The Global Economic Governance (GEG) Africa programme is a policy research and stakeholder engagement programme to strengthen the influence of pro-poor African coalitions at global economic governance fora.

BRICS Guide (15)

The GEGAfrica project, in association with the South African Institute of International Affairs and CUTS International have created a BRICS Guide, called "The BRICS and the New World Order: A Beginner's Guide".


This is an electronic resource that provides the background to, evolution of, and the main trends and concerns surrounding the BRICS grouping, as well as the propects for its future. You can browse the sections in this Guide in the menu to the right. Or pdf click here to download the full Guide in PDF form (472.41 kB) .


You can also download the pdf update to the Guide that covers the BRICS Summit 2013 in PDF (244.02 kB)

Wednesday, 06 February 2013 00:00

BRICS Guide 1: Summary

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"No one can resist an idea whose time has come." (Victor Hugo, famous French writer of the Romantic period). BRIC(S) was one such idea, when the term was coined by Goldman Sachs in 2001.The BRIC acronym, which stands for Brazil, Russia, India and China, originated in a Goldman Sachs paper – Building Better Global Economic BRICs – as part of an economic modelling exercise to forecast global economic trends over the next half-century. The main finding was that the BRIC countries collectively would play an increasingly important role in the global economy.
The BRIC acronym, a concept floated for the first time more than a decade ago in 2001, represents the loose grouping of Brazil, Russia, India and China. The idea was coined by Goldman Sachs in a paper as part of an economic modelling exercise to forecast global economic trends over the next half-century. The main finding was that the BRICs would play an increasingly important role in the global economy.
The BRICS forum has evolved and expanded after formalisation of the group. In addition to the four founder countries, it now includes South Africa, as discussed in section 2.During 2001–10, the BRIC countries achieved significant gains in both an economic and a political sense. As far as demographic and economic progress of the group is concerned, in 2010 BRICS countries collectively accounted for more than 40% of the global population and nearly 30% of the land mass. The group constituted a share of about 25% of the world GDP in PPP terms compared with 16% in 2000. This is expected…
The BRICS growing importance for the world economy is reflected by various economic and demographic indicators. These include, but are not limited to, their increasing share in world GDP; share in world trade; trade openness and increasing forex reserves; and their foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows and outflows.
Trends in intra-BRICS co-operation are reflected by trends in intra-BRICS trade. Data clearly demonstrates that intra-BRICS trade has witnessed a significant increase over the last decade, as described below.
Over the years BRICS has emerged as a very important group in terms of many economic and demographic parameters. BRICS now constitutes the fastest-growing and largest emerging-markets economies. They account for almost three billion people, or just under half of the world’s total population. Their increasing share in GDP, FDI, and trends in economically active population might have a huge impact in shaping future economic and political world dynamics.
The BRICS group is rapidly consolidating and becoming a force to reckon with in global governance.The March 2012 BRICS Summit in India also completed the hosting cycle of the original BRIC members and, with South Africa hosting the next BRICS summit in 2013, the hosting cycle will be complete for the entire group. If anything, this milestone is an indication of the group’s staying power. The 2012 BRICS summit, which was held under the theme of ‘BRICS Partnership for Global Stability, Security and Prosperity’, emphasised co-operation among BRICS countries on various economic and development issues, including trade and investment, food…
As much as the BRICS may have more differences than commonalities, the political economy benefits of this group should never be underestimated, and that is their biggest strength. A quick glance at the statistics reveals that in 2011 the BRICS accounted for 25% of global GDP, 30% of global land area and 45% of the world’s population.[1] The basic point of commonality among the BRICS countries is that they are regional leaders in their own right and they have fast-growing economies. South Africa’s economy, although not in the same league as that of the other BRICS countries, is the largest…
One of the criticisms levelled against the BRICS is the lack of an institutional basis, at least beyond the summit meetings. The biggest argument for institutionalisation of the group would be the facilitation of closer co-operation and co-ordination of positions on various international issues. This is especially because the BRICS countries are not a natural fit and may need this institutionalisation more than the developed country groupings. As the BRICS becomes more grounded, the question arises as to what kind of institutionalisation the group needs to make it more effective and to give it more content.
Given the divergences among the BRICS, it is highly unlikely that they will be able to create a power bloc that is formidable enough to be a guiding force in the 21st century. What the BRICS can hope for is significant influence that will grow as the group itself institutionalises trust and consolidates. To be a guiding force there is a need for the convergence of ideas on global governance. There is indeed a tendency to focus on the negative aspects of the BRICS but, as issues currently stand, the countries have different ideological approaches to how a new approach…
The BRICS appears to be on its way to realising the predictions made in 2001, with the emerging dynamics over the last decade further establishing these predictions.Starting with a share of a little over 10% in world GDP, and less than 4% in world trade in 1990, BRICS now constitutes about 25% of the world GDP and 15% of world trade. The increase in GDP implies that the economic size of BRICS in terms of its share in world GDP has expanded by 150% in the two decade periods. In addition, all the BRICS countries have now become active members…
Annex 1: BRIC(S) evolution and journey1989        Brazil emerges from military rule and puts in place a drastic economic stabilisation plan to reverse hyperinflation and boost privatisation;1991         India introduces sweeping economic reforms, ending the licence raj and setting conditions for sustained economic reforms in the following periods;1998        China emerges from the Asian crisis unscathed;1999        (December): After the Russian economy meltdown in 1998, Russia puts in place a strategy to rebuild and regain its lost economic status;2001        Goldman Sachs predicts the rapid rise of Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) in the next 50 years;2001        (December): China…
Suresh P Singh is a Policy Analyst, CUTS Centre for International Trade, Economics & Environment (CUTS CITEE). Web Site:; www.cuts-citee.orgSuresh P Singh has over 15 years of research experience. He holds a Masters Degree in Economics from Rabindra Bharti University, Kolkata, India. At CUTS, he works on issues such as international trade, climate change and agriculture, sustainable consumption and production.
While it is still unclear whether Russia pursues the occupation of additional parts of eastern Ukraine, there is a growing certainty that developments over the past month will have a lasting effect on the international system. The most immediate consequences are probably the strengthening of the NATO alliance and an acceleration of trade negotiations between the European Union and the United States. Cuts in defense spending in both the United States and Europe may be partially halted as a consequence. While trade between Russia and the West makes a new Cold War scenario highly unlikely, Vladimir Putin is likely to…
Monday, 07 July 2014 17:05

BRICS Guide UPDATE: Summit 2013

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An update is now available for the highly popular online resource 'BRICS and the World Order: Beginners Guide.' You can download this update in PDF (244.02 kB) or read it below.South Africa hosted the fifth BRICS Summit in the city of Durban on 27 March 2013. Prior to the Heads of State summit, the BRICS Academic Forum as well as the BRICS Business Forum were likewise hosted in the city of Durban. This Summit was unique for the fact that it was the first time the Summit was hosted in Africa; the Summit further marked the first full hosting cycle…

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