Brics Leaders Include Saudi Arabia and 6 Other Nations in Bloc

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The Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) have invited six new countries, including Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, to join their emerging market group. This expansion represents a victory for China, which pushed for a larger bloc in order to rival the G7 of advanced economies. The inclusion of Iran and Saudi Arabia follows Beijing’s brokering of the normalization of relations between the two countries earlier this year. The new members will increase the Brics’ share of global gross domestic product from 32% to 37% on a purchasing power parity basis.

India was initially hesitant about expanding the Brics, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi signaled his support for new members based on consensus. The six new nations include strategic defense partners of India, such as the UAE and Egypt. Russian President Vladimir Putin also welcomed the new members and called for deeper economic ties, including the creation of a common currency and new economic settlement mechanisms. The Brics leaders also tasked their finance ministers and central bank governors with measures to reduce reliance on the US dollar in trade among their economies.

The inclusion of the new countries has been met with positive reactions from the UAE, Egypt, and Ethiopia, who see the Brics group as a vital platform for strengthening economic cooperation among the Global South. The leaders are committed to fostering the use of local currencies and alternative financial arrangements, although the idea of a Brics common currency as a unit of trade did not gain traction prior to the summit. Overall, the expansion of the Brics group not only enhances its economic influence but also signifies a shift towards a multi-polar world order.

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