Five countries- Saudi Arabia, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Ethiopia, and Egypt will join the BRICS group of emerging-market nations on January 1, 2024, South Africa’s envoy to the bloc, Anil Sooklal, confirmed in an interview on Friday.
The BRICS group, which consists of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, invited six other nations in August to join their alliance, which aims to challenge the US-led global order.
The alliance, which was founded in 2009 by Russia, represents 42% of the world’s population, 30% of the global landmass, and 24% of the global economic output.
The five invitees accepted the invitation by attending a BRICS sherpa meeting in Durban, South Africa, earlier this month, and are expected to send officials to another meeting in Moscow on January 30.
Argentina, however, declined the invitation after President Javier Milei reversed his predecessor’s bid to join the group upon taking office this month.
Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergey Lavrov said this week that around 30 countries expressed interest in forming ties with the bloc.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation and biggest economy, also has ambitions to join BRICS within the next two years, as stated by Minister of Foreign Affairs Yusuf Tuggar in November. However, Nigeria’s Vice President, Kashim Shettima, who attended the group’s summit in South Africa, did not show any concrete interest in becoming a member.
South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor said that the expansion of the alliance is driven by the desire for alternative arrangements to the existing global power balance.