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BRICS is the acronym for an association of five major emerging national economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.[2] The grouping was originally known as "BRIC" before the inclusion of South Africa in 2010. The BRICS members are all developing or newly industrialised countries, but they are distinguished by their large, fast-growing economies[3] and significant influence on regional and global affairs; all five are G-20 members. As of 2013, the five BRICS countries represent almost 3 billion people, with a combined nominal GDP of US$16.039 trillion,[1] and an estimated US$4 trillion in combined foreign reserves.[4] Presently, South Africa holds the chair of the BRICS group, having hosted the group's fifth summit in 2013. The BRICS have received both praise and criticism from numerous quarters.[5][6][7]


The foreign ministers of the initial four BRIC states (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) met in New York City in September 2006, beginning a series of high-level meetings. A full-scale diplomatic meeting was held in Yekaterinburg, Russia, on 16 May 2008.[8]

First BRIC summit[edit]

The BRIC grouping's first formal summit, also held in Yekaterinburg, commenced on 16 June 2009,[9] with Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Dmitry Medvedev, Manmohan Singh, and Hu Jintao, the respective leaders of Brazil, Russia, India and China, all attending.[10] The summit's focus was on means of improving the global economic situation and reforming financial institutions, and discussed how the four countries could better co-operate in the future.[9][10] There was further discussion of ways that developing countries, such as the BRIC members, could become more involved in global affairs.[10]

In the aftermath of the Yekaterinburg summit, the BRIC nations announced the need for a new global reserve currency, which would have to be "diversified, stable and predictable".[11] Although the statement that was released did not directly criticise the perceived "dominance" of the US dollar – something that Russia had criticised in the past – it did spark a fall in the value of the dollar against other major currencies.[12]

Entry of South Africa[edit]

In 2010, South Africa began efforts to join the BRIC grouping, and the process for its formal admission began in August of that year.[13] South Africa officially became a member nation on 24 December 2010, after being formally invited by the BRIC countries to join the group.[13] The group was renamed BRICS – with the "S" standing for South Africa – to reflect the group's expanded membership.[14] In April 2011, the President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, attended the 2011 BRICS summit in Sanya, China, as a full member.[15][16][17]


The BRICS Forum, an independent international organisation encouraging commercial, political and cultural cooperation between the BRICS nations, was formed in 2011.[18] In June 2012, the BRICS nations pledged $75 billion to boost the lending power of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). However, this loan was conditional on IMF voting reforms.[19] In late March 2013, during the fifth BRICS summit in Durban, South Africa, the member countries agreed to create a global financial institution which they intended to rival the western-dominated IMF and World Bank.[20] After the summit, the BRICS stated that they planned to finalise the arrangements for this new development bank by 2014.[21] However, disputes relating to burden sharing and location have slowed down the agreements.

At the BRICS leaders meeting in St. Petersburg in September, China committed $41 billion towards the pool; Brazil, India and Russia $18 billion each; and South Africa $5 billion . China, holder of the world's largest foreign exchange reserves and who is to contribute the bulk of the currency pool, wants a greater managing role, said one BRICS official. China also wants to be the location of the reserve.
"Brazil and India want the initial capital to be shared equally. We know that China wants more," said a Brazilian official. "However, we are still negotiating, there are no tensions arising yet."[22]
On 11th October 2013, Russia's Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said that a decision on creating a $100 billion fund designated to steady currency markets would be taken in early 2014. The Brazilian finance minister, Guido Mantega stated that the fund would be created by March 2014.[23]


The grouping has held annual summits since 2009, with member countries taking turns to host. Prior to South Africa's admission, two BRIC summits were held, in 2009 and 2010. The first five-member BRICS summit was held in 2011. The most recent BRICS summit took place in Durban, South Africa, in March 2013.[24]

Summit Date(s) Location Host leader
1st 16 June 2009 Russia Yekaterinburg Dmitry Medvedev (President)
2nd 15 April 2010 Brazil Brasília Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (President)
3rd[a] 14 April 2011 China Sanya Hu Jintao (President)
4th 29 March 2012 India New Delhi Manmohan Singh (Prime Minister)
5th 26–27 March 2013 South Africa Durban Jacob Zuma (President)
6th 2014 Brazil Fortaleza[25] Dilma Rousseff (President)
7th 2015 Russia Ufa[26] Vladimir Putin (President)
^a First summit to include South Africa alongside the original BRIC countries.

