Russia Bets on Bigger BRICS for 16th BRICS Summit

The upcoming 16th BRICS+ Summit will be held in Kazan from 22 to 24 October 2024. One of the key items on the agenda appears to be the further expansion of the #BRICS membership.

At this stage, BRICS is looking at the concept of ‘Partner Countries’, as opposed to ‘Member Countries’. The Partner Country will participate actively in certain BRICS activities and initiatives in which it is interested, but will not involved in the ‘decision-making voting’.

So far, it is reported that 33 countries have formally applied for membership to BRICS. This number is in addition to the five countries, notably Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, which were officially admitted in January 2024.

As the exception to the rule, Argentina was approved to join BRICS, but decided to pull out at the last minute, following a regime and policy change.

As for the modalities for choosing the ten new Partner Countries, Russia has put forward a selection process that takes into account the affinities of existing BRICS member states.

Each member country will select its preferred ten countries from the 33 applicants wishing to join. Then, the 10 countries with the most support will get admission.

It is said that the favorite countries to enter BRICS are: Cuba, Kenya, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Thailand, Turkey and Venezuela. However, India has already expressed concerns about Pakistan joining the grouping, citing ‘fears of bilateral issues creeping into the multilateral forum.’

BRICS Foreign Ministers Meeting in Nizhny Novgorod in June 2024
BRICS Foreign Ministers Meeting in Nizhny Novgorod in June 2024

In Johannesburg in 2023, BRICS tasked the foreign ministers to further develop the BRICS Partner Country model. Then, during the BRICS Foreign Ministers meeting in Nizhny Novgorod during June 2024, it was reported that there is ‘considerable interest’ form other emerging markets and developing countries to join #BRICS.

Thus, at the upcoming BRICS Summit in Kazan, Russia plans to make the ‘development of modalities for interaction with BRICS Partner Countries’ as one of the key priorities and top items on the agenda.