President Widodo is attending the BRICS summit in South Africa

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Indonesian President Joko Widodo arrived in South Africa on Sunday, to attend the BRICS summit held in Johannesburg. There is ongoing speculation regarding Indonesia’s potential inclusion as the latest member of this group.

BRICS serves as a platform for major emerging economies, led by Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, and is scheduled to span three days, commencing on Tuesday. Established in 2009, the BRICS collective seeks to counter Western economic dominance in global affairs. Collectively, these nations represent 23% of the world’s gross domestic product and comprise 42% of the global population.

Before his departure, President Widodo informed reporters that Indonesia had received an invitation to the BRICS summit, emphasizing that various meetings with world leaders would occur in conjunction with the summit. Notably, this trip marks President Widodo’s first visit to Africa since assuming leadership of Southeast Asia’s largest economy.

Last week, President Widodo stated that his government had not yet decided on Indonesia’s potential membership in the BRICS group.

In addition to participating in the summit, President Widodo announced his intention to bolster cooperation by visiting Kenya, Tanzania, and Mozambique. It’s worth noting that Tanzania and Kenya established embassies in Jakarta the previous year, while Mozambique holds the distinction of being the first African country to sign a Preferential Trade Agreement with Indonesia.

The BRICS members have different perspectives on the expansion of the group, including criteria for admitting new members. More than 40 countries have expressed their interest in joining BRICS, according to South Africa.

The summit will also include discussions on enhancing the use of local currencies for fundraising and lending within the New Development Bank (NDB), often referred to as the BRICS bank. This move towards local currency utilization aims to mitigate the risks associated with fluctuations in foreign exchange rates. While the NDB, established in 2015, is exploring the potential use of alternative currencies, there will not be any discussions about introducing a common currency for the BRICS group during this summit.

On the summit’s final day, the agenda is expected to focus on discussions with leaders from other countries. South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor mentioned that invitations to attend the summit were extended to 67 leaders from across Africa, Latin America, Asia, and the Caribbean.

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