The BRICS group of emerging market powers are set to debate how they can reduce their reliance on the dollar at a summit in Johannesburg this week, but officials are downplaying any suggestion that the greenback’s dominant role will diminish any time soon.
(Bloomberg) — The BRICS group of emerging market powers are set to debate how they can reduce their reliance on the dollar at a summit in Johannesburg this week, but officials are downplaying any suggestion that the greenback’s dominant role will diminish any time soon.
“The current debate is how do we finance projects in each of the BRICS member states in their own currencies,” South African Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana told reporters in Pretoria, the capital, on Tuesday. It was premature for South Africa to consider withdrawing from the SWIFT global payment system or limit its dollar usage, he said.
The leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa are also due to discuss how they can increase direct trade in their own currencies and possibly hold tentative talks on introducing their own common unit – an idea that hasn’t gained traction so far. While the dollar’s demise as the world’s reserve currency has been mooted many times in recent years, so far other pretenders have been competing among themselves and there’s no evidence of a structural dollar decline.
Indian Prime Minister Modi Arrives for Leaders Meeting (1:57 p.m.)
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived at an airforce base near Pretoria. He will hold bilateral meetings with some of the leaders, the government said in a statement on Tuesday. Chen Xiaodong, China’s ambassador to South Africa, last week said that he’s “confident” Modi and President Xi Jinping will meet. The Indian leader will also attend the BRICS–Africa Outreach and BRICS Plus Dialogue meetings, according to the statement.
Saudi Foreign Minister to Attend Summit (1 p.m.)
Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud is traveling to South Africa on Tuesday on behalf of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to a statement issued by the state-run Saudi Press Agency. The prince is expected to hold a number of bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the summit with members of participating countries.
The statement didn’t mention Saudi Arabia’s potential membership of BRICS, something which several countries in the bloc have been pushing as part of the expansion discussions.
German Foreign Minister Questions BRICS Accommodation of Putin (12:40 p.m.)
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock questioned how BRICS could accommodate Russian President Vladimir Putin, given his decision to halt grain exports via the Black Sea.
“It’s pointless to have a close cooperation within BRICS with a Russian president who has at the same time bombed the grain deal,” she said, while dismissing the notion that a more assertive BRICS could sow global divisions.
“In these times all nations in the world see the importance of cooperation and partnership,” she told reporters in Berlin. “We support freedom of cooperation and partnership. So all nations of the world are free to choose with whom they want to work. It’s completely right that more countries demand a voice. It can’t only be the big countries of the world who decide how the global international order is designed.”
Ramaphosa, Xi Talk About Ukraine, Food Security, Energy (12:05 p.m.)
Chinese President Xi Jinping is paying a state visit to South Africa ahead of the summit. He and his South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa spoke about issues including Ukraine, the Middle East, infrastructure development and food and energy security, according to a person familiar with their bi-lateral discussions.
BRICS Shows G-7 Can’t Dictate to the World: Brazil Envoy (11:30. a.m.)
The interest shown by so many countries in joining BRICS illustrates the increasing complexity of the world order, said Celso Amorim, Brazil’s ambassador to BRICS and a longtime aide to President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. The bloc’s emerging strength also shows the world can no longer be dictated to by the G7, he told reporters.
South African Deputy President Paul Mashatile denied that BRICS was an anti-Western block. “We are not here to compete with G7,” he said.
Lavrov, Chakwera Arrive for BRICS Gathering (10:30 a.m.)
Leaders from around the developing world have begun arriving in Johannesburg for the 15th annual BRICS summit. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Democratic Republic of Congo Prime Minister Sama Lukonde and Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera were among those to land on Tuesday. Putin isn’t attending so as to avoid an international arrest warrant linked to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
–With assistance from Simone Iglesias, S’thembile Cele, Colleen Goko, Paul Vecchiatto, Ilya Arkhipov and Sudhi Ranjan Sen.
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