In the global context in which the West is once again in tension with Russia and China, the role of the BRICS is relevant again
Photo: Flickr-Alan Santos/PR
Latinamerican Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández
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A few years ago, a new group of emerging economies and powers drew the attention of the planet. The BRICS group, made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, represented the largest concentration of people on the planet, a group rich in raw materials such as oil, gas, agribusiness, technology and nuclear weapons.
However, after the crisis in commodities, the economies of Russia, Brazil, and India were hit hard. This caused the great project that sought to counterbalance the West (especially the United States and the European Union) in world geopolitics to vanish.
However, with the current conflict in Ukraine, the tension between the United States and China over the island of Taiwan, this group is once again relevant and has the intention to generate a world system that can counterbalance Western economies.
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The BRICS group today is equivalent to more than 39 million square kilometers (26.7% of the planet's area), about 3 thousand 210 million people (41.5% of the world population). China, Brazil, Russia, and India are part of the 10 countries with the largest population, area, and Gross Domestic Product. A true giant compared to the current hegemonic powers that can be the United States, the European Union and Japan.
Why Is it Coming Back with a Bang?
In addition to the obvious clashes between the world superpowers of the United States and China over the visit of Nancy Pelosi (speaker of the US House of Representatives) to the island of Taiwan; and the war in Ukraine that pits NATO countries against Russia; There are other factors that demonstrate the return of this important group.
In the first place, it is evident for its members, such as Russia and China, the need for an international system that allows them to act without suffering the sanctions that they face today, especially for Russia. The exclusion of Russia from the Swift system, necessary for payment with credit cards, is an example of how dependent the new powers still are on systems created by the West. These 2 countries have expansionist interests (they have been demonstrating it) and should try to reduce the risk of sanctions as much as possible if their interests do not change.
Likewise, one of its most significant and popular founders will possibly return to the BRICS: Lula da Silva, former president of Brazil. The Brazilian today is the favorite in the next presidential elections in the South American country, and this can once again give an impetus to integration that it had when Lula was one of its members.
The BRICS have already been working on a series of projects to create institutions parallel to the traditional ones and that can strengthen the group's influence in the world. For example, the new Development Bank, a BRICS payment system or a BRICS reserve fund, which was announced in 2022.
One of the most important facts that highlight the growing relevance of the BRICS, is the possible new income. For some time now, there has been speculation about the entry of relevant countries. The group is in the process of including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. This will reaffirm the influence of emerging powers, but also includes countries with large populations (Egypt and Turkey) and great wealth (Saudi Arabia). Similarly, there has been speculation about the intention of entering Iran, a country with a quarter of the oil reserves in the Middle East and the second-largest gas reserves in the world.
It is evident that after its official foundation in 2009, the BRICS were losing relevance as a group. Although China, Russia, and India grew in individual influence, the group did not fully consolidate. But, given a hostile outlook for several of its members, strengthening this type of initiative is once again gaining interest and can be strategic for the future development plans of its members.