A list of new BRICS+ candidates will be presented at the next meeting of the group, in the Russian region of Kazan summit in 2024, Pavel Knyazev, Russia's Foreign Ministry ambassador-at-large, told Tass on October 16.
Moscow will take the chair of BRICS next year when the summit returns to Russia, where the group first met as a political organisation in Yekaterinburg in 2009 and comprised Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
The club of leading emerging markets is expanding, and added six new members in August during the most recent summit, hosted by South Africa in Johannesburg.
Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) all were invited to become new members. But some countries that were expected to join, including Indonesia and Venezuela, turned down membership for the meantime, preferring to see how the global showdown between East and West plays out.
The list of potential new members is long and includes up to 40 countries, according to some reports, although a comprehensive list of would-be BRICS+ members has never been made public.
Part of the appeal is that emerging markets are clubbing together, as they feel they are underrepresented in global institutions and want more say in making decisions at the international level.
Others, such as Argentina, are interested in accessing the New Development Bank (NDB, formerly known as the BRICS Bank), which has been set up as an alternative to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and offers large loans with fewer strings attached than its New York-based counterpart.
For Russia and China, the main driving forces behind the expansion of the BRICS attracting more members is a political project, as they would like to create a global institution that can rival and challenge the existing hegemony led by the US. However, many other emerging markets, including India, would rather see the group working to promote international economic co-operation without an antagonistic dimension.
A few weeks after the BRICS+ summit, India hosted the G20 summit, which was also expanded to include the African Union that represents all countries of the continent. The G20 has set itself up as a complimentary organisation, but has a less politically combative outlook under the current Indian leadership.
Preparations for the Kazan summit are already underway, with approximately 200 events scheduled at various levels, including ministerial meetings, public forums and working groups. Knyazev refrained from making specific predictions regarding which countries might join BRICS during the upcoming expansion.
One of the main items on the agenda remains the same as at the recent summit: developing criteria for new partners and compiling a list of candidates based on these criteria during the Johannesburg forum.
Knyazev stressed the current priority of facilitating the seamless accession of the six countries that have been invited to join BRICS, starting from January 1.