Iran and Saudi Arabia are among six nations invited Thursday to join the BRICS bloc of developing economies.
United Arab Emirates, Argentina, Egypt and Ethiopia are also set to join the bloc from 2024.
The announcement was made at the BRICS summit in Johannesburg by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, whose country is the current BRICS chair.
BRICS is currently made up of the emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Those five members agreed at this week’s summit to expand the bloc.
It’s the second time that BRICS has decided to expand. The bloc was formed in 2009 by Brazil, Russia, India and China. South Africa was added in 2010. The BRICS bloc represents around 40 per cent of the world’s population and contributes more than a quarter of global GDP.
Three of the group’s other leaders are attending the summit and were present alongside Ramaphosa for the announcement, including Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Russian President Vladimir Putin did not travel to the summit after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for him in March for the abduction of children from Ukraine.
He has participated in the summit virtually, while Russia was represented at the announcement in Johannesburg by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.