At its recent meeting in South Africa, the BRICS group of big and emerging economies, comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, announced that six new members would be admitted next year into the organisation. This will expectedly reshape the world economic order.
The six nations that will be joining the group from the beginning of next year are Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Argentina, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Ethiopia. Unfortunately, Nigeria is not among the countries to be admitted into the fold. This is, indeed, a big loss to the nation.
BRICS, which was formed in 2009 with Brazil, Russia, India and China, first expanded its membership by admitting South Africa in 2010. In inviting new members, the bloc seeks to grow a stronger coalition of developing nations to redirect the development narrative from the prism of the global North to the South. It aims at fostering global economic governance reform while enhancing the representation and the voice of emerging economies or developing countries in world affairs.
OKAccording to South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, BRICS is committed to inclusive multilateralism and upholding of international law, including the purposes and principles enshrined in the UN Charter. Its vision is to serve as a champion of the needs of the Global South, including the need for beneficial economic growth, sustainable development and the reform of the multilateral systems.
Collectively, BRICS encompasses nearly 30 per cent of the world’s landmass, approximately 27 per cent of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and about 20 per cent of global trade. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), BRICS has evolved into one of the world’s most critical economic blocs, representing over a quarter of the global GDP and 42 per cent of the world’s population.
Due largely to its growing influence in global economic reckoning, more than 40 countries had expressed interest to join BRICS. About 23 countries applied to join the group before its recent summit in South Africa.
Out of the lot, only six were given favourable consideration. A declaration from the body on the successful applicants indicated that “six were selected after BRICS countries reached consensus on the guiding principles, standards, criteria and procedures of the BRICS expansion process” but did not provide more details.
The expectation was that Nigeria would be among the countries to be admitted in January 2024. However, it did not materialise. Nevertheless, it will be good if Nigeria becomes a member of the group. Apart from the gains of participating in multilateral forum, the membership of the body would accord Nigeria an opportunity to enhance its bilateral trade with other states in the forum.
Nigerian leaders should endeavour to become a member of the organisation so that we can benefit from the emerging world order. The era of neutrality or unduly leaning towards the West is over. Being a member of the BRICS will enable Nigeria gain access to loans and other technical assistance from member states.
Four members of the group – Brazil, Russia, India, and China are among the world’s ten largest countries by population, area, and GDP. Russia, China and India are widely considered as emerging superpowers. All the five states are members of the G20 and command substantial share of the world’s GDP and trading activities. These are opportunities Nigeria should seize to advance its technological development and economic growth.
There are other gains the country will reap from belonging to the bloc. Most of the member states share similar historical and economic experiences with Nigeria but have been able to rise from their earlier drawbacks to their current status. China has successfully transited from a third world status to a leading nation in the first world. India and South Africa are on the march to global acclaim.
It is sad that Nigeria is not among the prospective entrants to the organisation. Our membership of the BRICS will help us to effectively tackle corruption, underdevelopment and leadership challenges. The earlier these challenges are tackled, the better for the country. Nigeria’s non-membership of the BRICS underscores its dwindling status in international affairs. Above all, there is need to rejig the country’s foreign policy in line with its interests.
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