The upcoming three-day BRICS summit is set to gather the top leaders of the forum in South Africa, marking the group’s first in-person meeting since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The BRICS group, consisting of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, will convene to discuss various global issues and cooperation initiatives.
Notably, Russian President Vladimir Putin will not be attending the summit in person. Instead, he will participate via video call due to complications related to an International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant issued for him in March. The warrant is linked to the abduction of children from Ukraine. While Putin will be virtually present, he is expected to deliver a speech during the event. Russia will also have Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov representing the country in person.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will be among the leaders attending the summit in person.
The summit’s agenda will focus on key issues such as economic cooperation, collaboration in areas like health, education, and climate change. The event takes place against the backdrop of growing sentiment in the developing world that Western-led institutions such as the United Nations, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund may not fully serve their interests.
The summit is expected to attract around 1,200 delegates from the five BRICS nations and numerous other developing countries, with more than 40 heads of state in attendance. Additionally, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres is slated to participate.
While BRICS serves as a platform for cooperation and dialogue, it has also been used by Russia to express anti-Western rhetoric. The summit takes place amid various global challenges, including Russia’s recent halt of a deal allowing Ukraine to export through the Black Sea, which has led to heightened food prices and increased hunger. Putin’s offer of free Russian grain shipments to African nations is seen by some analysts as an attempt to gain favor among developing nations represented at the summit.
The event also comes as a small protest against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine took place in proximity to the summit venue, underscoring the ongoing geopolitical tensions. The BRICS summit holds significance in addressing a range of global concerns while reflecting the changing dynamics of international cooperation.