BRICS: The New Kid On The Block

BRICS is a group of five regional economies made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Presently, the group has a representative country from each of the major world continents except North America and Australia. The name “BRICS” is an acronym formed out of the first letters of the name of member countries: B-Brazil, R-Russia, I-India, C-China and S-South Africa.

The organization which was initially formed in 2001 with four members- Brazil, Russia, India and China was known as “BRIC”. South Africa was admitted in 2010 to change the name to the current form. The member countries are seen as fast-growing economies that would dominate global economy by 2050. The BRICS has an estimated aggregate population of about 3.21 billion and about 26.7 percent of world’s land area. The bloc has a combined nominal GDP of US$28.06 trillion (around 26.6% of the Gross World Product). In addition, the group has an estimated US$4.46 trillion in combined foreign reserves as of 2018.

The group is seen as a major geopolitical rival to the G7 bloc of advance economies. It continues to formulate and announce major developmental policies and initiatives. These include formation of a Joint Reserve Bank- The New Development Bank, creation of BRICS Reserve Currency, creation of Joint Payment System and production of a Joint Statistical Publication. Several developing economies have indicated their desire to join the group. Few among these are Saudi Arabia, Iran, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Algeria, Argentina, Mexico and Nigeria.

The group continues to integrate into a formal intergovernmental organization with annual meetings at formal summits. The member countries take turn to host these summits. The last BRICS summit (the 15th Summit) was held in Cape Town, South Africa from 2nd to 3rd, June 2023.