BRICS is an acronym that represents an association of five major emerging economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. These countries are projected for their significant influence on regional and global affairs.

They form a group that aims to enhance cooperation in various fields such as economics, politics, and culture. This year a few other countries with lesser economic status and global influence have joined BRICS. BRICS is no longer a group of equals as originally conceived.

As Russia assumed the presidency of BRICS this year, President Vladimir Putin said last week: “the grouping has become a 10-nation body now with Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates joining it as new full members which is a strong indication of the growing authority of the bloc and its role in international affairs”.

“Of course, we will consider the degree to which many other countries, about 30 of them, are prepared to join the BRICS multi-dimensional agenda in one form or another,” he said. To this end, we will start working on the modalities of a new category of BRICS partner countries, he added.

The Russian President further said: “BRICS is attracting an ever increasing number of supporters and like-minded countries that share its underlying principles such as sovereign equality, openness, consensus, aspiration to form a multipolar international order and a fair global financial and trading system.

In general, Russia will continue to promote all aspects of the BRICS partnership in three key areas: politics and security, economy and finance, and cultural and humanitarian contacts.

Naturally, we will focus on enhancing foreign policy coordination among the member countries and on jointly seeking effective responses to the challenges and threats to international and regional security and stability. In total, over 200 events of different levels and types will be held in many Russian cities as part of the chairmanship.“

BRICS, has moved from its original branding of a club of exclusivity of five members countries to a group of unequals where numbers matter more.

The isolation of Russia on account of Ukraine war and change of heart of the west towards China, from being a preferred business partner to that of a potential threat in global politics and economy, has prompted the two countries to take on the hegemony of the west for which the vehicle of BRICS has been put to use.

BRICS appears to be winning with new members lining up to sign in to the emergence of an alternate world order.

West is aware of the changing global economic and political dynamics. BRICS is perceived as a group that challenges the traditional dominance of Western nations in global institutions such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and United Nations.

By advocating for a more equitable global governance system, BRICS seeks to increase the influence of emerging economies in global decision-making processes, notably, a drift from being hooked to US Dollar as the currency for global business transactions.

Since its formation, many members countries are giving a try to conduct bilateral businesses in their own currencies.

Pakistan remains out of BRICS, although BRICS is the brain-child of China and has been conceived following its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative to extend its economic and political outreach around the globe.

China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has been rated by China as the flag ship project of Belt and Road Initiative and of significant value to BRICS members if put to use - setting aside the regional politics.

BRICS was touted to have been formed based on economic criteria, and Pakistan’s economy may not have been considered strong or large enough to meet the thresholds set by the original member countries. But, with the addition of five new members the set criteria no longer holds water in view of the acceptance of Ethiopia and Egypt as full members.

In November of last year, Pakistan officially applied for membership of BRICS. Pakistan is among the 29 more countries that have applied for membership, a group representing nearly half the world’s population and accounting for 30 per cent of the global GDP. Additionally, 50 percent of the world’s oil and gas producers are members of this bloc.

Pakistan is still not part of BRICS, although Pakistan’s key economic performance indicators far exceeds those of Ethiopia with its annual GDP three times that of this African nation, population being twice with a far bigger consumer base, whereas, per capita income exceeds by 45 percent as compared to Ethiopia.

Insofar as Egypt is concerned, the size of Pakistan’s economy is nearly that of this North African nation while its population and consumer base is twice that of the most populous Arab country.

Political dynamics in the region and historical unsavoury relationship between Pakistan and India and perhaps the indifference of China and Russia towards Pakistan could be the factors that have helped India keep Pakistan at bay.

With Iran’s inclusion in BRICS it is evident that the group has intentions to conduct business with Iran, going around the US sanctions and most likely in member’s own currency.

However, Pakistan’s outreach in global politics and economy is severally undermined and dampened by its domestic issues, notably, the economic vulnerability and political uncertainty. Added to this is Pakistan’s subservience to the IMF conditionalities, virtually forcing it to remain on the right side of the west.

Pakistan’s branding stands more vulnerable than ever before. This country’s dependence for its economic sustainability and diplomatic outreach on friendly Middle East nations and China stands saturated.

Pakistan possesses great human talent and resources on the strength of which it can push through and carve out a significant role for itself on the fast-changing global economic and political landscape. It only needs to put its house in order.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

Farhat Ali

The writer is a former President, Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Comments

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KU Jun 22, 2024 11:09am
Truth is that despite reality of economy stop-shop, our corrupt are not willing to change the system that gasps for recovery or else. Their belief in greed n power is killing country, people, hope.
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Abu Bakar Jun 22, 2024 12:06pm
Joining groups is all fun and play. But does anyone have any clue how much a country should contribute yearly to be a member? IMF bailout is required to just stay in these groups.
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Abu Bakar Jun 22, 2024 12:14pm
Learn from Turkey. They won't be a part of a group until it's benefits are chartered out by independent analysts and a public debate. Don't do things just because your neighbour is doing.
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Abu Bakar Jun 22, 2024 12:20pm
Other countries are weighing pros and cons. Meanwhile in Pakistan they just want to jump the bandwagon. All pro joining group or vague and nothing concrete. Why isn't there a debate on this in public.
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IMTIAZ CASSUM AGBOATWALA Jun 22, 2024 12:33pm
What good is this going to be for Pakistan ? Nothing . What have we done about being a member of SAARC , when we could have really benefitted mutually .
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Usman Jun 22, 2024 05:23pm
What will we do there.Beg more.
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JSK Jun 22, 2024 06:11pm
Pakistan is nowhere near to be a member of BRICS. See it's ECONOMY and question yourself if we are ELIGIBLE and are up to the mark ...?
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Ash Chak Jun 23, 2024 07:01am
“Pakistan only needs to put its house in order”. They have been trying and failing since 1947.
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Re=== Jun 23, 2024 04:50pm
Pakistan possesses great human talent and resources---and other countries dont? We saw how you messed up CPEC. Now you jump from CPEC. You are not getting into BRICS. Not now, not tomorrow, not ever.
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TruthHurts Jun 23, 2024 08:42pm
What planet this dude is on?
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Swanand Kulkarni Jun 26, 2024 10:30am
@Abu Bakar , initially you have to purchase some shares worth $5 billion to $10 billion since all the members who contribute will be able to participate in brics projects.
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Swanand Kulkarni Jun 26, 2024 10:34am
@IMTIAZ CASSUM AGBOATWALA, india was giving free satellite and reservation seats for Pakistani students in saarc institute but now it is terminated since Pakistan isn't paying for maintenance
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