Ethiopia, one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies, has asked to join the BRICS bloc of emerging markets, the foreign ministry said on Thursday.
The term BRIC was coined by Goldman Sachs economist Jim O’Neill in 2001 to describe the rise of Brazil, Russia, India and China. The BRIC powers had their first summit in 2009 in Russia. South Africa joined in 2010, making it BRICS.
“We expect BRICS will give us a positive response to the request we have made,” foreign ministry spokesperson Meles Alem told journalists, according to state-run news agency ENA.
Ethiopia will continue to work with international institutions that can protect its interests, he said.
The Horn of Africa nation has the second-largest population in Africa, but its economy ranks only 59th in the world according to the International Monetary Fund and is less than half the size of the smallest BRICS member South Africa.
Last year Argentina, the world’s 23rd largest economy, said it had received China’s formal support to join the group, which is seen as a powerful emerging-market alternative to the West. The bloc has also previously said that other countries have also applied to join.
BRICS countries account for more than 40 percent of the world’s population and about 26 percent of the global economy.
South Africa said on Thursday it would host the next summit in August as planned, amid speculation it could be moved to a country where Russia’s President Vladimir Putin would not face arrest over war crimes accusations.
In March, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a warrant for his arrest for allegedly deporting children from Ukraine to Russia. That has spurred debate within and beyond South Africa, an ICC signatory which is obligated to arrest Putin if he visits the country for the BRICS summit.