Title: BRICS Group Expands as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE, Iran, and Ethiopia Join
In a significant development on the global stage, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Iran, and Ethiopia officially became members of the BRICS group on January 1, 2024. The expansion of the group was initially planned for August 2023 during the 15th BRICS summit held in Johannesburg, South Africa.
However, there was a slight setback as Argentina, which was also invited to join, decided against it at the end of December. Despite this, the addition of five prominent nations marks a significant milestone for the BRICS group, which was initially formed in 2006 by Brazil, Russia, India, and China, with South Africa joining in 2010.
The primary objective of the BRICS group is to facilitate cooperation among emerging markets and developing countries. With the inclusion of these new members, the group’s influence on the global stage is set to expand even further. The combined population of the newly expanded BRICS now stands at approximately 3.5 billion people, representing a substantial portion of the world’s population.
Furthermore, the combined economies of the BRICS group are estimated to be worth over $28.5 trillion, which is equivalent to roughly 28% of the global economy. This consolidation of economic power positions the BRICS nations as significant players in international trade and investment.
However, there are differing opinions among experts regarding the impact of this expansion on the group’s decision-making and overall power. While some believe that the inclusion of new members will strengthen the group’s collective voice, others argue that it may dilute decision-making processes.
The BRICS countries hope that the expansion will lead to greater representation for emerging economies and reduce reliance on the US dollar. This notion aligns with the previous call by Brazil’s president for the BRICS nations to adopt a common currency for trade and investment.
As Russia assumes the BRICS presidency on January 1, following South Africa’s chairmanship in 2023, it aims to increase the group’s role in the international financial system and facilitate the integration of new participants. To further these goals, Russia will host the BRICS annual summit in Kazan in October, under the theme of “Strengthening Multilateralism for Equitable Global Development and Security.”
The expansion of the BRICS group signifies a significant shift in the dynamics of global governance, with emerging economies gaining more prominence. As these nations come together to enhance cooperation and strengthen their collective voice, the world awaits to witness the impact of this expansion on global economic and political landscapes.