BRICS has been expanded to "BRICS Plus," which will soon include Turkey, Argentina, Egypt, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Thailand, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Ukraine.
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Recently, social media users alleged that the BRICS organization has expanded to include Turkey, Argentina, Egypt, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Thailand, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. A number of other countries, including Ukraine and Nigeria, were also mentioned. Users compared the new alliance to NATO, claiming that it will reduce reliance on the US dollar.
Misbar investigated the claim and found it to be misleading. Under the BRICS Plus concept, led by China, BRICS has not expanded but has engaged in dialogue with some of the countries mentioned in the claim.
BRICS Did Not Announce Expansion
There were no reports of an expansion to include the listed countries after reviewing all credible news sources, including official BRICS pages. Only Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa are members of the BRICS group. However, the BRICS plus framework is being discussed under BRICS.
The claim began to circulate following the BRICS Plus meetings in May 2022. The concept, led by China, is a forum for cross-national dialogue. The BRICS Plus dialogue was "successfully held and attended by foreign ministers from member states as well as Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Egypt, Indonesia, Nigeria, Senegal, and representatives of the foreign ministers of the UAE and Thailand," according to the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They also stated that the BRICS Plus cooperation mechanism is a "platform for cooperation and development among emerging markets and developing countries," and they invited more countries to participate in the dialogue. As seen below, the Chinese Ambassador to the United Nations and the China Mission to the UN both tweeted about the meeting on their official accounts.
According to the World Economic Forum, any BRICS member state may form "BRICS Plus Circles" that are open to flexible and multiple modes of bilateral or regional cooperation. This is not a membership expansion, but rather an initiative to "create a new platform for forging regional and bilateral alliances across continents and aims at bringing together regional integration blocks, in which BRICS economies play a leading role." These blocks could include Mercosur, the South African Customs Union (SACU), the EEU, SAARC, and the China-ASEAN FTA, totaling 35 countries in the BRICS Plus Circle.
China’s Proposal to Expand Members
Wang Yi, China's state councilor and foreign minister, proposed expanding the group's membership at this year's meeting.
Wang Yi stated that China proposed to start the BRICS expansion process, explore the criteria and procedures for the expansion, and gradually form a consensus. However, this was only a proposal; no specific countries were mentioned, and no other member states agreed. While an expansion is possible, the member countries remain the same.
What is BRICS?
The acronym BRICS stands for Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, and it refers to a group of emerging economies that form a political and economic intergovernmental organization aimed at the mutual benefit of member countries. Member countries' growing economies, as well as their population size and natural resources, position them as key players in driving global economic development. The BRICS countries have significant influence in their respective regions and meet annually at the BRICS summit, the most recent of which was the 13th BRICS summit, which was virtually hosted by India on September 9, 2021.