By John Ikani
Five nations—Saudi Arabia, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Ethiopia, and Egypt—are set to officially become part of the BRICS group of emerging-market nations starting January 1, 2024.
This was made known by South Africa’s ambassador to the bloc, Anil Sooklal, in an interview on Friday.
The development follows the BRICS group’s invitation to the 5 nations in August, as well as to Argentina with a view to challenging the current US-led global order.
Initiated by Russia in 2009, the alliance now boasts a representation of 42% of the world’s population, spans 30% of global geography, and contributes 24% to global economic production.
Having accepted the invitation, the five countries participated in a BRICS sherpa summit in Durban, South Africa, and are anticipated to send representatives to another meeting in Moscow on January 30.
Argentina, however, opted not to join, with President Javier Milei overturning his predecessor’s pursuit of BRICS membership shortly after taking office this month.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov revealed that more than 30 countries have shown interest in establishing connections with the union.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous and largest economy, aspires to join BRICS within the next two years, according to Foreign Minister Yusuf Tuggar’s statement in November.
Yet, Nigeria’s Vice President, Kashim Shettima, who attended the group’s meeting in South Africa, did not explicitly express a tangible interest in membership.
According to South African Foreign Minister, Naledi Pandor, the alliance’s pursuit of alternative arrangements is aimed at a departure from the current global power balance.