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Faith Nyasuguta 

Saudi Arabia has officially become a member of the BRICS bloc, as announced on Saudi state TV. 

This decision follows the kingdom’s foreign minister’s statement in August, expressing the need to study details before the proposed January 1 joining date. 

Saudi Arabian diplomat Prince Faisal bin Farhan emphasized the BRICS group’s significance as a valuable channel for enhancing economic cooperation. 

Initially comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, the BRICS bloc is now set to double, with Saudi Arabia’s inclusion alongside the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Iran, and Ethiopia as new members. 

This expansion occurs amid heightened geopolitical tensions between the U.S. and China, with China’s influence growing within Saudi Arabia.

Despite maintaining strong ties with the U.S, Saudi Arabia has increasingly pursued its own path, driven by concerns about the perceived decline in Washington’s commitment to the Gulf’s security. 

China, being Saudi Arabia’s largest oil customer, has advocated for BRICS expansion to serve as a counterweight to Western influence. This development aligns with the BRICS group’s ambition to champion the Global South. 

Notably, Argentina decided in November not to accept an invitation to join the bloc. Saudi Arabia’s entry into BRICS signals a strategic move in diversifying its alliances and economic partnerships on the global stage.

In July last year, around twenty nations globally applied to join the BRICS group, which then consisted of five countries. An additional 20 other countries had expressed an interest, South Africa, which hosted its last summit, said.


This followed a statement by the then BRICS group (South Africa, Brazil, China, India and Russia),saying it was open to possible expansion. BRICS aims to carry more weight in international institutions hitherto dominated by the United States and Europe.

Twenty-two countries have formally approached the Brics countries to become full members of the group, and there is the same number of countries that have informally enquired about becoming Brics members“, said South Africa’s ambassador-at-large for Asia and the BRICS, Anil Sooklal.

The envoy cited Iran, Argentina, Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia among the countries that had expressed an interest, formal or informal, in joining the BRICS.


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Faith Nyasuguta

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