On August 24, 2023, Linda Ikeji, a popular online blogger, posted that BRICS, an international grouping, which is made up of Russia, and emerging economies in the global South, rejected Nigeria’s bid to join it. This news went viral shortly after the 15th BRICS summit in South Africa, where the group invited six countries to become members.
The invitation was contained in an address by Cyril Ramaphosa, the president of South Africa, after the three-day summit, which ended in Johannesburg. The invited countries are Argentina, Egypt, Iran, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
During the closing session, Nigeria’s Vice President, Kashim Shettima, who represented his principal, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu at the summit delivered remarks. Until the expansion to accommodate more countries, the BRICS group comprised Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
Requirements and Procedures for BRICS Membership
The CDD War Room found that there is no formal application procedure or criteria to become a BRICS member. However, a member nation can either recommend another country for membership, extend invitation to a country, or an interested country will submit their application to become a member of the BRICS.
As of July 2023, more than 40 countries had shown interest in joining BRICS, including 22 countries which had formally requested to join.
We found a report that the criteria of qualification pushed by the member nations include a GDP of $400 billion and BRICS trade of $50 billion. There are non-economic parameters that require all intending members should be United Nation (UN) members and democracies.
In another report, we found that India, one of the BRICS member nation is pressing for the establishment of a well-defined criteria for the proposed addition of new members, instead of accepting members solely on the basis of recommendation by existing BRICS countries.
If the proposal is adopted, the admission and rejection of member nations— asides the recently invited countries— will be based on a standard criteria that will be established by existing BRICS member nations.
Claim: BRICS rejects Nigeria’s bid to join the bloc
Verification: ALL WE KNOW
Firstly, Nigeria’s Vice President, who represented the country at the just-concluded BRICS summit, stated that the country did not apply to join the BRICS group of Nations. According to Olusola Abiola, Director of Information in the Vice President’s office, Shettima’s attendance was part of Nigeria’s bid towards an international alliance for economic investments.
In an interview, Kashim Shettima said, “So far, we have not applied for the membership of BRICS and is mentally informed by the fact that my principal, President Bola Tinubu, is a true democrat that believes in consensus building and there are so many variables that need to be taken into cognisance. We have to evaluate so many tendencies, issues and scope that require engagement with the Economic Advisory Council, with the Federal Executive Council, and even with the National Assembly before an informed decision towards joining the BRICS will be taken.”
However, we found an interview granted by South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor with WION’s diplomatic correspondent, Sidhant Sibal, where she stated that Nigeria, among other nations, have signified interest. In the interview, she was asked, “How many countries have sent you the invite that they want to be part…” She replied, “Well, on my desk, I suspect 12 letters. And I suspect other foreign ministers have had approaches from their own region…. See, they’ve come out publicly. Saudi Arabia is one… United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Algeria, and Argentina, so it’s a growing list of Mexico and Nigeria. So, there’s huge interest worldwide. And once we’ve shaped the criteria, we will then make the decision.”
ALL WE KNOW
The CDD War Room found that even though the vice president said the country has not applied to join BRICS, we found an interview where South Africa’s International Relations and Cooperation Minister, Naledi Pandor said Nigeria had shown interest.