The BRICS bloc announced significant expansion plans at its summit in Johannesburg this week. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa revealed Thursday that six new members will join the club of major emerging economies starting January 2024.

Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates will become full BRICS members next year, Ramaphosa told attendees. The admission of the half-dozen nations follows agreement on expansion criteria and procedures.

Nearly two dozen countries formally applied for BRICS membership, which has been dominated by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa since its founding. The bloc now represents a quarter of the global economy and over 3 billion people.

Enlarging BRICS had topped the agenda at the three-day Johannesburg summit. But the group, which decides by consensus, was previously divided on the timing and requirements for new entrants.

Analysts say the expansion will increase BRICS’ global influence but could also create new fault lines as members adjust to divergent interests. Saudi Arabia and Iran’s mutual antagonism is one potential flashpoint.

The summit hosted over 50 visiting heads of state and government leaders. BRICS has gained prominence in recent years as Western nations face economic and political turmoil. But it’s success depends on building unity among an increasingly diverse membership.