September 26, 2023

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Brics to add Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and UAE as new members

Brics members have agreed to admit six more countries – Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – to the bloc, strengthening the group as it faces a world order dominated by the United States and its Western allies.

In a press briefing attended by Brics leaders, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, the current chair of Brics, said the six countries would become full members in 2024.

He said the five Brics countries Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – had reached an agreement on the guiding principles, standards, criteria and procedures of the expansion process, which had been under discussion for a while.

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Ramaphosa said more countries had expressed interest in joining the bloc, and Brics leaders had tasked their foreign ministers with developing criteria for admitting new members and a list of prospective partner countries.

According to Ramaphosa, Brics members noted there was global momentum for the use of local currencies, alternative financial arrangements and alternative payment systems.

“As Brics, we are ready to explore opportunities for improving the stability, reliability and fairness of the global financial architecture,” he said.

The leaders of the emerging economies said they were ready to explore the use of local currencies.

Brics finance ministers and central bank governors will discuss the idea and are expected to report to the leaders at the next summit.

Chinese President Xi Jinping called the expansion “historic” and said it would bring “vigour” to the bloc.

“This membership expansion is historic, it shows the determination of these countries for unity and cooperation with the broader developing countries,” Xi said on Thursday at the Brics Summit in Johannesburg.

He said the admission of new full members was in line with the expectations of the international community and the common interests of emerging markets and developing countries.

“The expansion is also a new starting point for Brics cooperation. It will bring new vigour to the Brics cooperation mechanism,” he said.

“I am confident that as long as we work with a common purpose, there is a lot that Brics cooperation can achieve and the future will be bright for Brics countries.”

Xi urged Brics members to work together to “write a new chapter” for emerging market countries and developing countries working together.

Ramaphosa said during the summit – the first to be held in person since the Covid-19 pandemic – that Brics members “shared our vision of Brics as a champion of the needs and concerns of the people of the Global South”.

He said those issues included the need for beneficial economic growth, sustainable development and reform of multilateral systems.

“We are concerned about ongoing conflicts in many parts of the world. We stress our commitment to the peaceful resolution of differences and disputes through dialogue and inclusive consultation,” Ramaphosa said.

More to follow…

This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice reporting on China and Asia for more than a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP’s Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2023 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

Copyright (c) 2023. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

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