The annual BRICS Summit held at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg has heralded a historic expansion of the bloc, welcoming six new developing countries into its fold. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will officially join BRICS from the beginning of 2024. The decision comes after over 20 countries expressed formal interest in joining the bloc, highlighting the growing global recognition of BRICS’ significance.
President Ramaphosa, who also serves as the Chair of BRICS, explained the progress made: “As the five BRICS countries, we have reached an agreement on the guiding principles, standards, criteria, and procedures of the BRICS expansion process, which has been under discussion for quite a while. We have consensus on the first phase of this expansion process, and further phases will follow.”
Leaders from the emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa took the stage during the summit to discuss the outcomes of the 15th BRICS Summit and extend a warm welcome to the new members.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his satisfaction with the summit’s outcomes, emphasizing the significance of the expansion: “On the 15th anniversary of BRICS, we have taken an important decision to expand it.” He highlighted India’s long-standing support for membership expansion, believing it will strengthen the organization and promote a multi-polar world order. Prime Minister Modi conveyed his congratulations to the new member nations, expressing confidence in the cooperative potential of the expanded group.
Chinese President Xi Jinping described BRICS as influential nations with a crucial role in world peace and development. He celebrated the unanimous decision to include the new countries, hailing the expansion as a historic event that showcases BRICS’ determination for unity and cooperation among developing countries. President Xi foresaw the expansion bringing new vigor to the BRICS cooperation mechanism and contributing to global peace and development.
Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva emphasized BRICS’ increased economic weight, noting that the collective Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the member states will now account for a significant portion of global GDP and population.
Russian President Vladimir Putin assured continued efforts to expand BRICS’ influence globally, pledging to maintain the work already initiated. He highlighted the need for coordinated expansion efforts and reiterated the commitment to enhancing BRICS’ role in the world.
The expansion of BRICS reflects the growing recognition of the bloc’s role in shaping international economic and political dynamics, as well as its commitment to fostering unity and cooperation among emerging market countries and developing nations.