On August 2, SA’s ambassador to the Brics nations said that the ragtag group’s 15th summit in Johannesburg would initiate “a tectonic change … in the global geopolitical architecture”. While the summit that concluded on August 24 fell decidedly short of that, it did cement Brics as the most important driver of the Global South’s agenda, surpassing the G20 as the premier economic forum for developing nations.

The summit’s most surprising and consequential outcome was the announcement that the bloc, comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and SA, agreed to invite six new members — Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — to join in 2024. Brics+, as the expanded grouping is called, will make up a meaningfully larger share of global GDP than the G7 club of advanced industrial democracies...

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