JAKARTA: Indonesian President Joko Widodo departed for South Africa on Sunday to attend the BRICS summit in Johannesburg amid speculation that the country could join the group as its latest member.
The meeting, which brings together major emerging economies countries led by Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, will be held for three days starting Tuesday.
“Indonesia has been invited to the BRICS summit and of course in between the BRICS summit there will be meetings with other world leaders,” Widodo told reporters ahead of his departure. The trip is Widodo’s first to Africa as leader of South East Asia’s biggest economy.
He said earlier in the week that his government had not decided whether or not Indonesia would join BRICS.
The group, formally launched in 2009, seeks to tame Western economic domination in global affairs.
It represents 23 percent of the world’s gross domestic product and 42 percent of the world’s population.
Aside from attending the BRICS summit, Widodo said he would also visit Kenya, Tanzania, and Mozambique to strengthen cooperation.
Tanzania and Kenya opened embassies in Jakarta last year, while Mozambique is the first African country to sign a Preferential Trade Agreement with Indonesia.