The joining of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), alongside Saudi Arabia, Iran, Ethiopia, Egypt, and Argentina, to the BRICS economic bloc on January 1, 2024, is a monumental turning point in global trade and international economic relations. The inclusion of these Middle East and North Africa (MENA) nations doubles the size of the BRICS alliance, traditionally consisting of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.
Established in 2006 as BRIC and later expanded to include South Africa in 2010, BRICS aims to amplify the representation of powerhouse markets and developing economies in global forums. In addition to fostering economic cooperation, the member nations founded the New Development Bank in 2014 to finance development projects in emerging countries, lending nearly $32 billion by the end of 2022.
The addition of Saudi Arabia and the UAE to the BRICS holds promising prospects for the economies of both nations. With substantial sovereign wealth funds, these countries are poised to stimulate growth through strategic investments, trade, and commerce. The Finance Ministry of Saudi Arabia projects 4.4 percent GDP growth in 2024, and the Central Bank of the UAE anticipates 8.1 percent growth in oil GDP, further diversifying the economic landscape.
So how will this help at ground level?
Joining the BRICS provides the UAE with access to new economic horizons and avenues for diversification. According to experts, this move allows for easier access to the growth markets of BRICS countries, fostering mutually beneficial partnerships. Not only that, but it is bound to prove to be a strategic step to boost global trade for the nation. The UAE’s commitment to becoming a global hub further contributes to the development of emerging economies, and BRICS is an important addition to it.
Beyond economic implications, joining the BRICS enhances the geopolitical influence of Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Ayham Kamel, Head of Eurasia Group MENA, notes that this move creates new mechanisms for political cooperation among member nations, balancing traditional Western alliances with global partnerships.
The recent expansion of BRICS reflects a commitment to building a fair, just, inclusive, and prosperous world. As the BRICS continues to shape a new multipolar world order, the entry of the UAE and other MENA nations positions the alliance as a powerful force for economic collaboration, geopolitical balance, and sustainable development.
For the UAE, it is a strategic move that underscores the national commitment to global trade, signalling a transformative era for the nation’s economic landscape. All of this translates to an empowered economy and a happier society as a whole.
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