BRICS summit to focus on Africa, Macron not invited

This month’s BRICS summit in Johannesburg aims to strengthen trade relations between the five-nation grouping and Africa, according to South Africa, the host country.

The continent has become a renewed arena for diplomacy, witnessing a competition for influence among the West, Russia, and China, driven by heightened demand for minerals and international divisions accentuated by the conflict in Ukraine.

Leaders from Brazil, China, India, and South Africa, along with Russia’s chief diplomat, will convene from August 22 to 24 for a summit in Johannesburg, centered around the theme “BRICS and Africa,” announced South Africa’s Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor.

“Our theme reflects our belief in the benefits a partnership with Africa can bring to BRICS,” Pandor told a press conference.

BRICS, which stands for its member nations, positions itself as a counterbalance to Western economic dominance.

Discussions will also center on fostering investments throughout the continent, Pandor added, noting that representatives from other African nations will also be present.

China’s President Xi Jinping, Brazil’s Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi have all affirmed their attendance in Johannesburg, dispelling earlier speculation about the latter’s potential withdrawal.

Russia will be represented by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, while Russian President Vladimir Putin will take part in the summit through online participation.

Putin chose not to attend in person due to an International Criminal Court arrest warrant that South Africa theoretically has an obligation to enforce against him.

Pandor dismissed the likelihood of Emmanuel Macron’s presence, as the French President expressed his interest in joining the summit.

“It’s quite amusing,” Pandor said, asked whether the French leader would attend. “No invitation has been issued in that regard”.

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