The BRICS group, composed of 5 major emerging economies, including Brazil, Russia, India China, and South Africa, has made waves in the international arena since its inception. However, during the recent summit in Johannesburg, this dynamic alliance took a step forward by inviting six more nations to join its ranks, reshaping the global landscape and challenging the dominance of Western powers.
The expansion includes Iran, Saudi Arabia, the UAE (United Arab Emirates), Egypt, Argentina, and Ethiopia. Iran’s inclusion highlights its growing economic and political ties with non-Western powers, strengthening its position in an era of geopolitical tension. Yet, this move also raises concerns about increased tensions with the West.
Despite being longtime American allies, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have chosen to diversify their partnerships with Russia and China, adding strategic depth to BRICS. Both nations seek a counterbalance to their traditional Western alliances, and this invitation provides an opportunity for further growth in the East.
In a severe financial crisis, Argentina views BRICS as a potential economic lifeline, enhancing its markets and financing opportunities. Egypt, a significant recipient of American aid, seeks to reduce dependence on the dollar, stabilizing its economy and attracting more investments.
Once considered Africa’s rising star, Ethiopia faces internal challenges. It seeks to move away from American influence, aligning itself more closely with countries like the UAE and joining BRICS for economic support.
This expansion has been strongly pushed by Russia and China, both facing Western sanctions, and it reflects their desire for a multipolar world order where the voices of the Global South play a central role.
In existence for 15 years, BRICS has often faced criticism for its diffuse nature, which sometimes hampers its effectiveness. However, by inviting new members, the group aims to diversify its interests and reshape global governance. This ambitious move opens doors for more discussions and cooperation.
Including these six nations marks the first representation of the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) in BRICS, and the decision is seen as a response to the changing dynamics in global politics and economics. With more than 40 countries expressing interest in joining BRICS and 23 formally applying, the group’s expansion underscores its growing importance on the global stage.