Western fears about the membership of Egypt and developing countries in the BRICS


Egypt’s accession to   BRICS  carries many opportunities and advantages, especially in terms of development, trade and investment. As one of the most important economic gatherings in the world, considering this an opportunity for Cairo to increase the rates of trade exchange and joint investments. Because one of the initiatives that   BRICS  is currently participating in is converting trade into alternative currencies as much as possible, whether it is national or creating a common currency, and Egypt is very interested in this matter. In addition to the importance of being in a bloc that protects the political and economic interests of the Egyptian state and adds more cooperation and exchange of experiences. Taking advantage of the   BRICS  trend to deal in local currencies or currencies other than the US dollar, and this is a part that Cairo needs in view of the foreign exchange problem, and thus diversifying the basket of foreign currencies.

 Joining the   BRICS  will also reduce the dollar’s dominance in payments, which was discussed in previous summits. The controversy resurfaced after higher US interest rates and the Russo-Ukrainian War led to the appreciation of the US currency, along with the cost of dollar-priced commodities, by increasing the use of members’ national currencies in trade and creating a common payment system. The goal of creating a common currency is seen as a long-term project.

  The Egyptian practical steps to join the   BRICS  began with the approval of the founding agreement and Egypt’s accession to the New Development Bank affiliated with the  BRICS  economic bloc, which is made up of the “Brazil, Russia, China, India and South Africa” group of countries, representing about 30% of the global economy. The New Development Bank agreed to accept Egypt as a new member, and this was announced during the   BRICS  leaders’ summit meetings in December 2021. At that time, the meetings approved Egypt as the new, fourth member, as its membership was accepted within the first expansion of the bank’s global reach, and was preceded, since September 2021, by: (Bangladesh, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay).

 The upcoming   BRICS  summit in South Africa will consider the issue of the new membership of the group, and determine the mechanism for joining, as its basic charter does not yet include a specific section on adding new members. There are approximately 19 countries that wish to do so. According to the South African delegate to the group, there are 13 countries that have officially applied to join and six other countries have applied in another way, and the   BRICS  group itself receives requests to join every day.       

 Many are betting that the   BRICS  gathering will succeed in setting global economic rules that balance the Western institutions.  As we see since the founding of the BRICS group, its member states, especially Russia and China, have sought to develop a new economic model that ends unipolar dominance and opens the door to a new multipolar economic strategy, and they proposed starting the process of expanding the  BRICS  group, to join the  BRICS  consultations. Representatives of Argentina, Egypt, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Senegal and Thailand, Iran also applied in June 2022 to join.

  We find that relying on other currencies in trade exchange, such as the Chinese yuan and the Russian ruble, will relieve pressure on the dollar, which the country is currently experiencing great difficulties in providing, especially with the unprecedented rise in the dollar.  The capital of this gathering is 100 billion dollars from the member states, and there will be other additions, and therefore it will have financing arms at the level of the world and the international economy. From this angle, Egypt can achieve a boom in trade exchange with the rest of the member states.

 The entry of new countries into the group may change the bloc’s geopolitical balances.  The BRICS countries share the demand for a global multipolar economic and political balance.  Among the countries vying for membership are traditionally non-aligned countries, such as: Indonesia and Ethiopia. But there are also countries openly hostile to the United States and its allies, such as: Iran and Venezuela.

 As for what   BRICS  can offer to developing countries, especially African countries, we find that accession represents a step that would provide developing countries with enormous powers and financing channels, which will enhance the confidence of the international community and its financing institutions, as well as credit rating agencies in the economies of developing countries, including Egypt.

 The accession of African and developing countries to the   BRICS  group will provide a set of facilities, most notably: grants and soft loans with reduced interest, in addition to benefiting from the economic expertise of the participating countries, and investment financing. The accession of many African and developing countries to various alliances makes them diversify sources of income and borrowing, and it would be better for them to open up to others.

  And the accession of these countries to the   BRICS  grouping will contribute to securing the needs of those developing countries for essential commodities such as wheat from Russia and electronic devices from India and China, as well as coffee and tea from other countries such as Brazil, raw materials and other coalition countries, as well as there will be preferential treatment in commercial dealings with those countries  Considering that it is partners and allies within the BRICS alliance to the exclusion of other countries.

 There appear many Western, especially American, fears of efforts to expand   BRICS  membership, and the most prominent Western and American fears lie about the accession and expansion of the membership of many developing countries to BRICS membership, through the fear of increasing the volume of economic cooperation between the countries of the group, which will match the Western blocs and contribute to removing their hegemony, what supports the directions of a multipolar world economic system.

  The founding countries of the   BRICS  grouping do not act from a condescending American standpoint with developing countries, but rather they are preoccupied with contributing to achieving progress and development in those countries.

 The shares of the “BRICS Group” have recently risen in the media after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and several countries are looking to join a bloc that achieves a kind of economic polarity, especially with Russia’s search for supportive partners in the face of Western economic sanctions, and the preference of a group of countries to maintain their relations. It is strong with Moscow and the West does not participate in its supportive tendencies towards Ukraine. Russia greatly encouraged the expansion of the group so that it would turn into a tool for political pressure, especially since Russia faced international isolation in its invasion of Ukraine, and many friendly countries did not oppose the condemning UN resolutions to the invasion.

Dr.Nadia Helmy
Dr.Nadia Helmy
Associate Professor of Political Science, Faculty of Politics and Economics / Beni Suef University- Egypt. An Expert in Chinese Politics, Sino-Israeli relationships, and Asian affairs- Visiting Senior Researcher at the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES)/ Lund University, Sweden- Director of the South and East Asia Studies Unit


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