Several Arab countries, Algeria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, as well as Bahrain, Kuwait, Morocco and Palestine, have submitted formal applications to join the BRICS, out of 23 countries that have done the same, South Africa announced.
On August 7, South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor said in a statement, "We have formal requests for interest from the leaders of 23 countries to join BRICS, and many other informal requests regarding membership possibilities."
The countries that have officially applied to join BRICS are: Egypt, Algeria, Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bolivia, Cuba, Ethiopia, Honduras, Indonesia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Morocco, Nigeria, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Thailand, UAE, Venezuela and Vietnam.
The expansion of the BRICS Alliance leads to strengthening its role as an economic alliance with a set of advantages that qualify it to compete with the Group of Seven, in line with the main objectives for which this alliance was established as an entity seeking to create a state of balance in the global economy.
So what is the BRICS group?
The BRICS is a political organization that began negotiations to form it in 2006 and held its first summit in June 2009 in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg.
Changing its name from BRIC to BRICS in 2011, after South Africa joined it, this international group aims to develop economic relations among themselves in local currencies, reducing dependence on the dollar.
By 2050, their economies are expected to rival the economies of the richest countries in the world today, according to Goldman Sachs, which first used the term in 2001.
The idea of the BRICS Group was coined by Goldman Sachs chief economist Jim O'Neill in a 2001 study titled "Building Better Global Economies for BRICS Countries."
O'Neill initially used the term "break" to describe "emerging markets" in Brazil, Russia, India and China.
From 2000 to 2008, these four countries' share of global output rose rapidly, from 16 percent to 22 percent, and their economies performed better than average during and after the global recession in 2008.
In 2006, this very concept gave rise to a grouping that merged Brazil, Russia, India and China; before South Africa joined the third summit in 2011.
The bloc aspires to create an economic system parallel to the current one led by the United States, as China sees this bloc as a model for advocating for developing and poor economies.
The economic aspect formed the main backbone of the establishment of the BRICS group, and the members began to develop their economic plans as a whole, leading to an economic power capable of countering the current Western economic power.
The BRICS is reshaping the world order by shifting power from the "Global North" to the "Global South."
The figures show the economic strength reached by the BRICS countries, as they have become dominant and large globally, and data from the International Monetary Fund show that the bloc's contribution amounted to 31.5 percent to the global economy by the end of 2022, compared to 30.7 percent for the seven industrial powers.
The G7 industrial powers, or G<>, are the countries of the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, France, Canada and Japan.
Here are the highlights:
- The size of the BRICS economies until the end of 2022 is about $44 trillion.
- BRICS controls 17 percent of global trade, according to World Trade Organization data.
- The current BRICS countries control 27 percent of the world's land area, with a total area of 40 million square kilometers.
- The alliance has a population of 3.2 billion, equivalent to about 42 percent of the total population of the earth, while the population of the Group of Seven countries is about 800 million.
As new members enter the BRICS, the alliance could grow by 10 million square kilometers and the population could increase by 322 million.
The group also includes three nuclear powers: Russia, China and India, and four of the world's most powerful armies, led by China, India and Russia.
According to International Monetary Fund data, the size of China's economy alone exceeds 6 of the G7 economies: Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada, France and the United Kingdom.
Mega projects and alternative institutions
Coalition countries have embarked on ambitious infrastructure projects, reflecting their respective visions of smart and sustainable development.
For example, China's Belt and Road Initiative aims to create large-scale infrastructure networks linking Asia, Europe and Africa.
India has planned to develop 100 smart cities linked by high-speed trains, while Russia seeks to build the Russian Far East as a new economic bridge between Europe and Asia through advanced special economic zones.
Brazil and South Africa focused on large-scale agriculture and industrial expansion.
The Global South has taken steps to introduce alternatives to the dollar-based trading system, with China and Brazil, for example, agreeing to engage in cross-border trade using their own currencies, bypassing the dollar system.
ASEAN countries have also called for alternatives to dollar-based trade, moreover, countries such as Russia and India have engaged in trade using their own currencies, and India and Bangladesh are doing the same.
BRICS has become a forum to address critical global issues such as trade, finance, climate change, energy security, and the West's power over key economic joints, such as the dollar – the world's foremost trade and reserve currency.
In 2014, member states launched the New Development Bank (NDB) with an initial capital of $50 billion; it serves as an alternative to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, providing financing for infrastructure and sustainable development projects.
BRICS countries have also created the Emergency Reserve Arrangement (CRA), a liquidity mechanism designed to support member countries facing payment difficulties and a competitor to the IMF.
These initiatives demonstrate the bloc's intention to create institutions that represent the interests of emerging economies and provide an alternative to existing global financial institutions.