The BRICS grouping, which currently includes five countries, could soon have new members. Several African countries have applied.
Prior to 2011, the BRIC grouping did not include any African country. Only the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India and China met to try to defend their common interests. After the integration of South Africa, the BRICs became the BRICS. Several letters could now be added to this acronym. Indeed, several countries have – officially or unofficially – asked to join the movement.
It was the South African ambassador to the BRICS, Anil Sooklal, who confirmed on Monday that thirteen countries had officially submitted applications for membership. The diplomat adds that six other countries have also applied “informally”.
It is difficult today to know the exact list of these countries. Anil Sooklal, however, gave some leads: he indeed indicated that Saudi Arabia and Iran had both filed official requests. Argentina, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain or even Indonesia would also be interested in integrating into the BRICS.
An inevitable Algerian integration?
On the African side, it is difficult to imagine that Algeria has not also taken the necessary steps. In June 2022, thirteen countries, in addition to the five member countries, participated in the 14th BRICS Summit, including Algeria. First Head of State invited to speak, President Tebboune then recalled “the imperative to ensure the establishment of a new economic order where parity and equity between countries will reign”. In 2018, the Algerian expert in international relations, and director of the National School of Political Science (ENS), Mustapha Saïdj, estimated that Algeria would join the BRICS grouping before 2030. This could ultimately be faster.
But Algiers is far from being the only African candidate to hope to join the BRICS. Egypt could also join the grouping. Abdel Fattah al-Sissi had also been invited to the 14th BRICS Summit. His country has made a request, according to Anil Sooklal. The diplomat clarified, without saying their names, that two East African countries and one West African country also want to join the BRICS.
Three sub-Saharan countries in the running
Which countries are these? Senegalese President Macky Sall had, like his Egyptian and Algerian counterparts, been invited to the June 2022 summit. But Senegal's candidacy has not been confirmed or denied. The Central African Republic could also be on the starting blocks. Recently, a BRICS delegation visited the Central African Republic to try to forge economic partnerships.
Anyway, we will have to wait before knowing which countries will join the BRICS. The expansion of the organization will be discussed at the next BRICS Summit next June in South Africa. What, in any case, to stir up the fears of the G7. The BRICS organization has become, this year, more powerful than the G7, with 31,5% of world GDP against 30,7% for the G7.