BRICS+ after the 2023 “Expansion Summit”

After the 2023 BRICS “expansion summit” in South Africa one of the trends observed within the business circles of the bloc is that BRICS+ is starting to be perceived as a potential platform for international cooperation and for sectoral alliances among members and partners from the Global South. One of such tracks is the environmental agenda, with representatives of companies such as Sberbank and VEB advancing initiatives during the COP28 conference in Dubai to build BRICS+ platforms for policy coordination and financing of the environmental development goals. As stated by Russia’s First Deputy Economy Minister Ilya Torosov in an interview to Bloomberg at the COP28 conference, Russia’s “task is to combine efforts and common approaches in the Eurasian space and in the BRICS space” when it comes to the climate agenda[1].

As regards sectoral alliances, one of the recent initiatives came from Russia’s Union of Grain Exporters – according to the head of the sectoral association, Eduard Zernin, after the expansion in BRICS membership the grouping’s share in global grain production and consumption has grown to such an extent that there could be scope to form a grain market platform with settlements in BRICS national currencies[2]. Apart from Russia being the largest exporter of grain in the world, the newly acceded BRICS member Egypt is among the largest importers of wheat – overall according to the estimates of the Union of Grain Exporters, the share of wheat production and consumption within the expanded BRICS bloc accounts for 44% and 40% of global levels respectively[3].

Going forward, these trends directed at building new sectoral platforms on the basis of the BRICS+ grouping may continue (we noted the likelihood of this trend picking up pace in the beginning of 2023[4]). In fact, this may be one of the key rationales of BRICS+ platforms of economic cooperation: to enable developing economies to secure dividends from their substantial share in the global resource wealth. Apart from pursuing sectoral alliances, BRICS requires a bold trade liberalization agenda that benefits developing economies. Such an agenda could lay the foundation for the progression of the BRICS+ platform along various paths, including the “integration of integrations” strategy among regional integration blocs that include BRICS nations as members. In this vein, BRICS should evolve into a broad and transparent platform in the global economy, laying the groundwork for a revitalized and more sustainable approach to globalization. Over time, the existing BRICS and BRICS+ frameworks could be augmented by a BRICS++ format that would potentially welcome the involvement of developed economies, regional blocs, their respective development banks as well as the Bretton Woods institutions.

For more on the development trajectories for BRICS+ please see our latest publication in the journal “Pathways to Peace and Security”:

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