By Asmau Ahmad
The BRICS alliance of five emerging economies meets in South Africa starting Tuesday at a summit that is expected to focus on the group’s expansion.
The alliance currently includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
It now aims to become “BRICS plus” and take on numerous new members. The member states still have to agree on admission criteria.
It is also still unclear when additional countries will be included.
The meeting runs through Thursday.
China’s President Xi Jinping, Brazil’s Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi are expected to attend the summit in person.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is represented by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Putin himself is due to take part via video link.
The aim of expanding the group is the “search for alternatives” to the current global balance of power, according to South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor.
The BRICS countries say that together they account for 42 per cent of the world’s population, 30 per cent of the global land area and 24 per cent of global economic output.
More than 30 other countries have confirmed their participation in the three-day meeting.
In addition, 67 high-ranking politicians from Africa and the global South are invited, as are 20 representatives from the United Nations, the African Union and regional economic communities in Africa and others.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Vice President, Kashim Shettima has arrived Johannesburg, South Africa, on Monday to participate in the 15th BRICS Summit of Heads of Government.
The Director of Information, Office of the Vice President, Mr. Olusola Abiola, disclosed this in a statement on Monday in Abuja.
He said Shettima would join other business and political leaders across the world at the Summit slated for the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg from August 22 to 24.
Abiola said the South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, Brazil’s Luiz Lula da Silva, and Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, would attend the summit.
“73 dignitaries including the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the chairperson of the African Union Commission, and the President of the New Development Bank have also been invited.”
“The summit is expected to deliberate on issues on trade and investment facilitation, sustainable development, innovation, and global governance reform.
“It will also continue its outreach to leaders from Africa and the global South as it focuses on global geopolitics, trade, and infrastructure development.
“Vice President will be accompanied on the trip by some senior government officials and he will return to the country at the end of the week,” the statement added.