South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa said today, August 24, 2023, that Saudi Arabia and UAE have been invited to join the BRICS as part of the first phase of expansion. Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Iran also agreed to join the new membership which will be effective from January 1, 2024.
“As a five BRICS countries, we have reached an agreement on the guiding principles, standards, criteria, and procedures on the BRICS expansion process which has been in discussion for quite a while,” Ramaphosa told a joint media briefing.
“We have consensus on the first phase of this expansion process and other phases will follow.”
Nearly 24 countries had formally applied to join the bloc. It represents a quarter of the global economy and more than 3 billion people.
All six new entrants have signed agreements to join China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
The debate over expanding the BRICS bloc, comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, has been at the center of the agenda at the three-day summit in Johannesburg ending today.
Expansion was met with divisions among current bloc leaders over how much and how quickly.
UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan said the country looks forward to working with BRICS for the benefit of all, and is looking forward to joining the bloc.
Chinese president Xi Jinping called it a “historic” moment that will write a new chapter for developing countries to work together with unity.
The expansion of the bloc has long been called for by China to counter Western hegemony over global economic affairs involving trade, and reserve currency.
The three-day forum discussed a broad plan to pivot from using the U.S. dollar for trade between BRICS nations and instead trade in local currencies. But no decision on this was made.
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