The leaders of the BRICS bloc, the leading developing countriesthey called six of the nine largest oil producers countries in the world to join the bloc from January 1, 2024, reports Bloomberg.

BRICS called Saudi Arabia, Iran, Ethiopia, Egypt, Argentina and the United Arab Emirates to join, in a move aimed at boosting the influence of the bloc pledged to defend the “Global South”.

Expansion could also pave the way for dozens of interested countries seeking BRICS membershipcurrently Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, at a time when geopolitical polarization is fueling efforts by Beijing and Moscow to forge it a viable counterweight to the West.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is hosting the BRICS leaders’ summit, announced on Thursday that the new candidates would be admitted as members on January 1, 2024.

With this meeting, BRICS is starting a new chapter,” Ramaphosa said during a joint press conference of the leaders of the five countries currently participating in the group.

The enlargement debate was at the top of the agenda at the three-day summit in Johannesburg. And while all BRICS members have publicly expressed support for expanding the bloc, there have been disagreements among leaders over how much and how fast.