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Why Does BRICS Appeal to the Global South?

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BRICS Summit New Banner - Sputnik International, 1920, 21.08.2023
One of BRICS' competitive advantages is that the group is pursuing an inclusive approach in contrast to the zero-sum geopolitical games of the collective West, international observers told Sputnik.
On August 22, the 15th BRICS Summit will kick off in Johannesburg, bringing together leaders of emerging economies.
While the Western media is trying to downplay the historic event and drive a wedge between the participants of the forum, BRICS – an acronym for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – appears to have come up with an appealing universal formula of inclusiveness, equity and mutual assistance, as per Sputnik's interlocutors.
"The BRICS do not believe that geopolitics is a zero-sum game where economic development or the security of some states becomes a threat to others," Anuradha Chenoy, retired professor and dean of the School of International Studies at New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University, told Sputnik. "The BRICS do not position themselves against the West but on the contrary support a multipolar system that encourages the coexistence of different ideas, systems and institutions. It is the West that has exclusive military alliances that develop narratives against any ‘other’ that they perceive as a threat. The BRICS has no such agenda."
Commenting on the role of BRICS in international affairs, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov particularly emphasized in his latest article BRICS: Towards a Just World Order that the organization "does not aim to replace existing multilateral mechanisms, much less to become a new 'collective hegemon'."
 Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov takes part in an online BRICS meeting. File photo - Sputnik International, 1920, 21.08.2023
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According to Lavrov, BRICS member states have long been advocating the creation of conditions for the development and prosperity of all states. This approach excludes zero-sum games, double standards, and the "bloc logic" of the Cold War era. The Russian foreign minister underscored that the group of emerging economies seeks to offer "inclusive solutions based on a participatory approach" in the first place. The group is ready to respond to the "request" of forming "one of the pillars of a new, fairer, multilateral world order," as per Lavrov.
"The core vision of the BRICS is commitment to sovereignty, multipolarity, non-interference, non-intervention, and opposition to coercive economic measures. It is on this basis that they want to conduct trade, facilitate development and ensure security. These core principles are supported by much of the Global South. The West clearly is opposed to several of these principles," Chenoy said.
The Indian scholar placed special emphasis on the fact that BRICS has never been a military alliance and won't become a "bloc" aimed against any country or a group of states. In a multipolar model spearheaded by BRICS, there's no room for "hegemony": instead, the group offers a concept of common security and economic development, according to Chenoy.
Flags of the five countries that make up BRICS fly in front of an Air China aircraft in which Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived to attend the BRICS summit in Goa, India, Saturday, Oct. 15 2016. - Sputnik International, 1920, 21.08.2023
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The very structure of BRICS is such that no country can dominate it, echoed Mohammed Saqib, secretary-general of the India-China Economic and Cultural Council, while speaking to Sputnik.
He cited the fact that some Western mainstream media and thought leaders are trying to misrepresent BRICS as a tool of China in order to sow discord within the countries of the Global South. Per Saqib, the Western narrative is false, since BRICS embodies the idea of parity and democracy.
"Some people are trying to make it Global South vs. Global North to create controversy and confusion among prospective members and allies," Saqib told Sputnik. "This is an absolutely useless argument. There is no comparison and there will not be. BRICS is based on human values and G7 is a collection of hegemons. I think the selection criteria should be that the country is an emerging country and imbibes the values of cooperation and support to each other."
(LtoR) China's President Xi Jinping, South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa and Russia's President Vladimir Putin arrive to pose for a group picture during the 10th BRICS (acronym for the grouping of the world's leading emerging economies, namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) summit on July 26, 2018 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa. - Sputnik International, 1920, 21.08.2023
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The forthcoming BRICS summit is due to focus on the further enlargement of the organization, given that over 20 countries have officially applied for membership in the club, with many more seeking to jump on its bandwagon.
One should take into account that BRICS accounted for 31.67% of global GDP (at purchasing power parity) in 2022, thus outpacing the Group of Seven (30.31%) and has a combined population of 3.24 billion people, which is over 40% of the world.
Against this backdrop, the group's efforts to reduce its dependence on the dollar – commonly known as de-dollarization – and switch to national currencies, as well as the emerging role of the New Development Bank (established by BRICS in 2015) in funding new programs and infrastructural projects, suggests that BRICS may significantly influence the global economic growth.
"Many countries within BRICS are engaging in trade with each other and with others outside BRICS in their national currencies. This trend is on the increase. But as more and more trade takes place outside the dollar zone, alternate currencies will rise as the dollar can lose the kind of domination it currently has. A global monetary system of multiple currencies matches the system of multipolarity," explained Chenoy.
In addition, developing countries are establishing or exploring new payment systems and mechanisms and creating lending organizations to facilitate their new development projects. These efforts are hardly surprising given the Global South's longstanding distrust toward the Western-centered financial system and political institutions, according to Saqib.
"The countries have completely lost trust in existing institutions, they are frustrated with hegemons and see a future for themselves in the Group of the South," he said. "The US has been exposed and the countries are willing to take them on. See the African countries' reaction to the Niger threat by France. This is the beginning of the end of West dominance."
Russian President Vladimir Putin takes part in the XIV BRICS summit in virtual format via a video call, in Moscow region, Russia. - Sputnik International, 1920, 16.08.2023
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