BRICS Afterword: Hard Work Before Expansion

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva: “With the expansion by six new states, BRICS will represent 36% of world GDP and 47% of the population of the entire planet.”

Due to the imminent expansion – on January 1, 2024, the five founding countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) will be joined by six more (Saudi Arabia, Iran, Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, the United Arab Emirates) – the BRICS group will immediately start to implement the decisions taken at the last summit in Johannesburg.

One of the main topics is the replacement of the US dollar by national currencies in bilateral and multilateral trade within the group. As South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said, “BRICS leaders have instructed their finance ministers and central bank governors, if necessary, to consider the use of national currencies, payment instruments, and platforms and report the results to the BRICS leaders at the next summit.” This is an important step towards the launch of the group’s single currency to break free from dependence on the dollar. Russian President Vladimir Putin has proposed holding the next BRICS summit in 2024 in Kazan, the capital of the Muslim-majority Russian republic of Tatarstan.

The expected BRICS membership of Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, and the UAE increases the weight of the Islamic world within the group. “Full participation in the group of emerging world economies is a historic event and a strategic achievement for Iran’s foreign policy,” Iranian Deputy Chief of Staff for Political Affairs Mohammad Jamshidi tweeted on X (formerly Twitter).

Even the Vatican that would like to receive the BRICS observer status emphasized the importance of the religious factor for the future of the group. According to the President of the World Union of Old Believers Leonid Sevastyanov, who published the message of the Holy Father over the weekend, “from Pope Francis’s viewpoint, granting the Vatican observer status with BRICS will be a very positive move, since the two Catholic countries, Brazil and Argentina, are and will be part of the group, and the Catholic factor in the structures of BRICS has great importance in terms of common Christian and universal values.”