Saudi Arabia, UAE and Iran among six countries invited to join BRICS group
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Oil Powerhouses Saudi Arabia and UAE Among Invited Countries for BRICS Group Expansion

In a significant development, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), prominent players in the global oil industry, have received invitations to join the BRICS group of developing nations. This expansion marks a pivotal moment for the bloc, as it extends its membership for the first time in over a decade.

Expanding Membership: Beyond Oil Industry Giants

The recent annual summit held in Johannesburg confirmed that the BRICS group has extended invitations not only to Saudi Arabia and the UAE but also to Iran, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Argentina. These invitations have been welcomed by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, underscoring the inclusive growth strategy of the group.

Awaiting Details: Saudi Arabia’s Decision

Prince Faisal bin Farhan, the Saudi Foreign Minister, expressed that Saudi Arabia is keenly awaiting further information from the BRICS group regarding the terms and conditions of membership. The Kingdom intends to make a well-informed decision based on these details.

Diverse Membership and Commencement Date

All six of the newly invited countries have already indicated their interest in joining BRICS. The current BRICS membership comprises Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. The formal initiation of the new memberships is scheduled for January 1, 2024, as officially announced by President Ramaphosa.

Global Influence and Collaboration: BRICS’ Expanding Horizon

Russian President Vladimir Putin conveyed his congratulatory message to the incoming BRICS members through a recorded statement. Putin emphasized the bloc’s expanding global influence and affirmed the commitment to strengthen BRICS’ impact on the global stage.

Historic Collaboration for Development1

Chinese President Xi Jinping characterized the expansion as a “historic” move that mirrors the bloc’s dedication to fostering collaboration among developing nations. Jinping highlighted the potential for this expansion to invigorate cooperation mechanisms within BRICS and contribute to global peace and development.

Strengthening the Bloc: Indian Prime Minister’s Perspective

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed the expansion, affirming that India has consistently believed that the addition of new members would enhance the collective strength of the BRICS group.

Economic Cooperation and Strategic Significance

The Saudi Foreign Minister, in a discussion with Al Arabiya, emphasized BRICS’ role in reinforcing economic cooperation, particularly with nations of the Global South. The minister underlined the strategic importance of the bloc in facilitating meaningful partnerships.

Economic Contribution and Energy Reliability

Addressing the BRICS conference, Prince Faisal bin Farhan highlighted Saudi Arabia’s commitment to being a reliable energy provider. He noted that bilateral trade between Saudi Arabia and BRICS countries exceeded $160 billion in 2022.

Global Economic Dynamics and Oil Industry Alignment

The potential inclusion of Saudi Arabia in BRICS brings the world’s largest crude oil exporter into alignment with China, the largest oil importer. Additionally, both Saudi Arabia and Russia, both members of the OPEC+ group, would collaborate within this new economic bloc, potentially influencing their joint oil production efforts.

Challenges and Debates Amid Expansion

As the BRICS group expands, discussions surrounding de-dollarization and the prospect of a common currency gain prominence. However, experts acknowledge the complexities associated with realizing a common currency, prompting debates about its feasibility.

Geopolitical Dynamics and Expansion Implications

This expansion unfolds against the backdrop of rising tensions between certain BRICS members, particularly Russia and China, and Western nations. The inclusion of countries with confrontational stances toward the West, notably Iran, prompts contemplation about the potential direction of the bloc’s trajectory.

Enduring Concept and Future Directions

Emerging from economist Jim O’Neill’s concept to describe crucial emerging markets, the BRICS group has endured despite differences in political and economic systems among its members. Nonetheless, some experts question the practical outcomes of admitting additional countries into the bloc.

BRICS’ Evolution: Milestones and Collaborative Initiatives

BRICS held its inaugural summit in 2009 with four founding members and expanded to include South Africa in 2010. A significant milestone was the establishment of the New Development Bank in 2015, exemplifying the bloc’s collaborative initiatives.

Appreciation and Aspirations: UAE and Egypt’s Response

Expressing appreciation, UAE President Mohamed bin Zayed al Nahyan welcomed the UAE’s inclusion in the group. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi highlighted Egypt’s eagerness to strengthen economic cooperation and amplify the voice of the Global South through its BRICS membership.