World·Nothing is Foreign

BRICS nations take on U.S. dollar, Western dominance

On Nothing is Foreign, we look at how the BRICS alliance of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa could shift power — and why some see it with both promise and skepticism.

Leaders from Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa will meet in August

The ministers line up outside on a tiled deck. The mountains of Cape Town are seen in the background.
Ma Zhaoxu, deputy minister of foreign affairs minister of China (left), Mauro Viera, minister of foreign affairs of Brazil (second left), Naledi Pandor, South African minister of international relations and cooperation (centre), Sergei Lavrov, minister of foreign affairs of Russia (second right), and Subrahmanyam Jaishanker, minister of foreign affairs of India, pose for photos at the BRICS Foreign Ministers Meeting on June 1 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Rodger Bosch/AFP via Getty Images)

The BRICS nations, a group of growing economies including: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, are reasserting themselves on the global stage.

The alliance is not new, but it has gained more attention in the last year because none of the countries have taken part in sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

Supporters of the BRICS alliance say a multipolar world is what's needed right now given rising geopolitical tensions, insecurity, and inequality. They are calling for power to be decentralized from Western countries like the U.S. and the U.K.

Foreign ministers from each of those nations met last week to discuss their priorities: the possible creation of an alternative currency to the U.S dollar, the growth of their alternative to the World Bank, called the New Development Bank, and the likelihood of more nations joining the group.

South Africa is set to hold a summit of BRICS heads of state in August. This week, we explore what the group stands for, why a non-Western power bloc is appealing to many countries in the Global South, and the skepticism around the alliance.


  • Chidochashe Nyere, post-doctoral research fellow at the Institute of Pan-African Thought and Conversation at the University of Johannesburg.

Nothing is Foreign, a podcast from CBC News and CBC Podcasts, is a weekly trip to where the story is unfolding. It's hosted by Tamara Khandaker.