On 24 October 2023 the third edition of the FES Ethiopia-IPSS Breakfast Meeting took place in Addis Ababa to explore the economic and geopolitical ramifications of the country's recent admission into the BRICS alliance. Diplomats, civil society representatives, researchers, experts, and members of the international community took actively part in this interesting discussion.
In the beginning there was a European and German perspective on the BRICS enlargement presented. This revealed diverse interpretations, from the support for the need of a changed global order to ideological interpretations, like e.g. the BRICS+ rivalry with the G7 or the interpretation of the BRICS+ as a project dominated by Russia and China opposing western led liberal order.
Discussion on Ethiopia’s BRICS-membership, however, underscored the country’s high expectations for the immense economic potential of the BRICS partnership, particularly in terms of sharing good practices and capacity building. Participants emphasized that the decision to join BRICS was not ideologically driven and would not impact Ethiopia's existing relationships, particularly with Western nations. Rather, it was seen as a way to maximize economic opportunities, create win-win partnerships and development. Recognizing that Ethiopia is still in the preparatory stages of its BRICS membership, participants mentioned the importance of adopting policies that promote trade liberalization, investment facilitation, and fiscal stability.
In general, the participants agreed on the need to foster a more inclusive and fair global order coinciding with ongoing discussions in Europe and elsewhere. Thus, the breakfast meeting proved to be highly fruitful, fostering a dynamic exchange of ideas concerning the challenges that lie ahead, viable remedies, prospects for Ethiopia, and strategies to address international responses.