The BRICS group of emerging economies, composed of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, is attracting more interest from other developing countries who want to join the bloc and benefit from its alternative development financing and political cooperation.
There are 12 countries interested in joining the initiative. The most willing countries specifically, namely Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Algeria, Argentina, Mexico and Nigeria. Other sources have also named Iran, Turkey, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Zimbabwe as potential candidates.
The BRICS countries have been holding annual summits since 2009 to discuss their common interests and challenges in the global arena. They have also established the New Development Bank and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement as alternatives to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, which are seen as dominated by Western powers.
The BRICS bloc represents about 41.5% of the global population and 32.5% of the global GDP (PPP). It is considered a geopolitical rival to the G7 group of advanced economies, which includes Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Japan, Canada and the US.
The BRICS enlargement process is expected to be discussed at the next summit in Cape Town on June 2-3. The foreign ministers from the five member states have confirmed their attendance. The expansion of the group could enhance its influence and legitimacy in international affairs, but also pose challenges for its cohesion and coordination.