Johannesburg: The BRICS group of nations has decided to invite six countries - Argentina, Egypt, Iran, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates - to become new members of the bloc, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday.
The debate over expanding the BRICS bloc, comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, has topped the agenda at a three-day summit in Johannesburg ending on Thursday.
While all BRICS members have publicly expressed support for growing the bloc, there were divisions among the leaders over how much and how quickly.
Expansion could also pave the way for dozens of interested countries seeking admission to BRICS - currently Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is hosting a summit of BRICS leaders, announced on Thursday that the new candidates would be admitted as members on January 1, 2024.
More than 40 countries have expressed interest in joining BRICS, say South African officials, and 22 have formally asked to be admitted.