According to President Cyril Ramposa of South Africa, Saudi Arabia has expressed interest in joining the BRICS bloc, just weeks after the United States government threatened Saudi Arabia for massively cutting oil production. The Saudi Arabian Prince, Saud Al-Shaalan, responded to the threats by the US, saying “anybody that challenges the existence of this country and this kingdom. All of us, we are products of jihad, and martyrdom.”
Why it matters
Since the 1950s, Saudi Arabia and the United States have been close allies. Their relationship was based on an agreement that while the US gives military support to the gulf nation, Saudi Arabia would in return provide oil to America. But since the early 2000s, the relationship between the two countries has been declining due to the US increased oil production and transition to renewable energy.
- To further spur the existing relationships between the US and Saudi Arabia, the latter is applying to partner with two of the former’s arch political rivals, Russia and China. And nations who are leading a campaign to reform global financing, reducing the dominance of the US dollar.
State of play
While on one hand there has been no official request from Saudi Arabia to join the BRICS blocs, on the flip side, it is uncertain if BRICS is open to expanding its membership. However, if consideration begins for new members, Saudi Arabia would face little or no resistance from the BRICS members as the gulf nation shares economic and political interests with China, Russia and India.
- BRICS represents over 40 percent of the global population and nearly a quarter of the world’s GDP. And with including a nation such as Saudi Arabia, BRICS global influence would definitely grow.
- Considering the economic impact oil prices have on inflation, allocation of capital and global financial flows, an alignment of one of the world’s biggest oil producers and consumers under one umbrella is certainly a step in gaining global influence.
What you should know
Saudi Arabia, with a total population of 35.01 million people, is one of the biggest countries in Asia and the 13th largest in the world. Its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) stands at $833.54 billion, more than Switzerland, Belgium and Turkey.