Bangladesh has formally expressed its interest in joining the BRICS coalition, consisting of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. The request was made following a meeting between Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and South African President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa in Geneva last Wednesday. During their discussion, the South African president showed a positive response to the request.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen confirmed that Bangladesh has sent a formal letter of interest to the current chair of BRICS, South Africa’s Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor. The upcoming BRICS summit, scheduled to be held in South Africa this August, may include discussions regarding new membership. Currently recognized as a “Friend of BRICS,” Bangladesh participated in the Friends of BRICS Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on Friday.
Bangladesh’s interest in joining BRICS is driven by its desire to create a new global order that counters the dominance of the United States and its currency, the dollar. The country aims to join the coalition and embrace the new BRICS currency for settling international trade. Such a development could put pressure on the U.S. dollar, impacting its supply and demand dynamics in global markets.
The BRICS coalition, representing nearly one-fifth of the world’s economy, has emerged as a powerful alternative voice to the West. The five member countries collectively contribute around 16% to world trade and approximately 24% to global GDP. BRICS, standing for Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, is actively considering its first expansion in over a decade. The goal is to further solidify its position as a representative of the Global South and provide an alternative model to the developed economies of the Group of Seven (G7) nations.
The Group of Seven (G7) has been losing influence, paving the way for the rise of the Group of Twenty (G20) and BRICS. Brazil’s Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira highlighted this shift, stating that it is impossible to overlook the importance of G20 and BRICS in international cooperation and negotiations.
According to Anil Sooklal, South Africa’s ambassador to BRICS, over 20 countries have applied for BRICS membership. China initially proposed the expansion during its chairmanship in 2022, aiming to increase representation from countries in Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, and Asia. Countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Nigeria, Mexico, Iran, Indonesia, and Turkey have shown interest in joining the bloc.
The growing interest in BRICS membership reflects the confidence of the Global South in the coalition’s leadership. Amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the relevance of BRICS has increased, particularly for countries in the Global South. These nations seek to challenge the “autocracy vs democracy” narrative propagated by the West.
Bangladesh’s potential inclusion in BRICS could have implications for the bilateral relations between India and Bangladesh. BRICS, as a significant bloc of emerging economies, focuses on economic cooperation and development. The entry of Bangladesh would further diversify and strengthen the coalition’s influence on the global stage.
As discussions regarding BRICS expansion continue, the world watches to see how this influential coalition will shape the future of global governance and provide an alternative vision for international cooperation and economic growth.