The Term BRIC was introduced by Jim O’Neill of Goldman Sachs in 2003 to refer to an emerging bloc of four countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China. With inclusion of South Africa in 2010, the term became ‘BRICS’, which actually an acronym for the five member countries.
The bloc offers a unique opportunity for BRICS countries to extend and advance their cooperation in ways that meaningfully promote their economic development agendas as well as that of other developing countries.
In the 10 years since its inception, BRICS cooperation has continued to consolidate its foundation and expanded to more areas. It is now a multi-level process led by the Summit, buttressed by meetings of the national Security Advisors， Foreign Ministers and other ministerial meetings, and enriched by pragmatic cooperation in dozens of areas such as economy, trade, finance, business, agriculture, education, health, science and technology, culture, think tanks, and friendship cities. Cooperation mechanisms such as the New Development Bank, Contingent Reserve Arrangement, Business Council and Think Tank Council have been established. Pragmatic cooperation has gone to greater depth to yield more fruitful results and exerted important influence globally.
BRICS’ first decade has seen each of the members laying down groundwork for cooperation, from identifying areas of convergence on political issues to improving economic ties. The level of engagement between its members, ranging from high-level summit and ministerial meetings to various working groups and conferences, has only deepened over that time.
Today there is a fair degree of cooperation on issues such as trade, infrastructure finance, urbanisation and climate change. Moreover, the five members have made modest progress in people-to-people connections. Platforms such as the BRICS Academic Forum and Business Council have proved to be useful in improving their understanding of each other’s industry, academia and government.
Undoubtedly, the two most notable achievements of the BRICS have been the institutionalization of the New Development Bank (NDB) and the Contingency Reserve Arrangement.
The importance of these institutions cannot be understated. For one thing, they mark a shift from political rhetoric to delivering concrete results, alleviating some of the scepticism surrounding the BRICS initiative. More importantly, they represent a partial fulfilment of BRICS’ core raison d’être: to offer credible alternatives to the Atlantic system of global governance.
Thanks to 10 years of development, BRICS has grown into an important platform for cooperation among emerging markets and developing countries. BRICS countries come from Asia, Africa, Europe and America and are all members of the G20. Together, they account for 26.46% of world land area, 42.58% of world population, 13.24% of World Bank voting power and 14.91% of IMF quota shares. According to IMF’s estimates, BRICS countries generated 22.53% of the world GDP in 2015, and has contributed more than 50% of world economic growth during the last 10 years. The BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) are projected to remain the main drivers of growth in the world economy by 2030.
This association of 5 emerging economies of the world indeed make it the global powerhouse of world economy.