Johannesburg, July 19, 2023 – This year’s BRICS summit, taking place at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, promises to be a momentous event with invitations extended to 70 world leaders from the global south. Notably absent from the guest list are Western countries such as the US, the UK, and France, with French President Emmanuel Macron’s request for an invitation remaining unfulfilled.
Professor Anil Sooklal, South Africa’s BRICS emissary, unveiled that all 54 African heads of state have been invited to the summit, which brings together the BRICS member countries – Brazil, Russia, China, India, and South Africa. The outreach is vast, encompassing all the heads of states from the global south, as many leaders expressed keen interest in attending the event.
President Cyril Ramaphosa’s decision to invite the entire African continent and the political heads of major global south bodies stems from a commitment to foster development on the continent during South Africa’s turn as chair. The summit’s focal point will be the continental free trade agreement, with discussions aimed at advancing cooperation among BRICS nations and promoting inclusive growth.
Sooklal emphasized that BRICS has always upheld inclusivity while championing issues concerning the global south and addressing geopolitical, financial, and economic challenges. Despite not inviting Western countries, BRICS maintains engagement with the global community on shared global issues.
Following the three-day summit, an official visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping will commence, celebrating 25 years of diplomatic relations between China and South Africa. Additionally, South Africa will mark 30 years of formal diplomatic relations with India during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s official visit.
The summit holds numerous deliverables, including the launch of the Women Partnership Alliance Africa platform, aimed at empowering women in business and promoting small and medium enterprises. Another significant focus will be the establishment of the BRICS Africa Just Energy Transition facility, addressing the crucial matter of just energy transition in the context of climate change.
Although Russian President Vladimir Putin will not be attending the summit in person, his delegation, led by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, will participate virtually. The summit’s comprehensive agenda and participation of diverse global leaders signal a vote of confidence in BRICS’ inclusive approach and the willingness to collaborate on shared challenges and opportunities.