The BRICS consortium, which currently consists of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, is extending membership invitations to six oil-producing countries, marking a significant expansion plan.
During the ongoing BRICS summit in Johannesburg, South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa unveiled the proposal for the economic bloc’s enlargement. He announced that these new members are set to join the group by January 1, 2024. The countries that have been invited include Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Ramaphosa clarified the decision, stating, “After reaching consensus among the existing five BRICS countries, we have established the guiding principles, standards, criteria, and processes for the expansion of BRICS. This expansion initiative has been under deliberation for some time. We have secured an accord regarding the initial phase of expansion, with subsequent phases to follow.”
He continued, “We have extended invitations to the Republic of Argentina, the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to join BRICS as full members. Their formal membership will commence on January 1, 2024.”
Among the six oil-producing nations, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the UAE hold notable positions as key members within the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
It is noteworthy that Nigeria, another OPEC member, is not part of the BRICS collective. In July 2023, Nigeria achieved the status of the third-largest oil producer in Africa, boasting an average daily oil production of 1,081,396 barrels.
On August 21, Vice-President Kashim Shettima embarked on a journey from Nigeria to represent President Bola Tinubu at the 15th BRICS summit in South Africa. The summit aims to facilitate discussions among heads of state regarding trade and investment facilitation, sustainable development, innovation, and the reform of global governance. The event is also expected to address issues of global geopolitics and infrastructure development, as BRICS continues its outreach efforts to leaders from Africa and the broader global south.