The BRICS Forum- The Evolving Role of the BRICS in a Changing World


Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) are leading emerging economies and political powers at the regional and international level. The acronym was originally created in 2001 by Jim O'Neil to highlight the exceptional role of important emerging economies and only included Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC). The characteristics generally adopted to distinguish the countries' group:

1.      The outstanding size of their economies,

2.      Strong growth rates, leading to increasing significance in world economy

3.      The demand for a stronger political voice in international governance structures, which corresponds to their economic status

 South Africa has Joined the group since the third summit of 2011 in China. South Africa complies the least with these characteristics due to the size of its economy. However, South Africa is Africa's leading economy and a leading political actor in the continent. its membership of the G20, its relative political stability and its standing as a middle income country ; all factors that contributed to its joining the BRICS.

BRICS are a heterogeneous group with countries involved in other coalitions. Beside the differentiation made above for South Africa, China is an exceptional member at the other end in terms of most aspects of economic cooperation and Russia stands out as a former superpower.

The BRICS share of the global Economy in terms of GDP grew from 11% in 1990 to 25% in 2011. Analysts predicts that the BRICS will overtake US in terms of GDP this year and the G7 by 2030.

Each BRICS country has a distinctive economic characteristic, despite the fact that all the BRICS countries enjoyed a high growth rate during most of the last decade and growth that makes the group a powerful force in the global economy. Russia is a commodity-driven economy, China is a powerhouse of exports, India is a domestic demand-driven economy, Brazil has much developed economic structure and South Africa represents the fast-growing region of Africa.

The BRICS Forum hosted by the Global Diplomatic Forum on the 28th of April will address the evolving role of the BRICS countries as catalysts of South-South Cooperation, the role of the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) and BRICS as a new stakeholder in 21st century Global Agenda.