BRICS officials during the last day of the bloc’s 15th summit in South Africa.Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty ImagesThe BRICS economic coalition of emerging markets has decided to extend membership invitations to six nations, South African President and current BRICS chair Cyril Ramaphosa said Thursday.The BRICS alliance — which is composed of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — is set to invite Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to join, Ramaphosa said in a speech published on the X social media platform, previously known as Twitter.South Africa is presently hosting the 15th BRICS summit. Russian President Vladimir Putin was unable to attend in person, likely on account of an International Criminal Court warrant that would have theoretically obliged the host country — an ICC signatory — to proceed with his arrest.”BRICS is a diverse group of nations,” Ramaphosa said. “It is an equal partnership of countries that have differing views but a shared vision for a better world. As the five #BRICS members, we have reached agreement on the guiding principles, standards, criteria and procedures of the #BRICS expansion process.”A combined 23 countries have formally applied for BRICS membership, including the six that Ramaphosa said were hereby invited. Other major African players, such as Nigeria and Ghana, have expressed informal interest.”We respect the vision of the BRICS leadership and appreciate the inclusion of the UAE as a member to this important group. We look forward to a continued commitment of cooperation for the prosperity, dignity and benefit of all nations and people around the world,” UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed said on X.Gustavo de Carvalho, policy analyst and senior researcher at the South African Institute of International Affairs, said on X that the prospective new members will not only increase the visibility of the BRICS bloc, but also provide an opportunity for coalition participants to trade with one another in local currencies.”It’s still uncertain what will happen to the group dynamics, but clearly it brings a new space for trade within the Global South. Much of the arguments in the communique reflected the collective voice on need for change of International institutions, especially International financial institutions like the world bank, IMF and WTO,” he noted.This is a breaking news story and is being updated.