The expansion of BRICS is now a reality

XV BRICS Summit Open Plenary Session at the Sandton Convention Centre. 23/08/2023. Picture: Jairus Mmutle / GCIS

XV BRICS Summit Open Plenary Session at the Sandton Convention Centre. 23/08/2023. Picture: Jairus Mmutle / GCIS

Published Aug 24, 2023


Johannesburg - The expansion of the BRICS has become a reality after months of speculation.

During a media briefing at the Sandton Convention Centre on Thursday, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the five countries of the BRICS bloc – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – had agreed to expand the bloc.

Countries that have been accepted into the BRICS fold include Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

More than 40 countries have shown interest in joining BRICS as full members.

Ramaphosa said the country had been accepted as part of the first phase of expansion.

It is expected that further expansion will be made next year after the BRICS summit in Russia.

Ramaphosa said all his counterparts – Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was communicating virtually, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Brazilian President Lula Da Silva, Chinese President Xi Jinping and himself – had deliberated on various issues, with expansion being agreed upon through a declaration signed by all.

Ramaphosa, who made the announcement, said all the leaders had been able to find consensus in order to arrive at the first phase of expansion.

“This summit appreciates the efforts made in sports and cultural exchanges on issues of mutual interest that underlie our mutual interests. BRICS is an equal partnership of countries for a better world.

“We have reached an agreement on the guiding criteria for the expansion process, which is the first phase of the expansion process. Other phases of expansion will follow,” he said.

Xi said he welcomed the expansion of the political and economic bloc.

“BRICS is a formation made up of countries with formidable influence who shoulder responsibilities to mobilise for world peace and development,” Xi said.

“We have had exchanges on this, reached a broad consensus and adopted fruitful outcomes after BRICS leaders agreed to invite these countries as official members of BRICS.

“This expansion shows unity and comes as a new starting point for collaboration. I am confident that a lot can be achieved and that the future of BRICS countries is bright.”

Modi said it would add a new impetus to global politics and “strengthen the move towards a multipolar world”.

“I am pleased that our BRICS teams have agreed on guiding principles and standard criteria for expansion, and on this basis, we welcome all the countries that have joined BRICS,” Modi said.

Da Silva said the relevance of BRICS was confirmed by the growing interest of other countries in wanting to join the group.

“As Ramaphosa said, it is a great pleasure that Brazil welcomes the new members. Now the GDP of the BRICS is going to be up to 37% of the world’s GDP. In terms of purchasing power and 46% in terms of the world population,” Da Silva said.

He said BRICS would continue to be open to members and approve criteria and procedures for future members.

Putin said it had been challenging, and he thanked Ramaphosa for showing diplomatic mastery as they negotiated various positions, including the expansion.

“I would like to congratulate the new BRICS members who will start their full membership next year. We will establish the relevant rules and procedures so that the BRICS continue to grow,” said Putin.

The Star