This article was previously published by the South African Institute for International Affairs
How do the BRICS member countries measure success? Much of this is left to the member who chairs the respective year. In 2018, South Africa committed itself to a new but interlinked list. While it was able to register progress on several items, it is worth noting that most agenda items overlap various rotational chairs and BRICS leaders tend to register collective gains.
South Africa risks being drawn into the geopolitics of the larger members, especially in the context where BRICS members China and Russia have received censure for various reasons.
In view of South Africa’s own domestic exigencies, there is concern that South Africa is unable to pursue its growth agenda with the necessary pragmatism when its membership of BRICS might put this agenda at risk.
However, that said, redeeming features include the centres of excellence created by the BRICS, which find degrees of synergy within the multitrack diplomacy system. Looking
to the XV Summit, to be hosted by South Africa in 2023, the most pressing question will be whether South Africa is able to domesticate the agenda and summit declarations in a manner that sees all South Africans better able to understand how to relate to the behemoth that is BRICS.
Arina Muresan is a senior researcher at the Institute for Global Dialogue associated with UNISA, her views do not necessarily represent the view of the Institute for Global Dialogue’s.