BRICS aims to advance Global South interests, not compete with West

The BRICS group of emerging market powers aims to promote the interests of the developing world and isn’t in competition with any other bloc, a top South African diplomat said.

“There’s an unfortunate narrative being developed that BRICS is anti-West, that BRICS was created as competition to the G7 or the Global North”, and that is incorrect, Anil Sooklal, South Africa’s ambassador to BRICS, said at a conference at Bloomberg’s Johannesburg office on Monday.

“What we do seek is to advance the agenda of the Global South and to build a more inclusive, representative, just, fair global architecture.”

BRICS, which comprises Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, is scheduled to host its annual summit next week in Johannesburg, where leaders will discuss whether to admit more nations to its ranks.

Forty heads of state and government have confirmed their attendance, and that number could rise to about 50, Sooklal said.

Sooklal’s comments follow those made by minister Naledi Pandor.

“I don’t think we see BRICS as being pro-Russia or anti-Western. I think that would be extremely wrong,” South Africa’s Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor said.

“We have said many times before that South Africa’s trading partners in the West are very important to South Africa’s economic progress,” she told journalists at an online briefing Monday.

Africa’s most industrialized nation’s biggest trading partners are China and the US. It’s faced pressure from the latter to stop using Huawei in its mobile networks as Washington’s fight to suppress China’s technology ambitions escalates. The US has also criticized South Africa over its non-aligned stance toward Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Heads of state from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa will set out strict criteria for who will be allowed to join the bloc when they meet Aug. 22-24, Pandor said.

Twenty-two nations have asked formally to become full-time members of the group, and more than 20 others have submitted informal requests.


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