The 15th BRICS Summit has wrapped up in Sandton, Johannesburg, with Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates invited as new member states.
They will join the bloc, which is seen as a reinforcement of the developing world and the global south, from January 1, 2024.
This is what they had to say at the summit on Thursday.
The BRICS invitation came at a time of a deepening economic crisis in the South American nation, rocked by triple-digit inflation and a steadily deteriorating peso currency, ahead of October's high-stakes general election.
According to news agency Reuters, Argentine President Alberto Fernandez, said joining the bloc would be a "great opportunity" to strengthen the nation's economy.
Argentina's current government would like to join BRICS because of the bloc's geopolitical and financial importance during a difficult global context, Fernandez said in a speech.
"We open up possibilities of joining new markets, of consolidating existing markets, of raising investment coming in, of creating jobs and raising imports," he said.
By joining BRICS, Argentina will act as an important interlocutor and potential broker for consensus with other nations, Fernandez added.
Egypt's Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said the North Africa country was looking forward to officially joining BRICS as an additional member.
Egypt is already a member of the BRICS Development Bank, having joined the Bank in February 2023.
Madbouly said there was a necessity by BRICS and its partners to intensify efforts aimed at dealing with the current food crisis as well as develop agriculture and food processes and agriculture technology.
He also called for a need to reform financial structures that will make it fair to address the needs of developing countries.
He added that it was important to build on COP27 results and enhance the role of multilateral development banks which in turn can fund climate projects.
Prime Minister Ethiopia Dr Abiy Ahmed expressed gratitude upon the East African country being invited to join BRICS. He reiterated Ethiopia’s commitment to enhancing multi-laterism.
Ahmed said the BRICS Summit was taking place at a critical moment wherein unheard voices in the global arena were striving to be heard.
He said growing multilateralism and collectivity was essential to address global challenges and Ethiopia had always been a champion and defender of multilateralism.
While Ethiopia's engagement on an international stage has always been quite meaningful, Ahmed said the country's role in BRICS would serve as a crucial gateway between Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
Ahmed said their strategic position would be to provide BRICS with enhanced connectivity and become a hub of connectivity for the continent.
He highlighted that Ethiopia recorded one of the highest economic growth rates in Africa and showcased potential to become one the largest economies on the continent.
Speaking on Ethiopia's commitment to fight climate change, he said that by 2026, the country intended to plant at least 50 billion trees. This initiative started five years ago and by last week, they had already planted 32 billion seedlings.
"In joining hands with BRICS, I would like to reiterate our gratitude and our commitment to enhancing multilaterism," Ahmed said.
President of Iran Ebrahim Raisi said without any doubt the decision made by BRICS to expand was a commendable move that paved the ground for global expansion in the framework of justice.
He said it would open a new chapter towards justice, fairness, ethics, and sustainable peace on an international stage.
"This is the third time SA assumes the chairship of BRICS and in each of these times, the efforts of SA has been to bring together countries of the Global South, particularly in Africa, Iran commends these efforts," he said.
Raisi said the culture of diversity, rich mineral resources, friendliness, and beautiful scenery make Africa one of the best.
He added that BRICS was a symbol of change and transformation.
According to news agency Reuters, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister told Al Arabiya TV on Thursday that the kingdom appreciated the invitation by BRICS to join the group and would study the details before the proposed Jan. 1 joining date and take "the appropriate decision".
Prince Faisal bin Frahan said BRICS was "a beneficial and important channel" to strengthen economic cooperation.
The United Arab Emirates has welcomed the decision by the BRICS bloc to bring it on board.
It said it was committed to enhancing the dialogue around multilateralism.
"Our approach is to follow corporations in order to find solutions that affect our world such as climate change, poverty, welfare, education and many other economic and development loopholes," read a statement by Emirates ruler Ras Al Khaimah through a representative.
He added: "The BRICS community which presents quarter of the world's economy is prepared to play a pivotal role in shaping and setting international agenda in coming years."
He also said it was important to note that the UAE is one of the most lucrative investment partners and brings a wealth of resources to the BRICS bloc.
On the other hand Zimbabwe deputy president Constantino Chiwenga said his country was eager to join BRICS.
He said Zimbabwe is fully behind the trade bloc in its war on improving Africa's development.
Meanwhile, President Cyril Ramaphosa was lauded by the present BRICS partners for ensuring that all member states were on-board for expansion.
Brazilian President Lula da Silva thanked Ramaphosa for hosting a successful BRICS Summit and reaching a consensus on the expansion of the BRICS community.
Silva welcomed the expansion and said it would help develop economic and peace ties between other nations. He said that they have started a working group within the Global Five (BRICS) to study the reference currency for the BRICS community.
With its expansion, the BRICS GDP is now 36% of the global GDP and 47% of the world’s population.
He said the BRICS countries will continue to be a driving force to promote peace, and global multilateralism.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has congratulated Ramaphosa for hosting the 15th BRICS Summit.
"I appreciate their efforts and I would like to note as it turns out this was challenging work and President Ramaphosa showed unique diplomatic mastery as we negotiated all the positions including the BRICS expansion," he said.
Putin highlighted the aspect of mutual currency settlement.
"This is a challenging task, nonetheless we will move towards resolution. I would like to congratulate new BRICS members on the full membership that they will assume next year.
“Let me assure all of the colleagues that we will keep up with the work that we have launched to expand BRICS influence in the world and ensure practical collaboration with new BRICS members and with those who will be working within the outreach format."
He maintained that as BRICS founding members, Brazil, Russia, India and China will ensure that a "smooth process" takes place to carry out the work at hand.
Putin also noted that the countries will establish relevant rules and procedures so that the "role and importance of BRICS in the world continues to grow."
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that he was pleased that the BRICS states have agreed to expand their membership to include other countries to participate and form part of the bloc.
“India has always supported the expansion of BRICS. India has always believed that adding new members will strengthen BRICS as an organisation,” he said.
Modi said India will continue to build consensus for the countries wishing to join BRICS, adding that expansion and modernisation of BRICS was a message that global institutions must mould themselves to changing times.
He said it was an example of reform for other global institutions. He said it was a matter of pride for them that the expansion achievement is being accepted as an achievement for all of humanity.
Chinese President Xi Jinping said BRICS countries are states with "important influence and shoulder important responsibility for world peace and development."
He congratulated the new additional BRICS members and described the membership expansion as "historical."
"It shows the determination of BRICS countries for unity and cooperation with the broader developing countries. It meets the expectation of the international community and the common interest of emerging markets and developing countries. The expansion is also a new starting point for BRICS cooperation. It will bring new vigor to the BRICS cooperation mechanism, further strengthening world peace and development. I am confident that as long as we work with a common purpose, there is a lot that BRICS cooperation can achieve and the future will be bright for BRICS countries," he said.
Ramaphosa said when he named the countries during a three-day leaders' summit he is hosting in Johannesburg.
"BRICS has embarked on a new chapter in its effort to build a world that is fair, a world that is just, a world that is also inclusive and prosperous," Ramaphosa said.
"We have consensus on the first phase of this expansion process and other phases will follow."
#BRICSza | H.E. President Ramaphosa . Johannesburg II Declaration adopted . The XV Summit has adopted guiding principles on the BRICS EXPANSION.Following countries invited to join .— BRICSza (@BRICSza) August 24, 2023
To take effect from the 1st of January 2024 pic.twitter.com/OOa9uqCXqs