The 15th annual BRICS summit commenced on August 22nd as official representatives from various nations gathered in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Notable figures like South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are present at this significant summit.
The event is anticipated to witness the inclusion of new member countries as more than 40 nations have applied to join.
Russian President Vladimir Putin will participate in the summit through a video conference.
Before departing for South Africa, Modi expressed that the summit provides a platform to address issues relevant to the Global South and other developmental aspects.
The BRICS leaders are set to hold a brief private session and a dinner on Tuesday evening, during which they are expected to deliberate on a framework and standards for admitting new member nations.
In addition to broadening its membership, the coalition is also likely to deliberate on reducing reliance on the US dollar in trade and potentially introducing an alternative currency to challenge the US-dominated global financial system.
“The current focus revolves around how to fund projects within each BRICS member state using their respective currencies,” South African Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana informed reporters in Pretoria on Tuesday.
“South African Vice President Paul Mashatile highlighted that the global attention is now directed towards this group due to the prominence of discussions about diminishing dependency on the dollar,” as conveyed to Bloomberg.
Ahead of the summit’s commencement, Dilma Rousseff, Chief of the BICS New Development Bank (NDB), revealed intentions to initiate lending in the South African and Brazilian currencies, aiming to reduce the global reliance on the US dollar.
“In the coming year, we anticipate lending between $8 billion to $10 billion… Our objective is for approximately 30 percent of our lending to be denominated in local currency,” Rousseff stated in an interview with the Financial Times.
She further explained that the NDB intends to issue debt in the rand currency for lending in South Africa, following a similar approach for Brazil’s real currency. The bank is also exploring options like currency swaps and debt issuance in rupees. Presently, the bank already provides loans in yuan.
Collectively, the BRICS member states represent 40 percent of the global population and nearly one-third of the world’s economy. Recently, the BRICS nations have exceeded the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the US-led G7 when considering purchasing power parity.