by Ralph T Niemeyer
Following the 15th annual BRICS summit, which was held in Johannesburg, South Africa this week, the bloc of five major emerging economies has announced the admission of six new members. Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Argentina and the United Arab Emirates are set to formally join the group on January 1, 2024 to expand the bloc’s footprint in the Global South and grow its economic and political clout on the world stage, establishing a real counterweight to the Western-dominated G7.
The new bloc will represent roughly 46 percent of the world population, account for 29 percent of the world’s gross domestic product in nominal terms and 37 percent of global GDP at purchasing power parity. Interestingly, the new additions don’t move the needle too much in either category, as the new BRICS which will continue to be dominated by China and India, both in terms of population and economically.
Combined, the six new members will account for roughly 10 percent of the group’s aggregate GDP, as Saudi Arabia is the only trillion dollar economy among the new entrants.
“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,” South African president Cyril Ramaphosa said at a press briefing announcing the outcomes of the summit. 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.”