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26 Mar, 2024 13:51

Africa’s last monarchy hopes for BRICS but fears blocks – media

Eswatini, which recognizes Taiwan as an independent state, fears that China could oppose its membership
Africa’s last monarchy hopes for BRICS but fears blocks – media

The Kingdom of Eswatini, formerly Swaziland, is considering joining the BRICS group with the aim of diversifying economic ties and boosting development, local media reported on Sunday, citing the southern African nation’s foreign ministry.

The political department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has made a recommendation to the government outlining the opportunities the landlocked state will enjoy if it becomes a BRICS member, according to the Times of Swaziland.

“The bloc has been championing crosscutting issues on the international stage,” the outlet quoted the ministry’s proposal as saying.

“The Kingdom of Eswatini can benefit from increased economic ties, leading to increased exports and access to diverse markets, if the country joins BRICS,” it added.

However, Africa’s last absolute monarchy is said to be worried that China, a founding member of BRICS, may oppose its membership. Eswatini is one of a dozen countries that recognize Taiwan as an independent state. Beijing considers the self-governed island to be part of China.

“If China does not object in anyways, this would be the best time for Eswatini to join this alliance, with the hope that this alliance would not influence our relations with one of our best Asian allies, Taiwan,” the ministry said, as quoted by the Times of Swaziland.

BRICS officially announced the addition of new members at its summit last summer, marking the organization’s first expansion since South Africa joined in 2010. Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, and the United Arab Emirates are now part of the association, in addition to founding members Brazil, Russia, India, and China. The expanded bloc accounts for roughly 30% of the global economy and has an overall population of around 3.5 billion, or 45% of the world’s populace.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters in Moscow in January that nearly 30 countries have expressed interest in becoming part of the BRICS group. Senegal, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe are among the African nations that are seeking membership. In a speech to the Federal Assembly last month, President Vladimir Putin said more countries want to join BRICS and other Russian-affiliated blocs because Moscow works with its allies on the basis of equality and mutual interest.