The BRICS alliance announced yesterday six countries will be joining its bloc of developing economies. The alliance—comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa—invited Saudi Arabia, Iran, Ethiopia, Egypt, Argentina, and the United Arab Emirates to join starting January 1.
The bloc, currently representing 40% of the world's population and over 25% of global GDP, seeks to counterbalance Western dominance in international affairs and expand its global influence. With the additional countries, BRICS claims 46% of the world's population and more than 30% of the global economy.
The group will now include several major oil producers, including Saudi Arabia, which is the world’s largest crude oil exporter. More than 80% of international trade takes place in US dollars, and the expansion could push forward the bloc’s goal to trade in alternative currencies. The group plans to allow further expansion, with more than 40 countries expressing interest in joining the alliance.
The announcement comes at the end of the group’s 15th annual summit in South Africa and marks the first expansion since the addition of South Africa in 2010.