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MENA: BRICS Expansion is a Win–Win

Philippe Amarante

Philippe Amarante

Philippe Amarante is the Head of Middle East at Henley & Partners.

Historically, the BRICS bloc has boosted economies and development among its members, shifting global economic power to emerging markets and away from the West. The expansion in 2024 to include five Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries has added economic heft to BRICS and offers the opportunity for important investment and investment migration possibilities in the Middle East and beyond. The extended BRICS community will enhance opportunities in the investment migration sector from a capital and talent attraction perspective, both for investors seeking investment migration solutions to access BRICS member states and those within BRICS countries looking to improve their global access and passport power.

The historic role of BRICS in the global economy

Formed in the mid-2000s, BRICS has been representing an association of five major emerging economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. The group aims to enhance economic cooperation and development among its members. Collectively, these nations encompass a significant portion of the world’s population and a substantial share of global gross domestic product, making them influential players in the global economy. BRICS is notable for its role in shifting economic power from traditional Western economies towards emerging markets. The group advocates for reform in global economic governance, striving for greater representation of developing countries in international financial institutions. Over the years, BRICS has expanded its focus to include issues such as sustainable development, climate change, and political cooperation, aiming to address common challenges and promote the interests of emerging economies on the world stage.

Digital composite of Middle Eastern businessman looking ahead contemplatively and a sprawling city

Political and economic importance of MENA countries endorsed by joining BRICS

In 2024, the BRICS organization enjoys a significant increase in its membership with Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE joining. This is likely to enhance the gravitational pull of the Middle East in other BRICS countries, further catalysing inbound investments paired with MENA-specific migration opportunities.

The inclusion of MENA countries in the BRICS bloc is not just a political realignment but a recognition of their growing economic stature. The region, historically pivotal due to its energy resources, is now asserting a more diversified economic role. For the MENA countries that have recently joined, BRICS membership offers a platform to showcase their economic potential and engage more assertively in global economic discussions, thereby strengthening the non-oil sector as well as deepening economic ties with the BRICS community. On the back of this, business activities will increase and the people driving businesses will require efficient processes to move freely between BRICS countries.

Carefully planned investment migration programs can yield significant gains

Investment migration can serve as a powerful mechanism to enable individual connectedness and economic diversification in the MENA region. By attracting more residents, and therefore more capital, key sectors such as real estate, renewable energy, technology, and tourism will flourish. An influx of investment and skilled individuals can significantly contribute to the region’s economic transformation. The rise of the UAE is testament to this.

However, the effective implementation of investment migration in principle, and of programs, requires an understanding of the region’s unique socio-political landscape. Designing programs that are sensitive to these nuances, while adhering to international norms and standards, is essential for their success. This approach can help mitigate potential risks and ensure the programs’ sustainability.

For investors worldwide, MENA’s participation in BRICS opens a realm of possibilities beyond the region. It offers access to a fast-growing market, strategic geographic positioning, and unique cultural and business environments. It should be noted that Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE already have residence or citizenship by investment programs in place, which are likely to enjoying even more appeal with their joining the BRICS community.

Following the huge demand for the UAE’s golden visa, very prominently via the acquisition of property for no less than USD 550,000, it can be expected that Egypt Citizenship by Investment Program will continue to grow in popularity as well. The importance of investment migration in Egypt is also manifested by the notable rise in enquiries Henley & Partners received from Egyptian investors of more than 32% in 2023 compared to 2022.

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