The 15th BRICS Summit came to the fore as a historical summit in terms of the decision to accept new members by the group of BRICS countries consisting of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
Many countries attended the summit at the level of heads of state and government, to which nearly 70 countries from around the world were invited.
The group of BRICS countries, which advocates the multipolar global system, constitutes an attractive alternative for Asian, African and Latin American countries against the current Western-centered system.
So far, 22 countries have made official applications for membership in the BRICS. A number of countries have also unofficially shown their interest in BRICS membership.
In the first 2 days of the summit in Johannesburg, the leaders of the BRICS countries discussed the current applications and membership criteria and decided to invite 6 countries, namely Argentina, UAE, Ethiopia, Iran, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
The number of BRICS members will increase to 11 as of next year, with new members joining the community as of January 1, 2024.
Trade in local currencies prevailed against the common currency
Another important agenda item of the summit was the BRICS common currency. Although the idea of a common currency, put forward by China, which wanted to break the hegemony of the US dollar, was supported by Russia, it was not accepted by countries with a relatively small economy and population such as South Africa.
Instead, the idea of trading in local currencies prevailed among members. One of the highlights of the summit was the need for a financial system that would enable fast, secure and cheap money flow in local currencies among members.
Great interest in the summit from Africa
South Africa, the host country, invited nearly 70 countries, 53 of which were African countries, to the summit organized with the theme of “BRICS and Africa: Mutual Accelerated Growth, Sustainable Development and Partnership for Inclusive Multilateralism”.
The BRICS Plus meeting, which was held on the last day of the summit, attracted high-level participation from all over the world, especially from African countries.
Iran, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Cuba, Indonesia, Senegal, Zambia, Burundi, Comoros, Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Namibia, Libya and Chad attended the meeting at the level of heads of state and government, while many countries were represented at the meeting by their foreign ministers.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was among the names attending the summit.
In the closing program of the summit, Chinese President Xi Jinping and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa met with the leaders of Senegal, Zambia, Burundi, Comoros, Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Namibia, Libya and Chad at a roundtable meeting.
The BRICS group of countries, which makes up more than 40 percent of the world’s population and more than 30 percent of the global product, is an international forum where the leaders of the member countries come together at the summits held every year and discuss global issues and mutual cooperation.
The BRICS group, which holds regular meetings at the ministerial level every year, stands out as an important platform for the development of economic, political and cultural cooperation between member countries.
On the other hand, BRICS decisions are not binding for member states. For now, the Community is following a path based on economic cooperation.
However, the BRICS community, which has expanded with the recruitment of members from a very wide geography, is expected to come to the fore as a stronger actor in the global system in the future.