Egypt officially in BRICS: What should we expect?

Muhammed Khalid , Friday 5 Jan 2024

Egypt’s membership in the BRICS bloc officially came into effect in a landmark move this January, aligning itself with five other new members, heralding a wave of anticipated benefits for the country.

Vladimir Putin and Sisi
File Photo: Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi shake hands after a signing ceremony following their talks in Sochi. AP


Economists, speaking to Ahram Online, expressed their positive outlook regarding Egypt's potential gains from BRICS membership.

"In the short term, the trade partnership between Egypt and the bloc's countries is expected to be active, focusing on the food security file due to Russia's significant role as the primary supplier of Egypt’s wheat imports. Additionally, efforts will concentrate on boosting revenues within the tourism sector,” said economist Shaymaa Sherif.

Egypt's trade exchange with BRICS members, including founding and new members, amounts to $46.673 billion – or more than a third of the country's total external trade, according to official data of 2022 and 2023 numbers.

The BRICS countries are actively seeking to improve the settlement of transactions among themselves in local currencies to reduce dependency on the US dollar, Sherif noted.

She predicted the impact of these measures to be seen during the second half of 2024.

In 2023, Egypt signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) and an agreement for debt swap and settlement of trade in local currencies with the UAE and China, also BRICS members.

In November 2023, Yehia El-Watheq Bellah, head of the Egyptian Commercial Service (ECS) announced that Egypt and Saudi Arabia are considering the use of local currencies in trade exchange.

More investments, global influence

Economic researcher Ihab El-Gamal underscored the immediate advantages of Egypt's BRICS membership, highlighting the potential for increased trade volumes and diversification of export destinations in the short term.

El-Gamal emphasized BRICS' engagement in collaborative infrastructure projects, foreseeing potential short-term benefits for Egypt in vital areas such as transportation, energy, and telecommunications.

He also stressed BRICS nations' advancements in technology and innovation, offering Egypt access to cutting-edge technologies and expertise and fostering rapid development across sectors.

Moreover, Egypt would gain more prominent geopolitical influence as a member of BRICS, which will strengthen its influence and role in the global stage, El-Gamal noted.

On Tuesday, Russia assumed the chairmanship of the BRICS group, which now compromises 10 countries. President Vladimir Putin invited all countries to cooperate with the group, indicating that the Russian chairmanship of the BRICS group will work under the slogan: "Strengthening multilateralism for equitable global development and security."

The Russian embassy in Cairo welcomed Egypt's accession to the BRICS group, affirming the continued cooperation with Egypt to deepen the bilateral partnership between the two countries.

BRICS was formed in 2006 and initially included Brazil, Russia, India, and China. South Africa joined the intergovernmental organization in 2011.

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