Seminar on the “Outcomes of the meetings of the BRICS Ministerial Conference and opportunities to expand the Group’s membership in light of global challenges”
On June 7, 2023, ECFA held a meeting on “The outcomes of the meetings of the BRICS Ministerial Conference and opportunities to expand the Group’s membership in light of global challenges,” in which Ambassador Ali El-Hefny, the Rapporteur of ECFA’s Standing Committee on Asian Affairs and Secretary-General, spoke. A number of ECFA members participated in the meeting, including Ambassadors Ezzat Saad, ECFA Director, Mounir Zahran, Farouk Mabrouk, Mohamed Al-Dorghamy, Abdel Moneim Omar, Atef Sayed Al-Ahl, Mohamed Al-Ashmawy, Magued Refaat, Adel Al-Salousi, Hisham El-Zimaity, and Dr. Diaa Helmy.
Ambassador El-Hefny pointed out that in light of the debate taking place at the regional and international levels recently regarding the growing challenges in the international community, the escalation of crises, and the lack of international consensus regarding many of the situations that followed World War II, whether in terms of political, economic, financial or monetary situations. Many theses have been put forward regarding the United States’ hegemony, and the possibility of the continuation of the unipolar order that actually began in the 1990s, and after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, and new features began to loom on the horizon at the global level with the rise of the People’s Republic of China, and the emergence of promising international economic blocs such as the BRICS founded by China, Russia, India, and Brazil, and then South Africa joining it.
The global situation has recently been characterized by a great deal of ambiguity and uncertainty, especially in the wake of the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russian military operation in Ukraine, and the tremendous pressure this has led to on the global economy, including major powers and developing countries alike. All of this included many questions raised regarding the position of the BRICS, as its ministerial meeting was recently held in South Africa, in preparation for the Group’s summit meeting in August 2023 in Cape Town. It is worth noting that the upcoming summit will discuss existing requests from 19 countries that have expressed their desire to join the Group, with a view to establishing a legitimate economic bloc to confront the current challenges and crises, and looking forward to a new, more just world, in which the lost balance will be restored, away from hegemony, control and dictates, especially since the BRICS now includes five countries that together represent 43% of the Earth’s population, and with a GDP that has recently surpassed that of the G7.
In this context, Ambassador El-Hefny presented his vision and assessment of the possibility for new members to join the BRICS, affirmed the necessity for the five countries to agree regarding the joining of any new country, and this is an uncertain matter in the case of some countries due to several considerations related to the economic situation of the countries wishing to join, and the minimum possible level of stability for their economies, and whose economic crises represent burdens that the BRICS founding countries do not wish to bear at the present time, indicating at the same time that the countries of the group may be tempted by the issue of strengthening their structure in order to maximize their position on the international stage.