South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Thursday that the BRICS club of emerging nations will admit six new members, including Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Iran, at the start of next year.
“We have decided to invite the Argentine Republic, the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, to become full members of BRICS. The membership will take effect from the first of January 2024,” Ramaphosa told a summit in Johannesburg.
Calls to enlarge the BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – had dominated the agenda at its three-day summit and exposed divisions among the bloc over the pace and criteria for admitting new members.
But the group, which makes decisions by consensus, had agreed on “the guiding principles, standards, criteria and procedures of the BRICS expansion process”, said Ramaphosa.
Nearly two dozen countries had formally applied to join the club, which represents a quarter of the global economy and more than three billion people.
Some 50 other heads of state and government are attending the summit in Johannesburg, which concludes on Thursday.