BRICS: Jim O’Neill Says Saudi Arabia Entry Would be a ‘Big Deal’

Joshua Ramos

With the BRICS Summit fast approaching, economist Jim O’Neill says that Saudi Arabia joining the economic alliance would be a “big deal.” Specifically, speaking with Bloomberg, O’Neill discussed expansion and why Saudi Arabia stands out as the most significant inclusion.

The two-day summit is set to see the bloc discuss possible expansion. Moreover, Saudi Arabia has long been viewed as a popular candidate to be included. Specifically because of the oil sales that would move away from the US dollar. Opting to trade in local currencies, aligning with BRICS policies.

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Source: Reuters

Also Read: World Leaders Head to South Africa to Attend BRICS Summit

Jim O’Neill Notes Importance of Saudi Arabia Joining BRICs

In 2001, Jim O’Neill, an economist with Goldman Sachs, coined the term BRIC. Then he was referring to a group of economists with tremendous potential, referring to Brazil, Russia, India, and China. The group then introduced South Africa, officially becoming BRICS, an economic alliance rooted in the interests of the global south.

Now, with the 2023 BRICS annual summit nearly upon us, Jim O’Neill says Saudi Arabia’s potential inclusion into the bloc would be a “big deal.” Specifically, speaking to Bloomberg, O’Neill shared his thoughts on why the country could have such an impact on the economic alliance.

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Source: CNBC

Also Read: BRICS Summit Already Impacting Local Currencies

“The first thing is whether they then start actually pricing the oil in all these local currencies and not in the dollar,” O’Neill said. Subsequently, pointing out how the presence of Saudi Arabian oil sales could continue the bloc’s de-dollarization efforts.

However, O’Neill was candid about his thoughts on expansion outside of Saudi Arabia. “They’ve had enough difficulty trying to agree just between the five of them,” he stated. “So beyond the admittedly hugely powerful symbolism, I’m not quite sure what having a lot more countries in there is going to achieve.”

There have reportedly been more than 20 formal applications to join the bloc prior to the summit. Moreover, with more than 40 heads of state attending the event, many will hope to join the ranks of the bloc. Yet, how many are actually approved remains to be seen.