Egypt and Ethiopia among six countries invited to join BRICS

This is the bloc’s first expansion in 13 years.

Egypt and Ethiopia among six countries invited to join BRICS
Image source: BRICS 
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Editor’s note: This story is part of Mariblock’s “State of Fiat” coverage. Digital assets such as bitcoin are seen as competitors to central bank money. Therefore, we consider informing our audience of the state of their local currencies worthwhile.

Egypt and Ethiopia have been invited as the newest African additions to the BRICS alliance, a development unveiled at the 15th annual summit of the bloc in Johannesburg, South Africa. Argentina, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates have also received invitations to join. 

Key quote  

Chinese President Xi Jinping commented: “The expansion is also a new starting point for BRICS cooperation. It will bring new vigor to the BRICS cooperation mechanism and further strengthen the force for world peace and development.” 

Key details 

  • Full membership of the newly invited countries will take effect from 1 January 2024. This is the bloc’s first expansion in 13 years.  
  • Bloc leaders initially disagreed on how quickly and under what conditions new members should be admitted.  
  • However, as stated by Naledi Pandor, South Africa’s foreign minister, they unanimously resolved this by adopting a document outlining guidelines, principles, and processes for considering aspiring member countries.   
  • The bloc’s expansion poses the question of probable de-dollarization and the creation of a common currency among member nations. This contention has existed since its inception
  • BRICS countries account for over 40% of the world population and a quarter of the global economy. The admission of 6 new countries will lead to an increased economic output.   

What was said 

  • South African President Cyril Ramophosa spoke about Africa in an address to other leaders during the summit:
“Africa should not be treated as a continent that needs generosity; we want to be treated as equals. Even in the multilateral institutions, we want to be treated as equals. And if our equity is at the low levels, there must be ways to address it.”  

Why it matters 

  • The summit themed “BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Mutually Accelerated Growth, Sustainable Development and Inclusive Multilateralism” suggests the willingness of the bloc’s members to compete for trade in Africa.   
  • Of the more than 60 heads of state or government invited to the Johannesburg summit, at least 30 are from Africa
  • An African Development Bank (AfDB) report stated that “trade between the BRICS and Africa rose to as much as US $340 billion in 2012 – a tenfold increase from the value recorded in 2002.”