South Africa’s top diplomat in charge of relations with the BRICS group of nations revealed on Thursday that over 40 countries have shown interest in joining the bloc.
Anil Sooklal and officials from the department of foreign affairs held a press briefing in Johannesburg one day after South Africa announced that Russian President Vladimir Putin would not be attending the upcoming BRICS summit scheduled to take place from August 22 to 24.
At the summit of nations aiming to counterbalance the perceived dominance of the U.S.-led West in global affairs, the issue of how extensively and rapidly to expand the BRICS group – centered around Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa – is at the forefront of the agenda.
In addition to the 22 countries that have officially applied for BRICS membership, Sooklal mentioned that there is an equal number of nations that have informally expressed their interest in joining the bloc.
South African officials aspire for BRICS to become a champion of the developing world, and several countries, including Argentina, Iran, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Comoros, Gabon, and Kazakhstan, have expressed their interest in joining the bloc.