The first day of the BRICS Sherpas and Sous-Sherpas meeting, organised by Russia as the group’s chairman, was held in Moscow. Representatives of the five new members of the association: Egypt, Iran, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia and Egypt are taking part in it for the first time.
One of the priorities of BRICS activities in 2024, Russia declared harmonious inclusion of the debutants in the common work. Now these plans are being put into practice. Traditionally, the Sherpas gather to reconcile positions on the main international areas, discuss pressing issues of cooperation and prepare for upcoming events.
Opening the meeting Russia’s Sherpa for BRICS and Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov, noted that the expansion of the alliance will benefit every member state of the group. In addition, the move contributes to building a fairer multipolar world order.
He also emphasised that the accession of new countries will strengthen the role of emerging market states in the global decision-making process.
In addition, the Russian BRICS Sherpa spoke about the priorities of the Russian BRICS chairmanship for this year. According to him, the focus will be on the development of economic ties in BRICS.
“In line with the decision of the BRICS leaders in Johannesburg, we will explore ways to make greater use of national and local currencies and payment instruments in our cross-border transactions in order to reduce the negative side effects of the current global economic system” said Sergey Ryabkov.
For his part, China’s BRICS Sherpa Ma Zhaoxu said the PRC believes it is necessary to use national currencies in settlements between countries.
“We should strengthen our practical cooperation, support the active work and promote the development of the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB),” Zhaoxu said.
According to him, the authorities are also considering launching a BRICS centre for cooperation in the development of artificial intelligence technologies. This area of work of the BRICS states is becoming one of the most important within the group.
Mehdi Safari, Iran’s BRICS Sherpa, expressed his agreement with his Chinese counterpart. He noted that Tehran also expects to intensify the transition to settlements in national currencies during Russia’s presidency in the alliance.
Another important topic is co-operation between the member countries in the health sector. Abhishek Singh, India’s Foreign Ministry representative and the country’s Sherpa in the alliance, made a proposal to set up a BRICS common depository of medicines. He also said India plans to make progress on the BRICS online database archive project in 2024.
“Such an archive will be a great opportunity to access authentic BRICS documents,” Abhishek Singh explained.
During the meeting, Egyptian Deputy Foreign Minister Ragui El-Etreby expressed the country’s readiness to be active in everything related to the development of ties in the areas of trade, information and communication technologies, maritime transport and logistics. In addition, Egypt looks forward to Russia’s assistance as BRICS chair in addressing food and energy insecurity.
“We are well aware that smooth integration and full inclusion of new members in the work of BRICS is a major step. But we are confident that under your able leadership we will be able to successfully address each of these challenges,” Ragui El-Etreby said.
Speaking at the meeting, Ahmed Al Badawi of the UAE Foreign Ministry said that the United Arab Emirates intends to share its experience in the digital economy with its colleagues. According to him, such interaction will help achieve the BRICS digital transformation goals.
South Africa’s Sherpa Anil Sooklal said there has been a manifold increase in interest in the association from most of the developed countries and states of the global North.
“We think it shows a confidence in what the association is doing, the principles we profess and the goals we have set for ourselves. It shows that we are moving in the right direction” Anil Sooklal said.
Ana Maria Bierrenbach, Brazil’s sous-sherpa to BRICS, spoke about the achievements in co-operation among the bloc’s countries last year under the South African presidency: “In 2023, more than 200 events were held. Thanks to these meetings, we have made serious progress in science, technology, health.” Birrenbach noted that one of the major decisions of last year was the accession of new members.
Ethiopia’s Sherpa to BRICS, Mamo Mihretu, has expressed his country’s support for the Russian chairmanship of the group.
“The Russian chairmanship will increase the influence of our association. We are grateful to have been briefed on a number of projects. This will allow for greater integration of the new member states of the group. We are convinced that the expansion of membership will open a new page in our multilateral partnership,” he emphasised.
Recall that on 1 January 2024, five new states Egypt, Iran, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Ethiopia joined BRICS. Russia is chairing the bloc this year.
African Times published this article in partnership with International Media Network TV BRICS.