New TRENDS Study on the BRICS Group, its origins, goals, Challenges and future prospects



TRENDS Research and Advisory has released a new study entitled "BRICS: Challenges and Prospects: The Call for Rebalancing the Global Order.” The study analyzes the outcome of the Group's foreign ministers’ meeting held in Cape Town, South Africa, the group’s origin, importance and objectives. It studies the reasons of why some countries are seeking to join this bloc, the major challenges and the prospects for the BRICS group.


The study, issued as part of the research programs on foreign policy and international relations, showed that the meeting of foreign ministers of the Group of Five countries (BRICS), held at the beginning of June in South Africa, occurred at a critical moment in the development of the bloc itself and the global order. The meeting called for “rebalancing of the global order” and discussed the repercussions of the war in Ukraine on the international community. The meeting consulted on the applications submitted by about ten countries to join the group, some of which may be decided upon at the 15th BRICS summit in August 2023. The next summit meeting is scheduled to be held in South Africa. The theme for South Africa's 2023 BRICS chairship is: “BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Mutually Accelerated Growth, Sustainable Development and Inclusive Multilateralism".


The study was prepared by Mr. Mohamed Aldhuhoori, Head of Strategic Studies Section and Dr. Yousri Ahmed Al-Azbawi, an expert in strategic affairs. The study indicated that the member countries are seeking to integrate new members in order to become a more effective bloc in the international stage. They try to rebalance the apex of the global order hierarchy by reforming multilateral international institutions and modifying the mechanisms and rules of globalization. However, the United States is always working to disrupt the accession of certain countries to this bloc, and even work to widen the differences between the members of the bloc itself.


The BRICS group gives hope to other countries of the world that the unipolar world order will not last forever. The group believes that there are countries considering a major change in this dysfunctional global order. The recent economic figures released by the BRICS group, and the announcement by many countries of their desire to join the group, confirm that this group is intending to introduce a significant change in the balance of global economic and political power. The figures revealed that the BRICS outperformed the Group of Seven countries in the world for the first time, especially after the BRICS contribution reached 31.5% to the global economy, compared to 30.7% for the group of seven industrial powers.


The study explored the outcomes of the Cape Town meeting, noting that the group's foreign ministers focused on their ambitions to strengthen the BRICS influence in a multipolar world. The Group has already taken a more solid form in recent years, after launching the New Development Bank in 2015. This development did not help the financing projects in Russia, because the bank is obliged to comply with sanctions imposed by Western countries on Russia, following the outbreak of the war in Ukraine.


The study dealt with the tripartite origin of the BRICS bloc, its significance and objectives. It explained that this bloc aims to provide financial assistance to member and non-member countries. It seeks to achieve economic development and cooperation, support projects, develop infrastructure and achieve economic integration of member states. The real objectives of the BRICS group include, among other things, the   establishment of a multipolar world order, the support of peace and development, and the modification of the rules of globalization. Moreover, the group is pursuing the geostrategic interests of its member countries.


The study indicated the reasons why countries seek to join the BRICS and summarized them in several aspects. They include access to finance and to the desire to attract investment opportunities. The BRICS group wants to face the effects of global crises and attempts to balance and diversify foreign relations.


On the most important challenges facing the BRICS, the study pointed out that they include limited resources, lack of proper coordination, absence of geographical and cultural ties and disparity in economic power. Other challenges include increasing conflict with the United States, and inter-rivalry between the member countries of the group.


The study explained that the future of the BRICS group takes several diverse paths, the first of which is the transition to become an international pole. The most optimistic is the second scenario of continuation of the status quo, which represents the middle scenario.  The third track is the containment of the group expansionist ambitions and the confirmation of absolute US hegemony.


The study suggested that the most probable scenario in the near term is the second scenario, where the countries of the BRICS group strive hard to promote joint cooperation and expand the group’s membership. However, BRICS will not become an active international polar bloc that can impose its agenda on the rest of the world.


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