BRICS Latest: Bloc Set to Invite Saudi Membership, Agree Rules

BRICS leaders are preparing to invite top oil exporter Saudi Arabia and several other countries to join their bloc in a push to expand its global influence.

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BRICS leaders are preparing to invite top oil exporter Saudi Arabia and several other countries to join their bloc in a push to expand its global influence.  

The leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa agreed to expand the BRICS group at their annual summit being held in Johannesburg this week. It will be the first expansion since 2010. Egypt along with other Middle East nations have been invited to join, although the list was still under discussion late Wednesday, said people familiar with the talks who declined to be named because the discussions are private.

An expansion of the group of emerging market powers could help boost its global heft and counter the dominance of the Group of Seven. China, backed by Russia and South Africa, has been the main driver behind the addition of more members, but India, which is concerned that the bloc could become a mouthpiece for its neighbor, and Brazil have advocated a cautious approach. 

BRICS Agrees Rules Clearing Path for More Members (Aug. 23, 6:09 p.m.)

BRICS leaders edged closer to adding new members to their club for the first time since 2010, after agreeing terms for an enlargement of the group that they hope will lift its clout on the world stage.

“We have a document, which we have adopted, that sets out guidelines and principles, processes for considering countries that wish to become members of BRICS,” South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor told Ubuntu Radio. “The more detailed announcement will be made by the BRICS leaders” before the conclusion of their annual summit in Johannesburg, which ends Thursday, she said

India Backs Expansion, Calls For Space Consortium (Aug. 23, 3:58 p.m.)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave public backing to adding new members to BRICS and Chinese President Xi Jinping called for the process to be accelerated. 

“India fully supports the expansion of BRICS membership and we welcome moving forward on this based on consensus,” Modi said. He also suggested the creation of a BRICS space consortium.

BRICS Bank Aims to Hike Local-Currency Borrowing (Aug. 23, 3:45 p.m.)

New Development Bank, the multilateral lender founded by BRICS, aims to increase the share of funding it raises in local currencies to 30% from less than 20%, Leslie Maasdorp, its chief financial officer, told Bloomberg.

He also said it is struggling to find viable projects to fund as part of its $3 billion pledge for South Africa’s Just Energy Transition initiative, noting that “we need bankable projects that have gone through due diligence processes, and there’s a shortage.”

China to Set up BRICS Science Park, Xi Says (Aug. 23, 12:42 p.m.)

China will set up a science and innovation incubation park for BRICS nations, Xi said in a speech to the summit. He also said the bloc’s members had agreed on quick action to start artificial intelligence study group and expand their cooperation in the field. 

–With assistance from Arijit Ghosh, Li Liu, Khuleko Siwele, Timothy Rangongo, Paul Vecchiatto, Niveditha Ravi and Jing Li.

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