BRICS FM meeting in South Africa: What’s on the agenda?

Source: The post is based on the article “BRICS FM meeting in South Africa: What’s on the agenda?” published in the Indian Express on 2nd June 2023

What is the News?

External Affairs Minister is in Cape Town, South Africa, to attend a meeting of the foreign ministers of BRICS.

What is BRICS?

Must read: BRICS-Structure and importance

What are the key highlights of the BRICS foreign ministers’ meeting agenda?

The foreign ministers’ meeting will finalise the agenda for the 15th BRICS summit scheduled to be held in South Africa.

Note: The theme of BRICS 2023 is: “BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Mutually Accelerated Growth, Sustainable Development, and Inclusive Multilateralism”.

Two key items on the agenda are a) a plan to expand the membership of BRICS, and b) a common currency.

Read more: The paradox of BRICS, its new pathway

What is the significance of the expansion of BRICS members?

As many as 19 countries are said to be in the queue to join BRICS. Many of the countries are frequently mentioned to become the BRICS member. These are from Latin America, Africa, West Asia, Central Asia, South Asia; and South-East Asia. It is not clear which countries might be admitted. The list includes big oil producers Saudi, Iran, the UAE, Nigeria, and Venezuela.

The expansion of BRICS membership has numerous benefits such as a) Any expansion can be seen as strengthening the group’s heft as a spokesperson of the developing world, b) Admitting some key countries in the list could lay claim to representing more than half the world’s population, c) There is considerable anti-US sentiment in the world, and all these countries are looking for a grouping where they can use that sentiment to gather together. This will allow the “voices of the marginalised to actually be heard”, and d) The expansion will facilitate the solidarity of the Global South.

Note: Adding more members might sideline India’s role in the group.

Must read: China wants a larger BRICS to challenge the existing international order

What are the challenges in creating a common BRICS currency?

The idea of a common currency was proposed by Russia’s President at the Beijing BRICS summit last year. The leaders decided to set up a committee to study its viability.

The common BRICS currency might not work as a) The BRICS members have different economic and political systems and are located on different continents, b) Setting up a common central bank of member countries is challenging, and c) In a situation of low growth of member countries the common currency might not work.

Read more: BRICS and the creation of a multipolar world 
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