BRICS Expansion Bid: New Members Aim to Revamp International Order
The BRICS group, which includes Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, is seeking to admit new members, including Saudi Arabia, as it seeks to establish a larger voice in the international arena.
The group presented itself as a force for a "rebalancing" of the global order away from Western-dominated institutions.
At a two-day conference in Cape Town, foreign ministers from member countries met to discuss partnership for mutually accelerated growth, sustainable development, and inclusive multilateralism.
Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Iran, Cuba, DRC, Comoros, Gabon, and Kazakhstan sent representatives to the conference, and Russia, China, and other countries have expressed interest in joining.
Tunisia, which is facing an economic crisis, has rejected an IMF loan that was contingent on cutting energy and food subsidies and reducing the public wage bill.
President Kais Saied has said that Tunisia will not "count on themselves." The BRICS bloc is a political club rather than an economic grouping, with some economists questioning its ability to offer an alternative to the IMF and World Bank.
Tunisia and other countries are considering joining the bloc, but few commentators offer a defense of BRICS as a new economic bloc.
The addition of new member countries could weaken the bloc financially and make it less dominant in North Africa.
The BRICS bloc, which includes Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, is seen as a potential counterweight to European and US dominance in the world.
However, there is a debate among experts about its potential as an alternative economic and political bloc, with some arguing that it lacks a foundational ideology and is held together by a tension between India and China.
Some also question whether the world needs another economic bloc, with one expert arguing that focus should be on strengthening every economy rather than acting in collectives.
While the BRICS bloc could potentially gain new levels of financial and diplomatic clout with the inclusion of countries like Saudi Arabia, its value would still depend on its make-up and intentions.