At a moment China and Russia have envisioned the future of BRICS as fundamentally an anti-Western bloc of developing nations, the Gulf oil powers Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have been formally invited to become members, which marks the bloc's first expansion in over a decade.
"The membership will take effect from the first of January, 2024," South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said, adding that additionally Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia and Iran will be added to the fold next year.
China’s President Xi Jinping hailed the rare expansion, beyond the current large economies of China, Russia, Brazil India, China and South Africa as "historic". He said it will "inject new impetus into the BRICS cooperation mechanism and further strengthen the power of world peace and development."
President Putin too congratulated the soon to be newest members, saying in a video message, "I would like to congratulate the new members who will work in a full-scale format next year."
"And I would like to assure all our colleagues that we will continue the work that we started today on expanding the influence of BRICS in the world," the Russian leader added. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also hailed the expansion which he said will strengthen the bloc.
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan's statement said, "the special, strategic relations with the BRICS nations promotes common principles, most importantly the firm belief in the principle of respect for sovereignty, independence and non-interference in internal affairs.”
He vowed in words before the BRICS conference on Thursday that the kingdom will be a "secure and reliable energy provider," and noted that total bilateral trade between Riyadh and BRICS countries exceeded $160 billion in 2022, the Saudi foreign minister said.
The BRICS countries have reached an agreement on the expansion of the union. pic.twitter.com/QsyYneEOb1— Sprinter (@Sprinter99800) August 23, 2023
Set up in 2009, the BRICS nations represent some 40% of the world’s population and significantly over a quarter of the world’s GDP. And now with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Iran set to enter the fold, it will have three of the world's biggest oil producers.
As for Iran's statement on it's upcoming entry into the bloc:
Mohammad Jamshidi, the political deputy of Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi, called the decision to add his country "a historic move."
"A strategic victory for Iran’s foreign policy," Jamshidi wrote on X, the website formerly known as Twitter. "Felicitations to the Supreme Leader of Islamic Revolution and great nation of Iran."
In Putin's virtual address the day prior, he emphasized that de-dollarization is "gaining momentum". He said the dollar's receding global centrality is an "objective and irreversible" process.
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As Statista observes it fresh recent analysis, Despite the aforementioned three failing to pull their expected weight, the five BRICS nations surpassed the G7 in terms of their combined GDP in 2020. That is when measured at purchasing power parity, i.e. adjusted for differences in buying power. According to the IMF, the bloc will collectively account for 32.1 percent of global GDP this year. That’s up from just 16.9 percent in 1995 and more than the G7’s share of 29.9 percent.
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The rise of the BRICS nations, while not without challenges and disparities within the group, has led to increased calls for more inclusive and representative global governance, adding more weight to voices that deviate from the policies shaped by the Western-led G7. Nowhere has that deviation been more apparent than in the response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. While the G7 condemned the attack and imposed strict sanctions on Russia, none of the BRICS members have denounced Russia’s actions or joined in on the sanctions.