The meeting of the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) held last week in Johannesburg did not result in any surprises in terms of new additions to the group, of which neither Morocco nor Algeria will be part for the time being.
At the 15th BRICS Summit, which was not attended personally, as expected, by Vladimir Putin, and which coincided with the death of the leader of the Wagner group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leaders of the other four countries announced the expansion of the alliance to counteract the dominance of the Western bloc countries in the world economy.
Lula da Silva (Brazil), Narendra Modi (India), Xi Jinping (China) and Cyril Ramaphosa (South Africa), the latter as host and spokesman, said that Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Ethiopia, the United Arab Emirates and Iran will become full members of the BRICS from 1 January 2024.
Speculation that Morocco or Algeria might join the group, which has grown from five to 11 members and whose importance on the international economic scene is growing, has thus been put to rest.
The so far five members of the alliance (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) account for 26 per cent of global GDP, with a combined GDP of almost $26 trillion and a population of more than 3.24 billion.
The trade of the five countries accounts for 20 per cent of world trade, yet they have only 15 per cent of the voting rights in the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
There had been speculation in recent weeks that Morocco might join the group, although the Moroccan Foreign Ministry has categorically denied this intention, since the Moroccan government does not take kindly to the aggressive nature of the demands of the South African government, organiser and host of the 15th BRICS Summit.
Despite this, Morocco maintains important bilateral relations with the other members of the group. According to Hespress data, Morocco’s overall trade with the five countries of the group reached 179 billion dirhams ($17.937 billion) in 2022, having increased by nearly 30 per cent year-on-year.
Trade between Morocco and Brazil reached 30.3 billion dirhams ($3.036 billion) in 2022, with its Moroccan surplus equivalent to about 4.1 billion dirhams ($410 million). The figure exceeds the Dh25.8 billion ($2.585 billion) that represented the trade volume in 2021.
In 2022, Moroccan exports to Brazil fell by 5.6 per cent, while imports increased by 72 per cent year-on-year.
With Russia, Morocco maintains a relationship of dependence for its fuel supplies, resulting in the fact that, of the Dh23.7 billion ($2.374 billion) in trade between the two countries in 2022, most of the Dh22.8 billion ($2.28 billion) was Moroccan imports, compared to only Dh905 million ($90.7 million) in exports, a figure that has gradually declined since 2018.
China maintains its status as Morocco’s largest Asian trading partner, with trade valued at Dh77.4 billion ($7.756 billion).
As in the previous case, most of this exchange corresponds to Moroccan imports (74 billion dirhams, 7.415 billion dollars), compared to exports of just 3.3 billion dirhams (330 million dollars), resulting in a very significant trade deficit, which the Moroccan government is trying to reduce.
As for India, trade between Morocco and India is much more balanced, with Moroccan exports of 27.2 billion dirhams ($2.725 billion) compared to imports of 14 billion dirhams ($1.402 billion). This trade surplus is mainly due to exports of phosphorus and phosphate and Moroccan fertilisers.
Finally, although bilateral relations between Morocco and South Africa can clearly be improved, trade between the two reached 6.4 billion dirhams ($641 million) in 2022 and is growing year-on-year.
Source : Atalayar