Historic Membership Expansion
BRICS, the association of developing nations, has recently welcomed six new members: Saudi Arabia, Iran, Ethiopia, Egypt, Argentina, and the United Arab Emirates. This move is part of the bloc's strategy to challenge an international order they deem as outdated. While this is the first expansion in 13 years, there's potential for further growth as many other nations have expressed interest in joining, aiming to balance the global scales.
Economic Implications of the New Inclusion
With the addition of these countries, BRICS strengthens its economic prominence. The current lineup, which includes global powerhouses like China, as well as Brazil, Russia, India, and South Africa, already holds significant sway in the global market. Their collective goal is to amplify their influence and represent the interests of the Global South more effectively.
Balancing Ties and Ambitions
There are inherent challenges within the BRICS consortium. Some members, like China, Russia, and now Iran, aim to pivot the group as a counterbalance to Western powers. Conversely, some nations continue to maintain robust relations with the US and Europe. China's President, Xi Jinping, heralded this expansion as a testament to the unity and cooperation ambitions of the BRICS nations.
Origins and Future of the BRICS Bloc
The concept of BRICS originated from a term coined by Jim O'Neill, the chief economist at Goldman Sachs, in 2001. It transformed from an informal group of four nations in 2009 to its current stature. The newly inducted members will officially join on January 1, 2024, as announced by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa at a leaders' summit in Johannesburg.
Strategic Alliances Within BRICS
The selected countries for BRICS expansion reflect strategic alliances and economic partnerships. For instance, Brazil's push for Argentina, or the emphasis on Egypt due to its trade ties with Russia and India. Additionally, the incorporation of oil giants, Saudi Arabia and UAE indicates their drift from US influence and their aspirations to emerge as global players.
A Call for Updated Global Governance
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' presence during the announcement signifies BRICS' rising importance. He supported BRICS' call for reforms in major global institutions, asserting the need for them to evolve according to current global power and economic conditions. However, despite its potential and vast resources, the bloc has faced criticisms for not achieving its lofty goals, with internal divisions often hindering its aspirations.
The Geopolitical Game
The expansion decision, supported by all BRICS leaders, saw China and Russia's shared aim of challenging Western dominance. On the other hand, countries like Brazil and India are striving for a multi-polar world order while nurturing their relations with the West. Brazil's President Lula, while acknowledging the geopolitical significance of the new members like Iran, emphasized that the country's importance should override its current leadership.