Russia is in favor of deepening dialogue between BRICS (an informal interstate association that includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and African countries, including through the "BRICS Plus" mechanism, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with the pan-African monthly Hommes d'Afrique magazine in the run-up to his tour of African countries.
"We support deepening the BRICS-Africa dialogue, which was launched in Durban in 2013 during the meeting between the association’s member-countries, the African Union leadership and the leaders of eight leading regional integration associations," he stressed. "This year, the Chairmanship also plans to invite Africans to the tenth anniversary BRICS summit in Johannesburg."
Lavrov recalled that Guinea as African Union chair took part in the meeting between the BRICS leaders and the heads of invited countries at the association’s meeting in Xiamen in 2017. "We believe that the ‘BRICS Plus’ concept approved last year lays the foundation for making the practice of inviting chairpersons of the African Union and, possibly, other African regional associations to the BRICS summits systemic," he said.
Russia’s top diplomat added that South Africa had taken over BRICS Chairmanship this year. "I am pleased to note that our South African friends intend to make African issues part of the BRICS agenda, discuss the key problems and challenges facing the continent," he said. "For our pat, we welcome this approach."
The ‘BRICS Plus’ initiative was put forward during China’s chairmanship in the association. A meeting attended by the presidents of Egypt, Tajikistan, Mexico, Guinea and Thailand’s prime minister as invited guests took place during the BRICS summit in Xiamen.