The BRICS economic group of emerging countries has invited Saudi Arabia, Iran, Ethiopia, Egypt, Egypt, Argentina, and the United Arab Emirates to join it, a move aimed at strengthening its influence.
Enlargement could also pave the way for dozens of other countries to join the group, which currently includes Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.
The accession of the new countries was announced by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, host of the BRICS summit which ended on Thursday.
The new members will be officially admitted on 1 January 2024. Ramaphosa and Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva left open the possibility of new members joining in the future.
“We have unanimity in the first phase of this enlargement process and other phases will follow,” Ramaphosa told a press conference. “The BRICS are starting a new chapter in their quest to build a world that is fair, a world that is also inclusive and prosperous,” he said.
Lula said the interest of other countries to join the BRICS shows how timely the pursuit of a new global economic order is.
“We will remain open to new members,” Lula told the press conference in Johannesburg.
The Brazilian president also said the promises of globalisation had failed, adding that it was time to breathe new life into cooperation with developing countries as “there is a risk of nuclear war”, in an apparent reference to rising tensions between Russia and the West over the war in Ukraine.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said before leaving for an official visit in Greece that the expansion of BRICS should set an example for other global institutions established in the 20th century that are now considered obsolete.
“The enlargement and modernisation of BRICS is a message that all institutions in the world need to be shaped according to changing times,” he said.
The BRICS enlargement will breathe new life into the grouping’s cooperation mechanism, Chinese President Xi Jinping said.
It is a historic enlargement, which reflects the BRICS countries’ determination for unity and cooperation with other developing countries, Xi Jinping said.
“This enlargement meets the expectations of the international community and serves the common interests of emerging markets and developing countries,” he added.
Xi also said the BRICS “are all influential countries and bear important responsibilities for global peace and development”.