The 2023 BRICS Summit is all set to be chaired by South Africa. The theme for this year’s summit revolves around partnership for growth, sustainable development, and multilateralism. South Africa will host the leaders of the other four bloc nations in Q3 this year. Specifically, the 15th BRICS Summit will take place from Aug. 22-24, 2023. The meet will be held in Johannesburg, at the Exhibition Centre. Anil Sooklal, the South African Sherpa to BRICS, clarified in a recent interview that this will be “the first face-to-face summit” in four years. Specifically, he said,
“The previous meeting of the leaders of the Big Five, where you could shake hands and look each other in the eye, took place back in 2019.”
This, in turn, places a certain obligation on South Africa as the host country of the summit. Sooklal said that Africa is preparing and trying to make sure that everything goes as per the plan. Further elaborating on the same, Sooklal said,
“South Africa has about 200 events planned, so the schedule is pretty tight. At the end of June, we will have our first meeting with the Sherpas. There have also been expert group meetings, meetings with senior officials. We are continuing to work on several ministerial directions, and we have a meeting with the BRICS foreign ministers on 1 and 2 June.”
Bolstering economic cooperation: One of the objectives of BRICS Summit
One of the top priorities of this year’s summit is to solidify economic cooperation. Sooklal pointed out that the World Bank and the IMF agree that about a third of the world economy will be in recession this year. However, the South African Sherpa is on a different page. He said,
“I do not think this forecast will affect the BRICS countries. We are going to see positive dynamics. Some of the fastest-growing economies are India and China. They are helping to stimulate not only the BRICS economies but the global economy as a whole. We are well placed to compete with other international associations.”
Last year, the bloc adopted the second version of the BRICS Economic Partnership Strategy. Sooklal pointed out that the document set out the main areas for BRICS cooperation until 2025. The areas of focus include trade, investment and finance, the digital economy, and sustainable development. Now, the updated strategy will help to develop measures to overcome the negative consequences of the pandemic. Alongside, it will also help in effectively responding to new economic challenges.
Apart from economic cooperation, Sooklal said that the other focus areas include green energy, capacity building, skill development of people, and productivity improvement. Additionally, the countries are also expected to talk about the creation of a new currency to sideline the dollar and help local economies thrive.
Also Read: BRICS Countries Are Developing a New Currency: State Duma Deputy Chair