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Nigeria Joining BRICS: Another Step Towards Independence?

One of the most discussed news events in Nigerian media in recent weeks was the official visit of Foreign Minister Yusuf Tuggar to Russia, during which he hinted at his country’s possible intentions to join BRICS.

It’s pertinent to note that earlier the Vice President of Nigeria Kashim Shettima attended another BRICS summit which was held in Johannesburg in August 2023.

Joining the powerful economic bloc would allow Abuja to raise its prestige and status both on the continent and in the global political arena. Nigeria is one of the largest countries and one of the strongest economies in Africa but its foreign policy is mostly limited to cooperation and interaction with its neighbors. Being a part of BRICS Abuja would expand its economic ties, boost political weight beyond the continent as well as cooperate directly with the world’s leading powers. BRICS’ members, in turn, would have to take Nigeria’s interests into account.

Membership in the organization also could help Abuja to restore its reputation somewhat damaged by the background of the recent events in the Sahel and the crisis within ECOWAS, which Nigeria failed to resolve timely.

Abuja has to constantly balance, trying to maintain warm relations with both the West and the BRICS members, which makes it difficult to maintain stable foreign policy. However, joining BRICS which is gradually turning into an alternative to pro-Western G7, would not only open new political and economic horizons for Nigeria, but also help it to decide which group of countries it belongs to: those supporting multipolar and independent world, or those depending on Washington’s will and orders.