Why BRICS+ is Important to Reshaping Global Dynamics and Economic Influence?

As the global geopolitical landscape undergoes a seismic shift at the dawn of 2024, the importance of the BRICS alliance takes center stage. Originally comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, BRICS has evolved into BRICS+, welcoming Ethiopia, Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates into its fold. This expansion, now encompassing ten nations, marks a significant stride towards a more diverse and inclusive transnational association, heralding a new era in global power dynamics.

Situated in the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia, with its 107.5 million inhabitants, has emerged as the most populous landlocked Mediterranean state. Despite economic challenges, Ethiopia’s rapid development and substantial agricultural contributions, constituting 41% of its GDP, position it as a geostrategic heavyweight in Africa. Its role in shaping regional dynamics is enhanced by being home to the largest water resources on the continent and being Africa’s leading coffee producer and the second-largest producer of corn, making it an agricultural powerhouse.

Egypt, with a population of 104.5 million, straddles northeast Africa and the Sinai Peninsula, emerging as a pivotal player in North Africa, the Mediterranean Sea, the Islamic world, and the Red Sea. Boasting a rich cultural heritage and the most powerful military force in Africa, Egypt’s control of the strategic Suez Canal extends its influence far beyond its borders. Vast natural gas reserves further solidify its position as a key player in the global energy market.

Iran, with a population of 88.5 million, occupies a key position in Southwest Asia. Renowned as a major regional power, its influence in global energy policies stems from vast oil and natural gas reserves, ranking eighth globally in oil production in 2022. Beyond energy, Iran boasts robust armed forces and a substantial scientific community, strategically positioned in areas like the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf.

A dominant presence on the Arabian Peninsula, Saudi Arabia, with a population of 32.2 million, stands as a global economic force. With an economy heavily reliant on oil, accounting for 75% of budget revenues and 90% of exports, Saudi Arabia was the world’s second-largest oil producer in 2022. Despite economic diversification efforts, oil remains a cornerstone, and its impressive economic growth of 8.7% in 2022 solidifies its status among the world’s economic powerhouses.

Comprising seven emirates, the UAE stands as a prosperous federal state at the southeastern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, with a population of 9.3 million. Wealth emanates from oil and natural gas deposits, but economic diversification into sectors like tourism, real estate, construction, and manufacturing has sustained growth. The UAE’s success lies in balancing oil and non-oil sectors, ensuring resilience amid global uncertainties.

Both Saudi Arabia and the UAE have demonstrated robust economic growth, raising concerns in Western countries. Saudi Arabia’s remarkable 8.7% growth in 2022, the highest among the world’s 20 largest economies, underscores its economic resilience. Conversely, the UAE’s 3.4% growth in 2023, with a strong non-oil sector performance, signals the success of its economic diversification initiatives.

With the inclusion of these five nations, the BRICS+ alliance now represents 45% of the world’s population, totaling approximately 3.5 billion people. Spanning a third of the Earth’s solid surface, the group commands 44% of global oil production and nearly one-third of the global GDP, amounting to approximately $29 trillion in purchasing power parity terms. This surpasses the economic might of the G7, signaling a monumental shift in global economic influence.

The BRICS+ nations have been proactive in challenging the dominance of the US dollar in international trade. Since 2014, they established the New Development Bank (NDB), steering away from traditional financial institutions. Moreover, a significant portion of their trade is conducted in national currencies, reducing reliance on the dollar. Discussions on a common currency, albeit slowed by Indian objections, are indicative of their commitment to reshaping the international financial landscape.

The upcoming BRICS+ summit in October 2024 in Kazan, Russia, holds the promise of further expansion. Energy giants may join the alliance, potentially increasing its control of the global energy market from 40% to an even higher percentage. This expansion will likely amplify the influence of the BRICS+ countries, consolidating their position as key players in the world’s economic and geopolitical arenas.

The expansion of the BRICS+ group has triggered waves of concern in Western countries, particularly the United States. The fear of losing global leadership has prompted knee-jerk reactions as these nations grapple with the shifting geopolitical tides. The emergence of BRICS+ signifies a historical milestone, paving the way for a new intercontinental world order-one that is polycentric and reflective of a more diverse, inclusive, and multipolar global landscape.

The success and influence of BRICS+ have attracted the attention of at least thirty other developing nations keen on joining the alliance. Countries like Algeria, Congo, Bolivia, Venezuela, Indonesia, and Kazakhstan, despite not being economically affluent, possess vast mineral wealth. Eager to break free from the dominance of Western multinational corporations and the dollar, these nations see BRICS+ as a pathway to greater autonomy and economic sovereignty.

As the BRICS+ alliance continues to evolve, it represents a paradigm shift in global power dynamics. With a growing list of developing nations expressing interest, the group is poised to redefine international relations. The creation of the New Development Bank, the promotion of trade in national currencies, and discussions on a common currency all contribute to a gradual de-dollarization of the global economic system. The BRICS+ summit in Kazan holds the promise of further expansion and increased control over the global energy market. The West’s apprehensions and reactions underscore the significance of this transformation-a step closer to a polycentric world order that embraces diversity and empowers nations across the globe.

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