Indonesia Eyes BRICS Membership at Johannesburg Summit

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Indonesian President Joko Widodo is making his debut journey to Africa to partake in the BRICS summit, a significant gathering of powerhouse emerging economies comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. The three-day event, set to take place in Johannesburg, has sparked conjecture that Indonesia, South East Asia’s largest economy, might be poised to become the latest addition to this influential group, a move that could potentially reshape the economic landscape.

The BRICS group, established formally in 2009, represents a formidable 23% of the world’s gross domestic product and 42% of the global population. Its mission is to challenge Western economic dominance in global affairs. President Widodo, however, has been judiciously non-committal on whether Indonesia will join the ranks of BRICS, leaving room for speculation and anticipation. Beyond the BRICS summit, Widodo’s itinerary includes visits to Kenya, Tanzania, and Mozambique to bolster cooperation, highlighting Indonesia’s expanding diplomatic and economic reach in Africa.

Indonesian President Attends BRICS Summit Amid Speculation of Membership

Indonesian President Joko Widodo set off for South Africa on Sunday, as he prepares to attend the BRICS summit in Johannesburg. His participation has sparked speculation that Indonesia might be the latest country to join the group.

Summit of Emerging Economies

The three-day event is a confluence of major emerging economies led by Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. "Indonesia has been invited to the BRICS summit and of course in between the BRICS summit there will be meetings with other world leaders," Widodo stated to reporters prior to his departure.

First Africa Visit for Widodo

This marks Widodo’s first trip to Africa as the leader of South East Asia’s largest economy. Earlier in the week, he mentioned that his government was yet undecided about Indonesia’s potential membership in BRICS. The group, established in 2009, aims to mitigate Western economic dominance in global affairs.

BRICS Represents Significant Share of Global GDP and Population

BRICS represents a significant portion of the world’s economy and population, accounting for 23 percent of the world’s gross domestic product and 42 percent of the world’s population.

Strengthening Cooperation with African Nations

In addition to attending the BRICS summit, Widodo will also be visiting Kenya, Tanzania, and Mozambique to bolster cooperation. Last year, Tanzania and Kenya opened embassies in Jakarta. Mozambique, on the other hand, is the first African country to sign a Preferential Trade Agreement with Indonesia.


Widodo’s attendance at the BRICS summit and his subsequent visit to Kenya, Tanzania, and Mozambique highlights Indonesia’s growing importance on the global stage. The country’s potential inclusion in BRICS could significantly enhance its influence in global economic affairs. Furthermore, strengthened cooperation with African nations signals Indonesia’s broader foreign policy objectives. However, it remains to be seen how these developments will impact Indonesia’s domestic economic scenario and its relations with other Southeast Asian nations.

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