The world’s attention has been captivated by the 15th summit of BRICS, an assembly that stands as a beacon of change on the global stage. Comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa as its founding members, BRICS has extended its reach beyond its core to include six other nations from Africa, Asia, and South America.
This inclusion marks a pivotal moment in the group’s evolution and sets the stage for a transformative shift in the geopolitical landscape.
What truly amplifies the significance of this summit is the announcement that the Argentine Republic, the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates are set to become full-fledged members of BRICS from January 1, 2024.
This expansion bolsters the coalition’s economic prowess and elevates its diplomatic influence.
Collectively commanding an astonishing 32 per cent of the global GDP and representing 40 per cent of the global population, BRICS has undoubtedly emerged as a formidable alternative to Western-led forums.
Over the years, the voice of the Global South has been stifled by the dominance of Western-centric institutions like the Bretton Woods Institutions. Including a more diverse array of nations in BRICS offers these regions a platform to assert their interests and concerns in a manner that hasn’t been seen before.
One of the most intriguing aspects of this summit is the reported interest of 15 countries in becoming members of the BRICS Bank, based in Shanghai. This institution could rival Western-influenced financial bodies such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.
This move signifies an economic shift and a step towards de-dollarisation, challenging the long-standing dominance of the US dollar as the global reserve currency.
A fundamental shift
The momentum that BRICS currently enjoys, with stalwart members like Russia and China, cannot be ignored by the Western powers. If they intend to counter this growing influence effectively, it necessitates a fundamental shift in their approach to international relations.
The tactics of acting as a global police force and assuming the role of moral arbiters need to be rethought. Economic issues should take precedence over the export of social and cultural norms, and a spirit of partnership and equality must replace the previous hierarchies.
The invited presence of President Samia Suluhu Hassan at the summit adds a unique dimension. While Tanzania has not yet pursued official membership in BRICS, it is high time that serious considerations are made.
The country’s foreign policy, economic experts, and security analysts should meticulously assess the potential benefits and drawbacks of becoming a BRICS member. If the evaluation deems BRICS a viable and advantageous alternative to the current global order, Tanzania should expeditiously strive for membership.
Tanzania’s diplomatic representatives in BRICS nations should prioritise forging stronger economic and security ties. Tanzania already boasts robust historical and economic connections with China, India, and South Africa, thereby making establishing similar bonds with Brazil and Russia a matter of replication rather than initiation.
Joining the BRICS coalition can offer a range of potential benefits for a country, as demonstrated by the growing interest in membership from various nations. While each nation’s context may differ, several common advantages come with aligning with this influential group.
For instance, joining BRICS can provide access to an expanded market for trade and investment, fostering economic development and growth. Participation in the group’s economic initiatives, such as the BRICS New Development Bank, can offer funding for infrastructure and development projects.
Being a part of BRICS also opens doors to an extensive network of trade partners. The combined economic clout of member states can lead to better negotiation positions in trade agreements and a stronger voice in international economic forums.
BRICS nations are gaining prominence in global affairs, offering an alternative voice to the traditionally dominant Western powers. Membership provides a platform to address common concerns and advocate for shared interests internationally. This influence can contribute to shaping global policies and norms.
Joining BRICS also allows a nation to diversify its diplomatic and strategic alliances. This diversification can reduce dependency on a single superpower and provide a more balanced approach to foreign relations.
BRICS countries collectively possess a wealth of technological and scientific expertise across various sectors. Membership facilitates the exchange of knowledge, expertise, and technology, fostering innovation and advancing industrial capabilities.
Many BRICS nations also are rich in natural resources and energy reserves. Collaborative efforts within the coalition can lead to resource sharing, joint projects, and enhanced energy security.
BRICS allows member states to collaborate on global challenges such as climate change, public health crises, and poverty eradication. Shared solutions and coordinated efforts can have a greater impact on addressing these complex issues.
Other advantages lie in cultural and educational exchanges, currency cooperation, increased investment flows, and opportunities for knowledge-sharing and capacity-building initiatives, particularly in healthcare, agriculture, and sustainable development.
While there are clear benefits to joining BRICS, it’s essential to acknowledge that each nation’s decision to become a member should be based on a thorough evaluation of its national interests, priorities, and the potential challenges associated with membership.
Nonetheless, the collective strength and influence of BRICS make it an attractive platform for countries seeking to enhance their global standing and contribute to reshaping the world order.
A defining moment
In conclusion, the 15th BRICS summit marks a defining moment in global geopolitics. The membership expansion and the group’s growing economic clout underscore its potential to reshape international dynamics.
The dominance of Western-led institutions is being challenged, forcing Western nations to recalibrate their international strategies.
As the world watches this transformation unfold, nations like Tanzania stand at a crossroads with the opportunity to embrace a new global cooperation and influence vision. The journey may be complex, but the BRICS summit paves the way for a more multipolar world.
Thomas Joel Kibwana is an international relations and business development expert. He is available at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter as @tkibwana. These are the writer’s own opinions and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoints of The Chanzo. Do you want to publish in this space? Contact our editors at email@example.com for further inquiries.