.

Then, on August 24, 2023, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Ethiopia, and the UAE were invited to join BRICS as full members.

Prospects for BRICS Development

BRICS today represents 10 states with huge potential for economic, political, and cultural advancement.

According to Nikolay Parkhitko, Assistant Deputy of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation and TV BRICS Expert, in terms of economic structure, the union brings together the largest producers and suppliers of oil, such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Iran, as well as the largest consumers of oil and gas, namely China and India. This fact demonstrates that inner supply chains are likely to be created within the BRICS.

On May 24, 2022, the BRICS countries signed the Action Plan for the Implementation of the Agreement between the Governments of the BRICS States on Cooperation in the Field of Culture for 2022–2026.

The Action Plan includes not only the promotion of cooperation in preserving and promoting the cultural heritage of the BRICS countries but also the development of cooperation in the digital space and in the areas of innovation and creative industries.

In August 2023, the BRICS Ministers of Agriculture adopted an Action Plan 2021–2024 on Agricultural Cooperation among the BRICS member countries. This initiative emphasises food security issues as well as the necessity of maintaining agrobiodiversity and promoting the sustainability of food and agricultural production systems.

“In perspective, BRICS is a union that fights for economic justice, as its members are countries that either have economic sovereignty or aspire to it. BRICS is a wonderful alternative for building a truly just economic global order,” said Nikolay Parkhitko.

Many officials have repeatedly noted the growing influence of the BRICS. Thus, according to Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Ryabkov, the BRICS countries, which constitute almost half of the world's population and a significant part of global GDP, will be one of the backbones of the new emerging world order.

In support of these statements, more than 40 countries are interested in joining BRICS; 22 states out of this number have already submitted formal requests. This was announced on July 20, 2023, by Anil Sooklal, Ambassador-at-Large for Asia and BRICS at the South African Foreign Ministry and South Africa's BRICS Sherpa.

In 2024, Russia will hold the BRICS presidency. The main event of the Russian presidency will be the BRICS summit in Kazan on October 22–24. Moreover, it will be the first summit of the BRICS in an expanded format.

According to the official website of the Russian 2024 BRICS chairmanship, the group will focus its efforts on promoting the whole range of partnership cooperation within the association in three key areas: politics and security, economy and finance, and cultural and humanitarian ties.

Photo: iStock

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Once a week we will cover news in the BRICS countries
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