Tuesday , April 16 2024
BRICS Adds Six New Members Nations to Bloc

BRICS Adds Six New Members Nations to Bloc

The BRICS bloc of developing nations agreed on Thursday to admit Saudi Arabia, Iran, Ethiopia, Egypt, Argentina and the United Arab Emirates in a move aimed at accelerating its push to reshuffle a world order it sees as outdated.

In deciding in favour of an expansion – the bloc’s first in 13 years – BRICS leaders left the door open to future enlargement as dozens more countries voiced interest in joining a grouping they hope can level the global playing field.

Iran and Saudi Arabia were among six countries invited Thursday to join the BRICS bloc of developing economies in a move that showed signs of strengthening a China-Russia coalition as tensions with the West spiral higher.

The United Arab Emirates, Argentina, Egypt and Ethiopia were also set to enter BRICS from Jan. 1, 2024, joining current members Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa to make an 11-nation bloc.

Also Read: BRICS: Chinese President Xi Calls on China, South Africa to Strengthen Four Partnerships in Golden Era

The announcement came after two days of talks at a summit in Johannesburg involving Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chinese President Xi Jinping and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.

According to Reuters, the expansion adds economic heft to BRICS, whose current members are China, the world’s second largest economy, as well as Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa. It could also amplify its declared ambition to become a champion of the Global South.

But long-standing tensions could linger between members who want to forge the grouping into a counterweight to the West – notably China, Russia and now Iran – and those that continue to nurture close ties to the United States and Europe.

Russian President Vladimir Putin participated in the discussions virtually after his travel to the summit was complicated by an International Criminal Court arrest warrant issued against him over the war in Ukraine.

While Egypt and Ethiopia were welcomed into the exclusive club of nations destined to dominate the world economy by 2050, Nigeria was left out.

The admitted countries, six in all, are Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Argentina and Ethiopia. Nigeria, one of the more than 20 countries that had applied for membership, was not on the list.

“This membership expansion is historic,” Chinese President Xi Jinping, the bloc’s most stalwart proponent of enlargement, said. “It shows the determination of BRICS countries for unity and cooperation with the broader developing countries.”

Originally an acronym coined by Goldman Sachs chief economist Jim O’Neill in 2001, the bloc was founded as an informal four-nation club in 2009 and added South Africa a year later in its only previous expansion.

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