24 Aug 2023

‘China and Russia have had a big influence on which countries have been selected’: Jim O’Neill on the expansion of BRICS

Data Correspondent and Presenter

The five-nation BRICS group of major emerging economies has invited Iran, Saudi Arabia and four other countries to join its ranks – part of its plan to put voices of the Global South at the centre of the world agenda.

The announcement was made as the bloc’s annual summit wrapped up in Johannesburg.

Since 2010, BRICS has been comprised of five countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

That’s set to change in January next year, when the new recruits – Argentina, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates – would join.

Taking all 11 members into account, BRICS leaders say the club will represent around 37 per cent of the world’s GDP, and 46 per cent of the world’s population – positioning itself as a counterweight to the Western-led G7.

We spoke to Lord Jim O’Neill, a former treasury minister and Goldman Sachs economist who originally coined the acronym BRIC to describe the rising economic powers, Brazil, Russia, India and China.