Major African economy applies to join BRICS

The bloc’s push for de-dollarization has attracted Egypt

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Egypt has officially applied to join BRICS, Russia’s ambassador in Cairo told reporters on Wednesday. The Arab Republic of nearly 100 million people would be a significant addition to the bloc of the largest developing economies that includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, according to RT News.

Egypt is “very interested” in one of BRICS’ current initiatives, namely the bloc’s push to switch to alternative currencies in trade, be it one of the bloc’s national currencies or a new joint one, ambassador Georgy Borisenko told TASS news agency.

Egypt first voiced its intention to join BRICS last July, according to Purnima Anand, the President of the BRICS International Forum. In February, the country sent official letters to the bloc’s members expressing its interest in joining, something that Russia supports, according to ambassador Borisenko. Also in February, Egypt joined the New Development Bank, established by the group to fund infrastructure and sustainable development projects in emerging markets and developing countries.

About a dozen countries have so far applied to join BRICS, including Iran and Argentina. The bloc hopes to introduce a framework for admitting new members before the August summit in South Africa.

READ MORE: How Russia sanctions sparked global revolt against US dollar

BRICS is pushing towards trade in national currencies and has begun efforts to establish a joint payment network to cut reliance on the Western financial system, and particularly on the dollar. It has been gaining traction since the West imposed economic sanctions against Russia over its military operation in Ukraine. As a result of the restrictions, Moscow was effectively cut off from the Western banking system and saw billions in its assets frozen or seized abroad.

According to Jim O’Neill, the former chairman of Goldman Sachs, and other experts, BRICS could in time and under certain circumstances challenge the status of the US dollar as the global reserve currency.

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