So, Egypt, you want to be a BRICS country?

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy has spent the past three days in India on his first state visit to the country. Before heading to New Delhi, though, he floated an odd — and more than a little ambitious — idea. "I am hoping BRICS would one day become E-BRICS where E stands for Egypt," he told ...

PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images
PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images
PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy has spent the past three days in India on his first state visit to the country. Before heading to New Delhi, though, he floated an odd -- and more than a little ambitious -- idea.

"I am hoping BRICS would one day become E-BRICS where E stands for Egypt," he told India's The Hindu in an interview in Cairo published this week.

It's a bold proposal. The Kremlin has acknowledged the comments but didn't seem particularly enthused about the idea, and it's unclear whether Morsy broached the subject in his meetings with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The BRICS -- that's Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa -- are an economic alliance of top-tier rising powers, the crème de la crème of the developing world. Egypt? Not so much.

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy has spent the past three days in India on his first state visit to the country. Before heading to New Delhi, though, he floated an odd — and more than a little ambitious — idea.

"I am hoping BRICS would one day become E-BRICS where E stands for Egypt," he told India’s The Hindu in an interview in Cairo published this week.

It’s a bold proposal. The Kremlin has acknowledged the comments but didn’t seem particularly enthused about the idea, and it’s unclear whether Morsy broached the subject in his meetings with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The BRICS — that’s Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa — are an economic alliance of top-tier rising powers, the crème de la crème of the developing world. Egypt? Not so much.

Let’s put this in perspective. The average GDP of the BRICS countries in 2011 (in current U.S. dollars, according to the World Bank) was $2.78 trillion dollars. Egypt? $230 billion. The country’s development isn’t exactly in high gear, either. The instability of the revolution has dealt a blow to Egypt’s economy, and its estimated growth rate for 2012 is a meager 2 percent, which places it behind four of five BRICS countries. Even as Morsy was meeting with Singh, he was sharing the front page of Egyptian dailies with the news that BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Hyundai are planning to withdraw from the Egyptian market as new customs laws take effect.

Morsy knows this, and clarified that he hopes "the E-BRICS would emerge when we start moving the economy." So it’s something of a longer-term goal. Perhaps Morsy might consider one of these starter coalitions instead? Then again, the MIKT (Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, Turkey) countries, which are moving beyond "emerging market" territory, have an average GDP of $973 billion, so it might still be a stretch. In the same interview with The Hindu, Morsy expressed a desire to be more active in the Non-Aligned Movement. It’s probably a good place to start; the NAM is far less discriminatory.

J. Dana Stuster is a policy analyst at the National Security Network. Twitter: @jdanastuster

More from Foreign Policy

An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.
An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.

Is Cold War Inevitable?

A new biography of George Kennan, the father of containment, raises questions about whether the old Cold War—and the emerging one with China—could have been avoided.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.

So You Want to Buy an Ambassadorship

The United States is the only Western government that routinely rewards mega-donors with top diplomatic posts.

Chinese President Xi jinping  toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.
Chinese President Xi jinping toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.

Can China Pull Off Its Charm Offensive?

Why Beijing’s foreign-policy reset will—or won’t—work out.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.

Turkey’s Problem Isn’t Sweden. It’s the United States.

Erdogan has focused on Stockholm’s stance toward Kurdish exile groups, but Ankara’s real demand is the end of U.S. support for Kurds in Syria.