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Nigeria delays joining BRICS for two years

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By Mercy Kelani

This was after experts proposed the country’s inclusion in the BRICS group.

The standing of Nigeria as an economic powerhouse in West Africa is evident, as it currently ranks third in the region, only behind Egypt and South Africa. Despite experts proposing Nigeria’s inclusion in the BRICS group, which aims to enhance economic collaboration among emerging economies like Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, Nigeria has decided to delay such a decision for at least two years. The process for determining ascension was typically decided through consensus during the most recent BRICS summit.

In August 2023, six additional countries were welcomed as new members of BRICS during the 15th annual summit held in South Africa. These countries include Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. It was argued that it was imperative for Nigeria, a representative of developing nations, to become a part of BRICS due to the prevailing global shift in economic power. According to him, BRICS has surpassed the G7 bloc (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom, and the United States) in terms of total global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) based on Purchasing Power Parity (PPP).

Trading advantages within the BRICS partnership for Nigeria.

During the summit, he expressed his belief that Nigeria’s economy would receive a significant boost by becoming a member of BRICS, citing the country’s abundant raw materials and human resources as strong factors that position Nigeria as a potential world power. BRICS stated that in 2023, the combined GDP of their members represents 31.5% of the global GDP, surpassing the 30.7% of the G7 countries. The addition of Nigeria to this group is seen as a strategic move to enhance its global presence.

Also, the country’s vast human and natural resources are expected to play a key role in this endeavour. Professor Williams Ijoma emphasized the efforts being made by the current government to facilitate Nigeria’s entry into BRICS. He highlighted the recent trip by the Minister of Foreign Affairs to Moscow as a step towards strengthening Nigeria’s relationships with Russia and other BRICS countries. Professor Maurice Okoli from the Russian Academy of Sciences, who is a Fellow at both the Institute for African Studies and the Institute of World Economy and International Relations, highlighted the advantages for Nigeria in terms of trading within the BRICS partnership.

Many believe that the group is eager to have Nigeria as a member.

He pointed out that the use of local currencies for trade among member nations eliminates the constraints imposed by relying solely on the US dollar for international transactions. Hon. Kenneth Chibuogwu Gbandi, the National Deputy Chairman (Diaspora Engagement) of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), highlighted the importance of understanding the obligations that come with being a member of an international organization. It is crucial to carefully consider the benefits and drawbacks before committing to ensure that Nigeria’s best interests are protected.

For months now, there have been intense conversations regarding Nigeria potentially joining this economic group. With Nigeria being the largest economy in Africa, many believe that the group is eager to have Nigeria as a member in order to expand its influence. Some speculate that Nigeria’s close ties with Western countries could be a significant factor in why the country has not yet joined the BRICS alliance. During the 15th summit in Johannesburg, Vice President Kashim Shettima attended in place of President Bola Tinubu and mentioned that Nigeria has not yet made a formal request to become a member of the economic bloc.

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Shettima emphasized that President Bola Tinubu would need to seek approval from the National Assembly and the Federal Executive Council before submitting an application for BRICS membership. Nigeria’s interest in joining the BRICS economic bloc was disclosed by South Africa’s Foreign Minister, Naledi Pandor, during an interview with Indian news channel WION in March 2023. According to the information available, Nigeria was one of the 12 countries that had applied to become a member of the economic alliance.

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