BRICS Bloc Grows with Six New Members: Significance and Implications

BRICS Bloc Grows with Six New Members: Significance and Implications

The BRICS bloc, originally composed of Brazil, Russia, India, and China when formed in 2009, is taking a significant stride in expanding its global influence. This expansion involves the inclusion of six new nations: Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, set to become full members from January 1, 2024.

The expansion highlights BRICS’ aim to foster a more robust coalition of developing nations that can effectively champion the interests of the Global South on the international stage. This move comes after the bloc already expanded to include South Africa in 2010.

Over 40 countries had expressed interest in joining BRICS, with 23 submitting formal applications before the annual summit in South Africa. The selection process for the six new members was guided by consensus on principles, standards, criteria, and procedures for expansion, although specific criteria were not detailed.

The expansion’s geopolitical and geo-economic implications are substantial. While the new members seemingly lack commonalities, they all hold significant positions in their respective regions. Notably, the inclusion of Saudi Arabia, Iran, UAE, and Egypt seems to center the bloc’s focus on the Middle East. China’s recent role in mending Saudi Arabia-Iran ties and India’s currency agreement with the UAE demonstrate the bloc’s growing influence.

The new member list also carries energy-centric attributes. With Saudi Arabia, Iran, and UAE included, energy economics could play a pivotal role in the bloc’s considerations. Notably, except for Russia, the core BRICS countries lack energy resources. The expansion offers opportunities for enhanced energy trade and reduced dependency on the US dollar.

The expansion opens avenues for increased trade and encourages BRICS nations to utilize local currencies in trade transactions. It presents a shift away from the US dollar dominance in global trade.

While the inclusion of Iran signifies reduced isolation and economic potential, the overall impact on the global order remains uncertain. BRICS’ enlarged representation offers the potential for a stronger voice in global governance reform. The expansion signifies BRICS’ proactive engagement and incremental growth strategy, with potential future implications that warrant attention.

In essence, BRICS’ decision to invite six new members marks a notable move towards consolidating a more diverse and influential alliance of emerging economies, potentially redefining global dynamics in the years to come.

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