The United Arab Emirates (UAE) interest in joining the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) led it to formalize its application for membership in 2022. In August 2023, it was announced that the UAE had been invited to join the bloc, effective 1 January 2024 (source). Its entry into the BRICS underlines its ambition to become a global heavyweight. Even so, the UAE is reluctant to move away from the US. However, the presence of China, Russia and Iran in the group could strain relations.
Key judgement 1. The UAE is likely to agree to join the BRICS in January 2024 given its recent efforts to move closer to India and China, but also Russia.
Key judgement 2. The UAE’s interest in joining the BRICS likely is to gain more geopolitical and geo-economic significance, especially in the region.
Key judgement 3. While the UAE is unlikely to turn its back on the US, the presence in BRICS of rivals such as Russia, China and Iran, poses a risk to US interests in the region.