BRICS FM Meeting Signals Summit Agenda


The #BRICS Foreign Ministers Meeting took place in Cape Town, South Africa, from 1 to 2 June 2023. The meeting was hosted by Dr (Mrs) Naledi Pandor, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa. Other countries were represented by their respective Foreign Ministers (FM), viz, Messrs Sergey Lavrov for Russia, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar for India and Mauro Viera for Brazil. China only sent the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Ma Zhaoxu, to the event.

Currently, the BRICS makes up 40% of the world population and represents one-third of the global GDP in nominal terms. In PPP terms, the BRICS combined GDP has exceeded that of the G7. On its own, China represents nearly two-thirds of the BRICS GDP.


Having taken part in other multilateral fora such as the UN or G20, the economic champions of the developing world feel that their voices are not sufficiently heard in #GlobalGovernance. The BRICS have thus been pushing for UN reforms to provide better representation from emerging economies. Russia emphasized the necessity to promote a #MultipolarWorld which takes into account a diversity of perspectives and priorities.

In addition, the #GlobalSouth is of the view that the agenda of Multilateral Development Banks (#MDB) are too skewed towards the West and has expressed the legitimate right for a bigger say in these multilateral institutions.

Furthermore, the position of BRICS over the Ukraine-Russia conflict has been more nuanced, in contrast to the outright condemnation of Russia from the Western-led bloc. Thus, BRICS intends to act as a resonating chamber for those who might hold an alternative view on World Affairs.

Friends of BRICS Meet in Cape Town


On 2 June 2023, the Friends of BRICS Meeting took place with a dozen of countries represented, plus the five-member states of BRICS. Initiated in 2009 as an informal group of Emerging Economies, the BRICS is now seen as the representatives of the developing world.

In 2001, the acronym BRIC was coined by Goldman Sachs which forecasted these countries would come to dominate the world economy by 2050. South Africa later joined in 2010 and BRIC became BRICS.

For this edition, Saudi Arabia, Iran, UAE, Cuba, DR Congo, Comoros, Gabon and Kazakhstan sent representatives while Argentina, Bangladesh, Egypt, Guinea-Bissau and Indonesia participated virtually.

Saudi Arabia looks the hot favorite to join the BRICS since this would plug the gap for a representative from the Middle-East or Muslim Word. On that note, Iran and Indonesia are also keen to join the club.


The BRICS have floated the idea of creating its own currency backed by gold to settle trade among BRICS member states. In that regard, the inclusion of Saudi Arabia — which is a major exporter of petroleum and influential member of OPEC — would add greater momentum to #dedollarization.

During a recent visit in China, Brazilian President Lula da Silva underscored that the justification for using the US dollar for international trade is no longer as strong as it once was. Russia is also keen to have an alternative to the US dollar in order to shield itself from economic sanctions based on strict cross-border transfer in the USD.

The BRICS New Development Bank is headquartered in Shanghai and China has been spearheading the shift away from the USD dollar with a flurry of bilateral currency swap agreements. As a matter of fact, Russia has requested India to settle its bill for energy imports from Russia using RMB rather than INR.


As time goes by, the BRICS is graduating into a leadership role for the Global South. By expanding membership, its economic weight would lend it formidable leverage. Therefore, based on the Joint Statement of BRICS Foreign Ministers, it is safe to say that the upcoming BRICS Summit will tend towards a Multipolar World Order where the #GlobalSouth expects to play a greater role in directing world affairs. In line with this lofty aspiration, the theme of the 15th BRICS Summit is “Partnership for Mutually Accelerated Growth, Sustainable Development, and Inclusive Multilateralism.”