Six new countries to join BRICS partnership

BRICS, the alliance of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, is to admit six new members, South African president Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Thursday at the BRICS summit in Johannesburg. South Africa currently chairs the grouping. "With this summit, BRICS begins a new chapter," he said.

Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Ethiopia and Iran will join the alliance from 1 January 2024. Enlargement is a crucial item on the agenda for the three-day summit. The five countries have long agreed that enlargement is possible but have been divided over how to proceed.

Growing influence

"We have drafted a document that sets out the guidelines, principles and screening processes for countries that want to join BRICS," said South African Foreign minister Naledi Pandor, highlighting the "positive" step forward. Some 40 countries have applied or expressed a desire to join the "Club of Five". According to the bloc, this is evidence of the growing influence of the emerging economies on the international stage.

The current BRICS countries represent about 40 per cent of the world's population and aim to counterbalance the West and the G7, the group made up of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US, with the EU as a "non-enumerated member". One of their aims is to reduce dependence on the US dollar as the world's reserve currency.

The US said on Tuesday night that it did not see the BRICS nations as future "geopolitical rivals". Washington wants to maintain its "strong relationship" with Brazil, India and South Africa while "preserving" its relationship with China and continuing to resist Russian encroachment.



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