Johannesburg, Aug 24 (EFE).- The powerful group of major emerging economies BRICS – which includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – has agreed to admit six new nations to the bloc, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Thursday.
“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,” Ramaphosa said on the last day of the 15th leaders summit of the bloc.
The memberships would come into effect from Jan. 1, 2024, he added.
Earlier, Ramaphosa had announced that the bloc had agreed on the “guiding principles, standards, criteria and procedures for BRICS expansion process.”
The leader of South Africa, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the bloc, said that there was a consensus on the first phase of the expansion process, during a joint press conference with Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, China’s Xi Jinping, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, who is representing his president Vladimir Putin.
Around 40 countries had expressed the desire to join the bloc according to South Africa, while it had received formal expressions of interest from 23 countries, including Argentina, Bolivia, Cuba, Honduras and Venezuela.
China had especially backed the expansion of BRICS as it seeks more influence in international institutions, so far dominated by the United States and Europe, amid a race for global power with Washington.
In Argentina’s case, Lula had stressed on Tuesday that it was “very important” that Buenos Aires joins the bloc.
Brazil is the largest trading partner of its neighbor Argentina.
Brazil, Russia, India and China created the BRIC group in 2006, which South Africa joined in 2010, thus adding the letter ‘S’ to the acronym.
The bloc accounts for more than 42% of the world’s population and 30% of the planet’s territory, as well as 23% of gross domestic product and 18% of world trade. EFE