The Brics summit, which will be held later this month in Johannesburg, will focus on strengthening the group’s, consisting of five countries, trade ties with Africa, host South Africa said.
The continent is a renewed diplomatic battleground, with the West, Russia and China all vying for influence and increased competition for access to minerals – as well as the international division created by the war in Ukraine.
The heads of Brazil, China, India and South Africa, as well as Russia’s leading diplomat, will meet from 22 to 24 August under the theme “Brics and Africa”.
“Our theme reflects our belief in the benefits that a partnership with Africa can offer Brics,” says Naledi Pandor, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation.
Brics sees itself as a counterweight to Western economic dominance.
Talks will focus on increased investment across the continent, Pandor says. Representatives from other African countries will also attend the summit.
China’s pres. Xi Jinping, Brazil’s Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi have all confirmed they will be in Johannesburg, following speculation they may pull out of the summit.
Russia will be represented by Sergei Lavrov, the country’s foreign minister, with Russian President Vladimir Putin participating online.
Putin decided not to travel to South Africa himself after the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for his arrest for alleged war crimes. South Africa is obliged to comply with this warrant.
Pandor laughed off the possibility that French President Emmanuel Macron might turn up, after the Frenchman indicated that he was interested in taking part as well.
“It’s quite amusing,” Pandor said when asked if the French leader would attend the summit.
“No invitation in that regard has been sent.”