by Tate Hutchinson
The 15th annual BRICS summit concluded Thursday in Johannesburg, with growing prospects for the organization’s influence and separation from the dominance of the United States. This powerful economic coalition seeks to represent the goals of the Global South, until now comprised of the administrations of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Over three days, global leaders met to resolve political conflicts, voice issues, and work to benefit their growing economies.
The most significant takeaway from the summit is the imminent expansion of the BRICS economic bloc. Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates have been extended invitations to join the group as soon as January 1, 2024. This new wave includes three of the most considerable OPEC nations, two major African powers, and the second-largest economy in South America.
If this full expansion were to go into place, the combined economic forces of these nations would total up to nearly $30.9 trillion based on IMF estimates in 2023, which would comprise over 29% of global GDP. Member states believe that these growing economies will be able to support and benefit from BRICS membership.
With this growing economic power, BRICS is seeking to overpower American sociopolitical influence. Since the end of World War II, the United States Dollar has been the primary currency for international trade, but there is a growing discontent for its dominance among many countries. China’s concern over United States tariffs and Russia’s impasse with NATO has pushed this resentment to the forefront of BRICS talks. And discussions from the summit indicate that BRICS is pushing for their own currency to compete with the dollar.
Although there may not be direct action yet, the cooperation and growing influence of these nations together raises many questions on how the US may choose to respond.