What are the key facts about the BRICS 2023 summit?
File photo of flags of BRICS member countries including Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. /CFP
File photo of flags of BRICS member countries including Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. /CFP

File photo of flags of BRICS member countries including Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. /CFP

BRICS, an emerging market group that includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, represents approximately 40 percent of the global population and accounts for about 26 percent of the global economy. It will hold its 15th annual gathering, the BRICS 2023 summit, next week.

As an important platform for cooperation among emerging markets and developing countries, BRICS is committed to upholding multilateralism, reforming the global governance system, and increasing the representation and voice of emerging markets and developing countries.

Here are some key facts about the summit.

Where and when is the summit?

The 15th BRICS summit is scheduled to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, from August 22 to 24. This will mark the first in-person BRICS summit since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out. 

Taking over the BRICS rotating presidency from China on January 1, 2023, South Africa has announced that it will host the summit under the theme "BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Mutually Accelerated Growth, Sustainable Development, and Inclusive Multilateralism."

During the summit, events such as the BRICS Business Forum, the BRICS Leaders Retreat, and the 15th BRICS Summit Plenary will be hosted.

Who will attend the summit?

Leaders of the five BRICS countries are expected to attend the summit. However, Russian President Vladimir Putin will not be attending the BRICS summit in person this year, according to South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Russia will be represented by its Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, as announced by Ramaphosa on the presidency's website.

Invitations to attend the summit were also extended to 67 leaders from Africa and the Global South, South Africa's Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor said on August 1 while briefing the media about the country's preparations for the summit.

Pandor noted that the leaders invited to attend the summit cover all the continents and regions of the Global South.

In addition, 20 dignitaries, including the secretary-general of the United Nations and the chairman of the African Union Commission, have also been invited to attend the summit.

What are the key issues to be discussed? 

One of the most important topics that leaders are expected to discuss is the expansion of the bloc's membership, as more countries express eagerness to join BRICS.

According to the government of South Africa, more than 40 countries have expressed interest in joining BRICS. So far, over 20 countries have formally applied to become new BRICS members, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Argentina, Indonesia, Egypt and Ethiopia.

Besides, BRICS leaders are expected to discuss opportunities for realizing the full potential of BRICS for inclusive global economic recovery and sustainable development and strengthening each other.

African matters will also be discussed at the upcoming BRICS summit. South Africa said it's going to the summit with the aim of bringing Africa's agenda to the fore and having a strong conversation on African issues.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said on August 2 that he has high expectations for the 15th BRICS Summit.

"At this meeting, we could possibly decide by consensus which new countries will be able to join the BRICS. I consider it extremely important to allow other countries that meet the BRICS requirements to join the group," Lula said.

Wang Youming, director of the department for developing countries studies at the China Institute of International Studies, told CGTN that "The expansion of the BRICS group has become a consensus. So far, over 40 countries have applied to join BRICS, indicating that the influence, attractiveness and appeal of BRICS are growing day by day." 

Many countries want to join the BRICS system, as it can help establish an international power system commensurate with their economic size and break the imbalance in the current global governance system, Wang said.

"Different from the exclusive club, the Group of Seven, or the G7, the BRICS spirit features mutual respect and understanding, equality, solidarity, openness, inclusiveness, and consensus, which is also one of the reasons many countries want to join the mechanism," he said.

Additionally, the expert pointed out that building stronger solidarity and deeper economic cooperation, including the establishment of an independent global financial and payment system, will be on the agenda of the BRICS nations.

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