Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Ethiopia and the United Arab Emirates formally joined the BRICS group of major emerging economies on January 1, 2024, expanding the bloc’s footprint in the Global South and growing its economic and political clout on the world stage, establishing a real counterweight to the Western-dominated G7.
In August, the bloc had announced that it would be admitting six new members, including Argentina. However, the South American nation declared a formal rejection of the offer on 29 December, 2023 with Argentina’s President Javier Milei stating in a letter published by several media outlets that the membership “was not considered appropriate at this time.”
Speaking on the expansion of the BRICS, South African president Cyril Ramaphosa said at a press briefing: “We shared our vision of BRICS as a champion of the needs and concerns of the peoples of the Global South. These include the need for beneficial economic growth, sustainable development and reform of multilateral systems.”
He also indicated that the addition of the six new members is just the beginning of the bloc’s expansion process. “As the five BRICS countries, we have reached agreement on the guiding principles, standards, criteria and procedures of the BRICS expansion process, which has been under discussion for quite a while,” he said. “We have consensus on the first phase of this expansion process, and further phases will follow.”