BRICS moving in right direction, as Argentina, Ethiopia, Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates join

BRICS leaders during a walkabout at the 15th BRICS Summit in Sandton. Russia's foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, Chinese president Xi Jinping, Brazil's president Lula da Silva, President Cyril Ramaphosa and India's prime minister Narendra Modi. Picture: Elmond Jiyane/GCIS

BRICS leaders during a walkabout at the 15th BRICS Summit in Sandton. Russia's foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, Chinese president Xi Jinping, Brazil's president Lula da Silva, President Cyril Ramaphosa and India's prime minister Narendra Modi. Picture: Elmond Jiyane/GCIS

Published Aug 24, 2023


The formation of BRICS nations, which will jump to 11 at the start of the new year from the current five, will strengthen the position of the developing ‘global south’.

BRICS - the formation of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, will be joined by Argentina, Ethiopia, Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates from January 1, 2024.

The announcement was made by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa at the 15th BRICS Summit in Sandton on Thursday.

BRIC was formed in 2009 as a formation of Brazil, Russia, India and China. A year later, South Africa joined, and BRIC, became present day BRICS.

The 15th BRICS Summit held in Johannesburg, has now invited six more countries. The name will not change.

"We value the interests of other countries in building a partnership with BRICS, we have tasked our foreign ministers to further develop the BRICS partner country model, and a list of prospective partner countries and report by the next summit," said Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa also announced the adoption of the Johannesburg II declaration.

— Presidency | South Africa 🇿🇦 (@PresidencyZA) August 24, 2023

The Johannesburg Declaration II highlighted matters of inclusive multi-lateralism, global governance, human rights, peace, economic challenges and terrorism.

On inclusive multi-lateralism, it affirmed commitment to uphold international law, the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations (UN) and committed to They emphasised the UN's central role in maintaining peace, advancing sustainable development, and promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms.

In terms of governance, the declaration by the leaders expressed concern over unilateral coercive measures that contradict the principles of the UN Charter. They advocated for a more representative, democratic, and accountable international system, emphasising the need for greater representation of emerging markets and developing countries in international organisations.

On democracy, the leaders committed to addressing human rights issues in a non-politicized manner, rejecting any association of terrorism with religion, nationality, or ethnicity.

On development, there was concern over ongoing global conflicts and the leaders emphasised the importance of peaceful resolution through dialogue and consultations. They highlighted the role of women in peace processes and the need for international cooperation in post-pandemic economic recovery.

On economic challenges, they said the unbalanced global recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic had exacerbated inequalities. They called for multilateral financial institutions to play a role in building global economic consensus and addressing systemic risks. On debt, they said rising debt levels emphasised the need for cooperation to address debt vulnerabilities and support economic recovery.

And on terrorism, it was condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. The leaders emphasised the need for a comprehensive approach to counter-terrorism, rejecting double standards and advocating for the finalisation of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism within the UN framework.

Political analyst Moeletsi Mbeki, who was speaking to news broadcaster Newzroom Africa from the BRICS Summit, said the addition of six new countries was a step in the right direction and that BRICS comprising 11 countries would be increasingly more influential at the G20.

He also said the selection of the first six entrants appeared strategic.

“In Africa, Ethiopia and Egypt are big and influential countries on the continent. Ethiopia is the head office of the African Union.

“From what I can see this was a very well thought out expansion plan to include Argentina from South America, it is the second largest in the region after Brazil.

“Then Iran, which is in dispute with certain territories, but it shows that BRICS is not deterred by countries that are involved in all sorts of conflicts with Western countries.

The UAE is an important player economically and geographically.

“These are important parts of the Global South and the world. This is a very strategic decision,” he said.

Mbeki added that an expanded BRICS was a thumbs up for the Global South.

“Saudi Arabia is of course an important player. Iran and Saudi Arabia have been at loggerheads, but they are now in speaking terms.

“It was a well thought out expansion programme. It shows that BRICS is becoming the backbone for the creation of a unified voice for the Global South”.

Meanwhile, Ramaphosa told the delegates that expansion was a step towards a more equitable global order.

Jp"We endorse our expectations for the BRICS economic partnership, to generate tangible benefits for our communities, and deliver viable solutions for common challenges faced by the Global South."

He emphasised the collective vision of BRICS as a "champion of the needs and concerns of the peoples of the global south," highlighting the importance of sustainable development, economic growth, and the reform of multilateral systems.

Ramaphosa expressed concerns about the ongoing global conflicts and emphasised BRICS commitment to "the peaceful resolution of differences and disputes through dialogue and inclusive consultation."

Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin extended his congratulations to Ramaphosa for successfully hosting the 15th BRICS Summit.

"I'd like to express my gratitude to our friends in South Africa for their dedication during our collaborative efforts. Their commitment was commendable, especially given the complexities of the tasks at hand. President Ramaphosa demonstrated exceptional diplomatic skills as we deliberated on various matters, including the BRICS expansion," Putin remarked.