Major emerging market nations are preparing to invite top oil exporter Saudi Arabia and several other countries to join their bloc in a push to expand its global influence.

Leaders from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa agreed to expand their Brics group at a summit being held this week in Johannesburg. It will be the first expansion since 2010.

Egypt is another nation being invited to join, along with others in the Middle East although the list was still under discussion late Wednesday, people familiar with the talks said, declining to be identified because the discussions are private.

Members have said a bigger group could help counter the dominance of the Group of Seven in world affairs.

The push for expansion was largely driven by China but had the backing of Russia and South Africa. India was concerned a bigger Brics would transform the group into a mouthpiece for China, while Brazil was worried about alienating the West.

Saudi Arabia and Egypt have not publicly stated their position on potentially joining Brics, although Riyadh sent a delegation to the meeting.

More than 20 nations from the Global South had formally requested to join ahead of the summit.

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An expanded Brics including Saudi Arabia and Indonesia would account for 44% of the global economy by 2040 — out-rivaling the Group of Seven’s gross domestic product predicted share of 21% as forecast by Bloomberg Economics.

© 2023 Bloomberg

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