Kremlin boss Vladimir Putin will not attend the summit “by mutual consent”, according to host South Africa. The Russian president’s visit could be problematic as South Africa should have arrested him upon arrival according to an arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in March – South Africa is a state party to the ICC. At the same time, South Africa is Russia’s most important ally in Africa.
Putin will participate in the summit via video link. On the other hand, Chinese President Xi Jinping will personally visit. Besides Xi Jinping, Brazilian leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will also participate as hosts.
The BRICS summit aims to strengthen the loose association of countries such as Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – which together account for 42 percent of the world’s population and 24 percent of global economic output. Several countries from Africa, Latin America and the Arab world are to be accepted as new members.
Prior to the summit, South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor said, “We have received official expressions of interest from 23 heads of state and government that wish to join BRICS.” In addition, “further informal inquiries about membership prospects” are being made. Overall, more than 40 countries have expressed their interest in BRICS membership.
It is still unclear which countries can actually be expected to enter BRICS in the near future. Opinions differ on this question within the confederation of states. On the other hand, BRICS countries are united in their rejection of a world order that they believe serves the interests of the United States and its wealthy Western allies. The BRICS countries also see themselves as a counterweight to Western alliances – so they aim to strengthen their influence on world events.
At the same time, Brazil, India and South Africa are demanding more weight from international organizations such as the United Nations and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). As a counterweight to the World Bank and the World Trade Organization (WTO), the BRICS countries established their own development bank, the New Development Bank, in 2014.