Egypt values BRICS' invitation to join the bloc: Sisi

Ahram Online , Thursday 24 Aug 2023

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi expressed appreciation for the BRICS announcement of extending an invitation to Egypt to join the bloc, along with five other nations, starting January 2024.

File Photo: Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi attending the second edition of the summit of the Green Middle East Initiative. AFP


"We value the trust bestowed upon us by all member states of the [BRICS] bloc, with whom we share robust ties, and we look forward to fruitful collaboration with them in the coming period, as well as with the invited countries,” El-Sisi said in a statement released by the Egyptian presidency. 

This, El-Sisi said, comes with the aim of achieving the bloc’s objectives of enhancing economic cooperation among member states.

The president added that the bloc is meant to uphold the voices of southern nations in addressing diverse developmental issues in a way that supports the rights and interests of developing countries.

South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa announced earlier on Thursday that the BRICS Club of Emerging Nations would welcome six new members, including Egypt, Argentina, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE.

The membership will take effect starting 1 January, Ramaphosa told the BRICS summit held in Johannesburg, which sees the attendance of Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly on behalf of El-Sisi.

The expansion is the first such move by the bloc, which includes Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa since 2010.

Initially formed with four nations in 2009, the bloc extended its membership the following year by including South Africa. Given the mounting interest from multiple nations to become part of BRICS, the organization is now contemplating a broader expansion strategy.

China on Tuesday threw its weight behind plans to expand the club of large emerging economies.

"This membership expansion is historic," said Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday. China is the most powerful nation in the group of non-Western states.

"The expansion is also a new starting point for BRICS cooperation. It will bring new vigour to the BRICS cooperation mechanism and further strengthen the force for world peace and development," he added.

In June 2023, Egypt officially submitted its application to join the BRICS group.

The bloc’s aspiration to create an alternative currency for global trade, potentially backed by gold, and to lessen reliance on the US dollar, is believed by experts to benefit Egypt, which has faced a critical shortage of US dollars for about a year and a half.

The upcoming membership in the BRICS could also open doors to substantial investments in the Egyptian economy.

BRICS Development Bank


Preceding the submission of its application to the group, President El-Sisi ratified Egypt's membership in the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) in March.

The bank agreed to Egypt's commitment of contributing $1.196 billion, with an initial payment of 20 percent.

Notably, Egypt's current allotment is the highest allowable for a non-founding member, accounting for 2.1 percent of the voting power.

With this inclusion, Egypt became the fourth new entrant in the bank's inaugural expansion, marking a significant step in extending the global presence of the NDB.

Established in 2015, the NDB is a multilateral development bank aimed at mobilizing resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS countries and other emerging markets and developing countries (EMDCs).

Egypt’s trade exchange with BRICS nations


The BRICS nations collectively represent a quarter of the global economy, comprise 41 percent of the worldwide population, and play a substantial role in over 16 percent of global trade, as per World Bank figures.

Data provided by the Egyptian Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) has recently underlined an upward trajectory in the trade exchange value between Egypt and the BRICS nations, culminating in $31.2 billion in 2022 from the $28.3 billion recorded in 2021, signifying a growth rate of 10.5 percent.

The CAPMAS unveiled that the value of Egyptian exports to the BRICS nations hiked to $4.9 billion in 2022, up from $4.6 billion in 2021, recording a growth rate of 5.3 percent.

Throughout 2022, India emerged as the leading destination among BRICS member countries for imports from Egypt. Egypt's exports found a substantial market in India, with a value reaching $1.9 billion. China ranked second with imports amounting to $1.8 billion, trailed by Russia at $595.1 million, Brazil at $402.1 million, and finally, South Africa at $118.1 million.

On the import front, Egyptian incoming shipments from the BRICS bloc surged to $26.4 billion in 2022, in comparison to $23.6 billion in 2021, reflecting a notable increment of 11.5 percent.

China secured the foremost position among the leading BRICS exporting nations to Egypt in 2022, with Egypt's imports from China amounting to an impressive $14.4 billion. Russia took the second spot with imports totalling $4.1 billion, trailed closely by India at the same value of $4.1 billion. Brazil followed with imports worth $3.6 billion, and lastly, South Africa with a total of $133 million.

The CAPMAS also revealed that investments from BRICS nations in Egypt surged from $610.9 million in the fiscal year 2020/2021 to $891.2 million in 2021/2022, marking a 45.9 percent increase.

Positive reactions


UAE Prime Minister Mohamed bin Rashid also celebrated his nation's integration into the BRICS as an “extension of the UAE core doctrine, which revolves around nurturing positive and cooperative global partnerships.”

“This move solidifies its position within the international economic and trade sphere as a reliable ally that spans the divide between the Northern and Southern hemispheres, as well as the Eastern and Western regions," he was reported as saying by the Emirati news agency.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed hailed what he called "a great moment" for his country.

"Ethiopia stands ready to cooperate with all for an inclusive and prosperous global order," he said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

In Iran, senior presidential advisor Mohamed Jamshidi described the move as a "historic development and a strategic success" for Tehran's foreign policy.

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