The 15th BRICS Summit, scheduled to take place in South Africa, will consider applications for formal and informal membership from 19 countries, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Turkey, Sudan, Argentina, Algeria, and Mexico, among others. Although the expansion of the group could lead to a new world order, several challenges must be addressed before that could happen.
A threat to the dominance of the global North?
The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) group, founded in 2006, has not admitted any new members since South Africa joined in 2010. However, the idea of BRICS+ was proposed in 2017. If more nations join, the total population of BRICS member states would exceed 4.3 billion, accounting for more than half of the world’s population. An expanded BRICS would have a GDP of $30 trillion, surpassing that of the United States. Another notable trend among BRICS members is de-dollarization, as some officials have expressed a desire to introduce a new currency for cross-border trade among BRICS nations. Such a move is likely to strengthen the alternative that BRICS has presented to mainstream Western layouts both financially and politically.
The rise of the BRICS group has brought about a shift in the global economic and political order. As the economies of Brazil, Russia, India, and China continue to grow, they are challenging the dominance of the global North, led by the United States and Europe. This shift is also evident in the realm of international institutions and global governance, with BRICS countries calling for a more equitable distribution of power and resources. The BRICS New Development Bank, established in 2014, is one such example, offering an alternative to the traditional Western-dominated institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. As the influence of the BRICS group continues to grow, it remains to be seen how this will impact the balance of power in the global arena.
The challenges of a multipolar world
The emergence of a multipolar world is an important step towards a more balanced and just global order. However, the challenges of achieving this goal should not be underestimated. One major obstacle is the introduction of a new currency to replace the dominant role of the American dollar. This is a complex process that will require significant effort and coordination among BRICS members. Additionally, an expanded BRICS has been criticized for potentially exacerbating power imbalances, particularly if China’s influence within the group becomes too dominant. As such, ensuring equal participation and representation among members is crucial for the success of a multipolar world.
Furthermore, the economic growth of the BRICS nations has a direct impact on their ability to become a significant player in the multipolar world order. As their economies continue to grow, the BRICS nations are likely to gain more influence and power, which could pose a challenge to existing global powers. Moreover, their collective GDP is expected to surpass that of the United States, indicating a shift in the global economic balance of power. However, the growing economic power of the BRICS nations could also lead to increased competition and potential conflicts within the group. Thus, the BRICS nations will need to find ways to manage these tensions and ensure that their growth benefits all members equally.
Points of cooperation
BRICS must build better political relations and re-establish mutual trust to enhance cooperation. The group must strive to build a better world by enhancing cooperation on environmental conservation and climate change, gender equality, energy and food security, illiteracy, affordable and high-quality healthcare for all, mutual economic growth and social development, among other things. National Action Plans must be developed and adopted by BRICS nations to assess their own development, learn from nations with better performance records, share and adopt best practices on the path for mutual development and social welfare. Externally, BRICS must cooperate with other nations, including those in the Global North, to address global challenges.
To conclude, although the expansion of BRICS could lead to a new world order, several challenges must be addressed before that could happen. BRICS must focus on building better political relations, re-establishing mutual trust, and working together to address global challenges. Only then can BRICS become a truly multipolar setting where every member has an equal voice in shaping the future of the world.