Iran, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt to become full members of BRICS+

The Cradle, August 4, 2023 —

The powerful Global South bloc will add six new members in total as it looks to form a new world economic order.

Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE have officially been invited to join the BRICS group of emerging economies, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on 24 August during the closing of a three-day summit in Johannesburg.

“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 said during a press briefing alongside Chinese President Xi Jinping, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

“We have consensus on the first phase of this expansion process, and other phases will follow. We have decided to invite the Argentine Republic, the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates to become full members of BRICS,” the South African leader announced, adding that their membership will take effect from 1 January 2024.

#BRICSza | H.E. President Ramaphosa . Johannesburg II Declaration adopted . The XV Summit has adopted guiding principles on the BRICS EXPANSION.Following countries invited to join.

Saudi Arabia

To take effect from the 1st of January 2024

— BRICSza (@BRICSza) August 24, 2023

The expanded Global South alliance will significantly surpass the financial strength of western-led blocs by adding six new members, Lula revealed, saying that, from January, BRICS will represent 37 percent of the global GDP and 46 percent of the world’s population.

Earlier this year, the bloc’s GDP surpassed the gross domestic product (GDP) in terms of purchasing power parity of the US-led G7.

A combined 23 countries have formally applied for BRICS membership, while more than 40 have expressed interest in joining.

“India has always believed that the addition of new members will further strengthen BRICS as an organization, and it will give our shared efforts a new impetus. This will also strengthen the belief of many countries in the multipolar world order,” the Indian premier said during Thursday’s press briefing.

Chinese President Xi Jinping declared that the expansion of BRICS is a new “starting point” for emerging economies and a “historic” step. “This membership expansion is historic, and it shows the determination of the bloc for unity and cooperation.”

“We will remain open to new candidates,” Lula da Silva said, adding that the interest of other countries to join BRICS showed how relevant its pursuit for a new world economic order is.

“We respect the vision of the BRICS leadership and appreciate the inclusion of the UAE as a member of this important group. We look forward to a continued commitment of cooperation for the prosperity, dignity, and benefit of all nations and people around the world,” UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed (MbZ) said via social media following Ramaphosa’s announcement.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi arrived in South Africa Thursday morning to attend the summit. “BRICS has managed to bring together independent countries with the common goal of [bolstering] economic cooperation and countering unilateralism,” he said before departing Tehran.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan is also in Johannesburg for the summit.

BRICS member states are in talks to exclusively trade in national currencies, which would be a major blow to the hegemony of the US dollar. Officials have said there are plans to eventually introduce a common currency to counter the greenback.

Ahead of the summit’s start, BICS New Development Bank (NDB) chief Dilma Rousseff revealed plans to start lending in the South African and Brazilian currencies to reduce global dependence on the US dollar.

“We expect to lend between $8bn-$10bn this year … [The NDB’s] aim is to reach about 30 percent of everything we lend … in local currency,” Rousseff said in an interview with the Financial Times.

She added that the NDB would issue debt in rand for lending in South Africa and do “the same thing in Brazil with the real. We’re going to try to either do a currency swap or issue debt. And also in rupees.” The bank already lends in yuan.

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