SA welcomes Brazil’s President ahead of BRICS Summit

International Relations and Cooperation Minister, Naledi Pandor, has welcomed Brazil’s President, Lula da Silva, into the country for the historic 15th BRICS Summit, starting in Sandton, Johannesburg.

Heads of States and Government from BRICS nations, with the exception of Russian President Vladimir Putin are set to attend the summit from Tuesday.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has confirmed South Africa’s readiness to host the BRICS nations – Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

It will be the first BRICS Summit to be hosted in person since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent global restrictions.

Pandor says SA has a lot to learn from Brazil: “We are very glad to see the arrivals, and we will be busy for the next two days receiving leaders from various parts of the world. Brazil is a strong country in terms of being a regional power, but also a country that has rapidly modernised and grown its economy, and diversified its economy. So there are lessons for SA to learn from Brazil, both in terms of the response to socio-economic challenges, but also in ensuring broader growth in the country.”

Brazil, Russia, India, and China stand as the founding members of the BRICS group. South Africa, the smallest member, both in terms of economic influence and population, was the first to join the bloc in 2010 when it expanded from the BRIC group.

Collectively, these nations account for more than 40% of the global population and contribute a quarter of the world’s economy.

Beyond geopolitical matters, the BRICS group concentrates on fostering economic cooperation and enhancing multilateral trade and development. The group’s decisions are made through consensus, and all BRICS nations are also part of the Group of 20 (G20), a coalition of major global economies.

Countries interested in BRICS

The appeal of BRICS has prompted interest from more than 40 countries, including Iran, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Argentina, Algeria, Bolivia, Indonesia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Cuba, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Comoros, Gabon, and Kazakhstan, according to South Africa, the chair of the 2023 summit. These nations view BRICS as an attractive alternative to global organizations often perceived as dominated by traditional Western powers. They aspire to gain membership in BRICS with the hope of accessing benefits such as development finance and increased trade and investment opportunities. This interest underscores the growing recognition of BRICS as a platform for emerging economies to assert their influence on the world stage. -Additional reporting by Reuters 

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