South Africa says 40 more countries want to join 5-nation BRICS bloc
The BRICS group of emerging economies — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — has positioned itself as an alternative to the Western-dominated world order.
BRICS officials say that spirit has sparked the interest of some 40 countries in joining as the 5- nation bloc prepared for a summit in August.
Current BRICS chair South Africa is hosting the three-day meeting in Johannesburg this month and says BRICS expansion will be on the agenda.
Argentina, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are among the countries looking to join, South Africa's BRICS ambassador, Anil Sooklal, told journalists, adding that it demonstrated the confidence Global South nations have in the organization.
"Twenty-two countries have formally approached BRICS countries to become full members. There's an equal number of countries that has been informally asking about becoming BRICS members," Sooklal said.
BRICS is seen as "a powerful force," said Sooklal, who added that measured by purchasing power parity it now accounts for 31.7% of global GDP, having overtaken the G-7 — a forum of advanced democracies that includes the US.
Other items on the agenda is the creation of a new joint BRICS currency.
While the BRICS countries have been seeking to reduce their reliance on the US dollar for over a decade, Western sanctions on Russia after its war with Ukraine have accelerated the process.