The 15th BRICS summit of emerging economies kicked off on Tuesday in Johannesburg, South Africa, with the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa discussing ways to enhance economic cooperation and development among the member states.
One of the main topics on the agenda was the possibility of increasing trade in local currencies, as part of the bloc’s efforts to reduce its reliance on the US dollar and mitigate the impact of Western sanctions and financial instability.
Brazil’s President Lula da Silva defended the idea of a common currency for the bloc, saying that it would not be aimed at “rejecting” the US dollar, but would instead be used to facilitate trade between the emerging nations. He also said that the BRICS should not be seen as a challenger to the existing power structure, but as a multilateral institution that seeks to organize itself.
The BRICS summit comes at a time when the US dollar’s global dominance is being challenged by various factors, such as rising interest rates, debt-ceiling crisis, Western sanctions and geopolitical tensions. The BRICS countries have been pursuing various initiatives to diversify their currency reserves away from the dollar and into gold and other assets.
The bloc also has its own development bank, the New Development Bank (NDB), which aims to de-dollarize debt by expanding local currency lending. The NDB has already issued bonds in Chinese yuan, Indian rupee, Brazilian real and South African rands.
The BRICS summit is expected to conclude on Wednesday with a joint declaration that will outline the bloc’s vision and priorities for the future.