Nigeria among three dozen countries clamoring to join BRICS group - South Africa says as PUTIN's Russia takes up leadership

Thursday, February 1, 2024
 – Nearly three dozen countries, Nigeria inclusive are seeking entry into the China and Russia-backed BRICS economic group, member state South Africa said on Wednesday, January 31, weeks after the body expanded its membership for the first time in more than a decade.

“Thirty-four countries have submitted an expression of interest in joining the bloc of major emerging economies,” South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor told reporters.

Russia was accepting those applications after assuming the rotating chairmanship of the group this year and will be the first member to oversee the body since it added Iran, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Ethiopia, Iran and Egypt formally.

The growing membership is widely viewed as a win for China and Russia, which have sought to reshape an international system they see as unfairly dominated by the United States amid growing frictions with the West.

BRICS, which since 2011 had been made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, roughly positions itself as the Global South’s answer to the Group of Seven (G7) major developed economies.

The expansion and continued interest from dozens more countries are also a boon for Russia, which has been ostracized economically and diplomatically by the West following its invasion of Ukraine.

Russia’s position as chair will be a key opportunity for Putin to push back against that isolation and portray himself as a key player on a broad diplomatic stage, as world leaders typically travel to the host nation for an annual summit.

Last year, all member state leaders besides Putin gathered in person in Johannesburg. The Russian president, who has an International Criminal Court warrant out for his arrest linked to alleged war crimes in Ukraine, participated virtually.

This year’s event is expected to take place in October in the southwestern Russian city of Kazan.

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