23 Countries Apply for BRICS Membership as Leaders Prepare to Convene at Summit

South Africa, the host of the BRICS summit this year, has published a list of 23 countries that have applied to become members of the economic bloc. Moreover, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has invited 67 leaders and 20 representatives of major organizations to the BRICS summit. French President Emmanuel Macron, however, is not invited.

23 Countries Apply to Join BRICS

South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor, revealed at a briefing on the upcoming BRICS summit on Monday that 23 countries have officially applied to join the economic bloc.

The BRICS summit will take place on Aug. 22-24 in Johannesburg. South Africa is hosting the BRICS summit this year. South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa, China’s President Xi Jinping, Brazil’s President Luiz Lula da Silva, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi are expected to attend. However, Russian President Vladimir Putin will not attend in person.

According to the South African official, the 23 countries that have applied for BRICS membership are Algeria, Argentina, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Belarus, Bolivia, Venezuela, Vietnam, Cuba, Honduras, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Morocco, Nigeria, State of Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, and Ethiopia.

Pandor noted that at the summit, the leaders of the BRICS countries will be presented with a special report on the principles of expanding the association and a list of countries that want to join the economic bloc. Noting that “BRICS leaders will discuss the expansion of the organization at the summit,” she clarified:

It is the leaders who will make the final decision on this issue.

“We remember that South Africa was the first country to be admitted to the association after its creation. As the BRICS chairman, South Africa will negotiate at the summit on the expansion model and its principles and criteria. We are gradually moving towards a consensus on BRICS expansion and we hope that it will be reached at the summit,” Pandor continued.

67 Leaders and 20 Representatives Invited to BRICS Summit

The South African foreign minister further revealed on Monday that South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa, with consensus support from his fellow BRICS leaders, has invited 67 leaders of countries in Africa, Latin America, Asia, and the Caribbean to the summit.

Moreover, she added that 20 representatives of major international organizations have been invited to the BRICS summit, including the secretary-general of the United Nations, the chairperson of the African Union Commission, and the president of the New Development Bank, also known as the BRICS Bank. Furthermore, invitations have been extended to the chairs and executive heads of African Regional Economic Communities and African financial institutions, as well as to the Secretary General of the African Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat and the CEO of the African Union Development Agency.

The South African official further shared that 34 countries have confirmed their participation. However, she noted French President Emmanuel Macron was not invited. Macron earlier expressed interest in attending the economic bloc’s summit.

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