• Thursday, May 23, 2024
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Why Nigeria missed BRICS membership

Why Nigeria missed BRICS membership

Many Nigerians and members of the international community were surprised that Nigeria, the largest economy in Africa, was not invited as one of the new members of the regional economic bloc BRICS.

However, Haruna Manta, Nigeria’s High commissioner in South Africa, said Nigeria was indeed invited to apply as a member of BRICS. But, Nigeria was not ready with its application.

The BRICS is an acronym for Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. The bloc was founded as an informal club in 2009 to provide a platform for its members to challenge a world order dominated by the United States and its Western allies.

Read also: China, Nigeria explore new avenues of cooperation at BRICS summit

There are reportedly over 40 countries, including Iran, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Argentina, Algeria, Bolivia, Indonesia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Cuba, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Comoros, Gabon, and Kazakhstan that have expressed interest in joining the forum.

The BRICS meeting was held in South Africa in August 2023, less than two months after the administration of President Ahmed Bola Tinubu was down into office. At the time of the meeting, Tuesday 22 – 24 August, the Nigerian President hadn’t appointed a Foreign Affairs Minister which is one of the vehicles to convey the applications.

According to Manta, to apply for membership in the BRICS, the foreign minister of Nigeria is required to apply to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the country that is chairing the bloc at the moment. In this case, Nigeria’s Foreign Minister would have submitted to the South African Minister of Foreign Affairs, who then submitted to the chairman of BRICS, President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa.

Mashego Dlamini, Deputy Minister, Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), said contrary to many opinions, South Africa did not block Nigeria’s BRICS membership.

Read also: What is Nigeria missing by its non-membership of BRICS?

“It was because of the change of government in Nigeria that the application was delayed. But there is still an opportunity to apply as the BRICS will be hosted in Russia next. We are inviting Nigeria,” Dlamini said.

However, Manta said he cannot confirm whether the Nigerian government has prepared an application for membership of BRICS. The last time Nigeria made its best attempt to apply was in 2013 when then President Goodluck Jonathan was to be part of the meeting in Durban, South Africa, but failed to show up even though the country had expressed intentions to apply.