Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Ethiopia formally join BRICS

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The BRICS group, a key platform for emerging markets and developing countries, has officially welcomed five new members: Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Ethiopia.

Their membership took effect on Monday, marking a significant expansion for the bloc originally founded by Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

This expansion comes after numerous membership requests in recent years, reflecting the growing importance and influence of the BRICS group. The Johannesburg Summit in August 2023 formally invited the five new members to join, recognising their economic potential and strategic positions within their respective regions.

President Vladimir Putin of Russia, who takes over the rotating chairmanship of BRICS in 2024, has emphasised the group’s commitment to “strengthening multilateralism for equitable global development and security.” Russia plans to host over 200 political, economic, and social events across 10 cities throughout the year, culminating in a summit in Kazan in October.

Putin has also expressed his belief that BRICS activities will have a positive impact on the international system. He argues that a growing number of countries are seeking alternatives to the US-led “rules-based order” and prefer to be guided by their own interests and those of their partners. This, he believes, will create beneficial conditions for joint development.

These goals were reiterated by Putin at his year-end press conference, where he pledged to effectively implement the decisions made at the Johannesburg Summit, including those related to expanding BRICS membership.

The addition of these five new members significantly increases the group’s economic and political clout, representing a combined population of over 2.5 billion and a collective GDP of over $16 trillion. It remains to be seen how this expanded BRICS will shape global economic and political dynamics in the years to come.

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