Member countries[edit]

Economic data is sourced from the most recent IMF figures and given in US dollars.[1]

Country Population GDP (nominal) HFCE Government spending Exports Imports GDP per capita (PPP) Literacy rate Life expectancy (years, avg.) HDI
 Brazil 193946886201,046,886 $2,695.9 bn $1,266.3 bn $846.6 bn $256.0 bn $238.8 bn $13,623 93.5% 74.6 .730 (high)
 Russia 143369806143,451,702 $2,021.9 bn $671.6 bn $414.0 bn $542.5 bn $358.1 bn $17,708 99.6% 69.7 .788 (high)
 India 12101934221,210,193,422 $1,824.8 bn $737.9 bn $281.0 bn $309.1 bn $500.3 bn $3,829 74.04% 64.2 .554 (medium)
 China 13540400001,354,040,000 $8,227.0 bn $1,835.3 bn $2,031.0 bn $2,021.0 bn $1,780.0 bn $9,161 92.2% 72.7 .699 (medium)
 South Africa 5177056051,770,560 $384.3 bn $173.8 bn $95.27 bn $101.2 bn $106.8 bn $11,375 86.4% 51.2 .629 (medium)

Potential members[edit]

Indonesia and Turkey have been mentioned as candidates for full membership of the BRICS, while Egypt, Iran, Nigeria and Syria have expressed interest in joining.[27]


In 2012, Hu Jintao, who at the time was President of China, described the BRICS countries as defenders and promoters of developing countries and a force for world peace.[5] However, some analysts have highlighted potential divisions and weaknesses in the grouping, including significant economic instabilities,[28][29][30][31] disagreements between the members over UN Security Council reform,[32] and India and China's disputes over territorial issues.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "World Economic Outlook". IMF. April 2013 data. Retrieved 17 April 2013. 
  2. ^ "New era as South Africa joins BRICS". 11 April 2011. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  3. ^ China, Brazil, India and Russia are all deemed to be growth-leading countries by the BBVA: BBVA EAGLEs Annual Report (PPT). BBVA Research. 2012. Retrieved 16 April 2012.
  4. ^ "Amid BRICS' rise and 'Arab Spring', a new global order forms". Christian Science Monitor. 18 October 2011. Retrieved 20 October 2011.
  5. ^ a b "Brics a force for world peace, says China". Business Day. 8 August 2012. Retrieved 9 November 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "Brics summit exposes the high wall between India and China". Asia Times. 2 April 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2013.
  7. ^ "BRICS – India is the biggest loser". USINPAC. 18 April 2013. Retrieved 17 June 2013. 
  8. ^ Cooperation within BRIC. Retrieved 16 June 2009. Archived 19 June 2009.
  9. ^ a b "First summit for emerging giants". BBC News. 16 June 2009. Archived from the original on 18 June 2009. Retrieved 16 June 2009. 
  10. ^ a b c Bryanski, Gleb (26 June 2009). "BRIC demands more clout, steers clear of dollar talk". Reuters. Archived from the original on 19 June 2009. Retrieved 16 June 2009. 
  11. ^ "BRIC wants more influence". Euronews. Archived from the original on 21 June 2009. Retrieved 16 June 2009. 
  12. ^ "Dollar slides after Russia comments, BRIC summit". The Guardian (London). 16 June 2009. Archived from the original on 19 June 2009. Retrieved 16 June 2009. 
  13. ^ a b Graceffo, Antonio (21 January 2011). "BRIC Becomes BRICS: Changes on the Geopolitical Chessboard". Foreign Policy Journal. Retrieved 14 April 2011. 
  14. ^ Blanchard, Ben and Zhou Xin (14 April 2011). "UPDATE 1-BRICS discussed global monetary reform, not yuan". Reuters Africa. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
  15. ^ "South Africa joins BRIC as full member". Xinhua. 24 December 2010. Retrieved 14 April 2011. 
  16. ^ "BRICS countries need to further enhance coordination: Manmohan Singh". Times Of India. 12 April 2011. Retrieved 14 April 2011. 
  17. ^ "BRICS should coordinate in key areas of development: PM". Indian Express. 10 April 2011. Retrieved 14 April 2011. 
  18. ^ BRICS Forum website. Retrieved 29 November 2012.
  19. ^ "Russia says BRICS eye joint anti-crisis fund". Reuters. 21 June 2012. Retrieved 5 December 2012. 
  20. ^ "Brics eye infrastructure funding through new development bank". The Guardian. 28 March 2013. Retrieved 29 March 2013. 
  21. ^ "India sees BRICS development bank agreed by 2014 summit". Reuters. 19 April 2013. Retrieved 10 July 2013. 
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^ "Africa: Reporter's Notebook – All Systems Go for Brics Summit in SA". 10 October 2012. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
  25. ^ "A Cúpula de Durban e o futuro dos BRICS". Post-Western World. 4 July 2013. Retrieved 7 November 2013. 
  26. ^ "Ufa to host SCO and BRICS summits in 2015". Retrieved 7 November 2013. 
  27. ^ "Syria Seeks to Join Shanghai Group, BRICS – Minister". RIA Novosti. 27 April 2013. Retrieved 7 November 2013. 
  28. ^ "Broken BRICs: Why the Rest Stopped Rising". Foreign Affairs. November/December 2012 issue. Retrieved 19 December 2012. 
  29. ^ "China Loses Control of Its Frankenstein Economy". Bloomberg. 24 June 2013. Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  30. ^ "Brazil Stocks In Bear Market As Economy Struggles". 26 June 2013. Retrieved 29 June 2013. 
  31. ^ "Emerging economies: The Great Deceleration". The Economist. 27 July 2013. Retrieved 27 July 2013. 
  32. ^ "BRICS Leaders Fail to Create Rival to World Bank". New York Times. 29 March 2012. Retrieved 18 June 2013.

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