Ethiopia and Egypt join Saudi Arabia, Iran, Argentina and the United Arab Emirates as countries invited by the leaders of the BRICS group to join their club.
A great moment for #Ethiopia as the BRICS leaders endorse our entry into this group today. Ethiopia stands ready to cooperate with all for an inclusive and prosperous global order. pic.twitter.com/BPspm8C0jm
— Abiy Ahmed Ali 🇪🇹 (@AbiyAhmedAli) August 24, 2023
The invitation is part of moves to widen the bloc and give it the needed clout to champion the “Global South”, according to BRICS.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is hosting the summit of Brics leaders in Johannesburg made announcement.
“BRICS has embarked on a new chapter in its effort to build a world that is fair, a world that is just, a world that is also inclusive and prosperous,” he said.
The new candidates are to be formally admitted as members on Jan. 1, 2024.
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Should these countries be admitted into BRICS, it will then open the floodgate for more countries interested in joining to seek admission.
Ramaphosa and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva gave that signal of the possibility of admitting other new members in future.
“We have consensus on the first phase of this expansion process and other phases will follow,” Ramaphosa told journalists.
The BRICS bloc was founded in 2009, initiated by Russia to provide a platform for its members to challenge a world order dominated by the United States and the West.
The 1st BRIC summit was held in Yekaterinburg, Russia on 16 June 2009. Brazil, Russia, India and China are the founding members.
BRIC was then renamed as BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) after South Africa joined as a full member at the BRIC Foreign Ministers’ meeting in New York in September 2010.
BRICS is home to some 40% of the world’s population and a quarter of global GDP.
Divergent views over expansion
The bloc’s heavyweight like China believes that broader membership will give it an influential position in global affairs.
Russia and South Africa support such an expansion drive but India is wary of Chinese dominance and has warned against rushing expansion. Brazil on the other hand is concerned that growing BRICS will dilute its influence.
Already at least 40 countries are said to have expressed interest in joining BRICS with over 20 formally asking to be admitted.
Iran, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Argentina, Algeria, Bolivia, Indonesia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Comoros, Gabon, and Kazakhstan have all expressed interest in joining, according to South African officials.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the bloc’s expansion should signal to other global institutions that they have become outdated.
“The expansion and modernization of BRICS is a message that all institutions in the world need to mould themselves according to changing times,” he said.