The End of BRICS—Hello GS-11

Current Events International Relations International Studies Political science Politics

By Ahmed E. Souaiaia *

By January 1, BRICS will become the GS-11, perhaps on the way to just the GS—the Global South. 

After meeting for two days in South Africa, leaders (or their representatives) of five developing nations, known until now as BRICS, invited six nation-states to join the group. Should they accept the invitation before January 1, 2024, BRICS will cease to exist, and a new bloc of nation-states will emerge in its stead—let’s call it the GS-11. The final declaration of BRICS 2023 summit does not specify the new name for the group; so we opted to call it by a name upon which there is some consensus, descriptive consensus that is: BRICS and the new Six see themselves as part of the Global South.

Since other countries expressed interest in joining this bloc of nations, it is likely that in the next couple of years, more countries will be invited to join, the basic criteria seem to focus on multilateralism and concerns for the state developing countries and treatment of the developing countries by the West and the institutions dominated by the West.

The new members, Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, in terms of sociopolitics, are as diverse of a group as the original group BRIC. In fact, the criteria for selecting them might have had in mind what distinguish each of these countries more than what unites them.

Argentina is a Latin American country that has been struggling with debt problems. The country might benefit from lines of credit that can come from the newly established BRICS New Development Bank (NDB).

Egypt, like India, has been a leader in the non-aligned nations (historic NAM–stood for Non-Aligned Movement), which is now gone with the push for multipolar world. It is also a pillar of African economy due to its location and population size, the same applies to Ethiopia.

Saudi Arabia and UAE are two nations that are sitting on large amount of cash and they have the potential to acquiring more cash by just selling natural resources–oil and natural gas, and they are looking for investors to reap more profit from that cash. Their ability to deposit large sums of money in the new bank was very attractive to BRICS leaders.

Even before joining, Iran was the embodiment of the principles that are adopted by BRICS in past summits, and especially during this summit: concern of the use of sanctions as a weapon, the virtues of multipolarity, reforming the United Nations and its institutions including the UNSC, addressing the issues related to weapons of mass destruction, and the use of national currencies in international trade and financial transactions. Moreover, Iran meets the other criteria including it being a member of the Non-Aligned Movement, its possession of large reserves of natural resources, and its geographic location bridging four continents.

The challenge that will face this growing block of nations will be their ability or inability to manage this growing diversity. This issue can be addressed by adopting new governing and policy documents; and reaching consensus on such critical documents will be difficult. However, the pressures from outside and the need for these countries to provide solutions to their member states will be a force that will drive them to act.

The future of the global order will be decided in the next decade. GS-11 will be a major actor in creating the systems and institutions of the post-Western world.


Prof. SOUAIAIA is a member of the faculty at the University of Iowa with joint appointment in International Studies, Religious Studies, and College of Law. Opinions are the author’s, speaking on matters of public interest, not speaking for the university or any other organization with which he might be affiliated.

Articles with byline express the opinion of its author(s) exclusively; such content does not necessarily reflect the opinion or the position of Islamic Societies Review or its editors.

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