The 14th June 23-24 BRICS summit was attended by leaders of Algeria, Argentina, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Cambodia, Malaysia, Senegal, Thailand, Uzbekistan, Fiji & Ethiopia. All these nations seek to develop a multipolar order based on principles of equality, justice and respect for each other. They are seeking to protect global trade and finance from barriers and various types of politically motivated restrictions and sanctions. The expansion of the BRICS into the BRCIS+ format will eventually include nations across all of the Global South namely Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.
The BRICS countries are exploring opportunities to establish a new reserve currency to better serve their economic interests. This is expected to be based on a basket of the currencies of the five-nation bloc. During the 14th BRICS Summit in June, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa plan to issue a global reserve currency and member states are studying mechanisms to exchange financial information to develop a reliable alternative for international payments. BRICS plans to build a joint financial infrastructure that will enable a reserve currency to be created to reduce reliance on the dollar and euro.
The BRICS+ initiative has grown rapidly during 2022, not least due to the actions of the US and its allies in seeking to exclude Russian Banks and Russia’s central bank from SWIFT. Already this year, approximately 12 nations have applied for membership including Iran, Argentina, and Algeria who have formally applied, while Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Egypt and other nations are seeking to fast track membership. Other African, Middle Eastern and Asian nations have also actively expressed interest in joining.
The BRICS nations alone account for 40% of the global population, 25% of global GDP, 30% of the global land mass and around 20% of global trade. In the context of the BRICS nations and by extension nations seeking to join the BRICS+ initiative, collectively they possess enormous levels of natural resources, including all fossil fuels, precious metals, rare earths, minerals, hard and soft commodities to include agriculture. When we assess the future expansion of BRICS+ it is likely to control well over half of oil and gas reserves and have a GDP well in excess of the US, whose GDP is massively overstated anyway.
The plan was always to integrate the original BRICS and BRICS+ format with other multilateral institutions, namely China’s BRI (Belt and Road Initiative), EAEU (Eurasian Economic Union), CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organisation), SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation), ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, ADC, COMESA and EAC trade blocs making up the AFTZ (Africa Free Trade Zone).
Suddenly the integration of the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) and Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) with China’s CIPS and Russia’s MIR along with a myriad of other financial institutions in the Global South begins to take on the dimensions of something which will dwarf the existing Western-led international order.