The BRICS group of emerging countriesBrazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) rang the bell this week when it announced joining the bloc of six countries, including Argentina, in Johannesburg, leaving a mystery in the air: Will this expansion mark the beginning of a new world order?
Amid enormous expectations, the President of South Africa said: Cyril Ramaphosabroke the news last Thursday in front of hundreds of journalists who packed a room in the Sandton Convention Center, Johannesburg’s financial district, where the last day of the XV. Summit of the Group’s Heads of State or Government.
The leaders of the bloc had agreed Access to the Club of Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Ethiopia, UAE and Iran, The president revealed that they will become “full members” from January 1, 2024. Without clarifying the accession criteria, Ramaphosa specified that there was “a consensus on the first phase of this expansion process” and that other phases would follow.
Some 40 countries have expressed a desire to join the bloc, including South Africa, which holds the bloc’s rotating presidency this year and has received formal applications from 23 nations, including Argentina, Bolivia, Cuba, Honduras and Venezuela.
Brazil, Russia, India and China formed the BRIC group in 2006, an informal club that South Africa joined (the S in the acronym) in 2010. These countries represent more than 42% of the world’s population and 30% of the planet’s territory, as well as 23% of gross domestic product (GDP) and 18% of world trade.
Since then, the group, set up as a champion of the Global South and a scourge of the West’s global hegemony, had not opened its doors to anyone due to disagreements among its members.
China, the world’s second largest economy, has since relied heavily on the expansion of the BRICS countries, which want more weight in international institutions dominated by the United States and Europe Beijing seeks more geopolitical power against Washington, the world’s leading economy.
the chinese president, Xi Jinping couldn’t contain the euphoria and described the expansion as “historic”.and his colleagues in the block jumped on board, albeit with more moderate assessments.
The President of Brazil Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, bidding for neighboring Argentina to join, “welcomed” the new members and affirmed that “the BRICS will continue to be the engine of a fairer world order.”
But, What does enlargement mean for this world order? “This is a historic moment (…) in which relations can change completely from what we have seen so far, when a unipolar world turned into a multipolar world very quickly,” replied the famous Uruguayan journalist EFE the summit . George Gestoso, who has interviewed numerous international executives over the course of his long career.
Gestoso believes so The planet is heading towards a new international order, but it warns that the “unipolar world” will not “stand by idly (…) and we might see sticks in the steering wheel later.”
The international politics expert was more cautious in his statements to EFE Sanusha Naidu from the Institute for Global Dialogue (IGD) in South Africawhich, while not “necessarily imagining a new world order,” admits it The expansion of the BRICS changes “the dynamics of this world order by breaking down barriers”.
While there is no doubt that enlargement will give the bloc greater economic and political clout, it could also spark new tensions between members and the West, given the inclusion of, for example, Iran, a bitter enemy of the United States.
In this regard, it should be remembered that Russia and Iran are pursuing a common cause in the struggle against Washington’s sanctions and diplomatic isolation, and that they have deepened economic ties after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
The possible problem of Argentina
Argentina’s accession could also pose problems for the group “because there is still a possibility of a change of government” in the country, Brazilian analyst Gustavo de Carvalho of the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) told EFE.
The presidential candidate of the opposition coalition Together for Change, Patricia Bullrich already expressed her “opposing position” on Argentina’s accession on Thursday. “Argentina will not be part of the BRICS under our government,” Bullrich warned in a speech ahead of October 22 general elections.
In the economic and commercial sphere, Gestoso pointed out that the expansion – which includes three major oil producers such as Saudi Arabia, Iran and the United Arab Emirates – could lead to a “tectonic movement” in the development of “a new financial architecture” that can change the rules of the game change the world.”
In fact, it was here that the BRICS achieved their greatest success to date: the creation of the New Development Bank (NDB), a World Bank (WB)-style body to finance infrastructure projects.
As the West digests BRICS expansion, the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres recalled this Thursday at the Union Summit that “today’s global governance structures reflect yesterday’s world”. and therefore “needs to be reformed to reflect current power and economic realities”. EFE