Major emerging market nations are preparing to invite top oil exporter Saudi Arabia and several other countries to join their bloc in a push to expand its global influence.
(Bloomberg) — Major emerging market nations are preparing to invite top oil exporter Saudi Arabia and several other countries to join their bloc in a push to expand its global influence.
Leaders from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa agreed to expand the BRICS group at a summit being held this week in Johannesburg. It will be the first expansion since 2010.
Egypt along with other nations in the Middle East are being invited to join, although the list was still under discussion late Wednesday, people familiar with the talks said, declining to be identified because the discussions are private.
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Members have said a bigger group could help counter the dominance of the Group of Seven in world affairs.
Saudi Arabia’s potential accession to BRICS would bolster Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s attempts to diversify his nation’s economy. An effort that has bought it much closer to Russia and China in recent years.
China is the kingdom’s most important oil customer, while it relies on relations with Russia to help prop up crude prices through OPEC+. Gulf states are keen to join major trade blocks as they seek to expand trade ties and develop as global transit hubs.
The push for expansion was largely driven by China but had the backing of Russia and South Africa. India was concerned a bigger BRICS would transform the group into a mouthpiece for China, while Brazil was worried about alienating the West.
Saudi Arabia and Egypt have not publicly stated their position on potentially joining BRICS, although Riyadh sent a delegation to the meeting.
More than 20 nations from the Global South had formally requested to join ahead of the summit.
–With assistance from Sudhi Ranjan Sen.
(Updates to add background from fifth paragraph.)
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