Five Arab countries are among 19 who have expressed their interest in joining the BRICS group, Bloomberg reported.
Anil Sooklal, South Africa’s ambassador to the group, said that the emerging market bloc of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa would meet in Cape Town on 2-3 June to discuss its expansion.
“What will be discussed is the expansion of the BRICS group and the way this can be achieved.”
“Thirteen countries have formally requested to join, while six others have informally requested. We receive requests to join every day,” he added.
China launched discussions on expansion when it chaired the BRICS group last year, as it attempts to build a diplomatic influence to counter the dominance of developed countries in the United Nations. The proposed expansion raised concerns among other members that their influence may diminish, particularly if Beijing’s close allies were accepted. China’s GDP is more than double the combined size of the other four BRICS members, according to Bloomberg.
Since its formation in 2006, the BRIC group has added only one new member, South Africa, in 2010.
In February, Sooklal said that Saudi Arabia and Iran were among the countries that had formally requested to join. Other countries who expressed an interest included Argentina, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Egypt, Bahrain and Indonesia.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has previously said the BRICS group could adopt a unified currency. “Serious, self-respecting countries are well aware of what is at stake, see the incompetence of the ‘masters’ of the current international monetary and financial system, and want to create their own mechanisms to ensure sustainable development, which will be protected from outside dictates,” he said in January.