Johannesburg, July 26: The leaders of Brazil, Russia, China, India and South Africa assembled in Johannesburg, South Africa, to attend the three-day summit of the BRICS (acronym comprising the member nations) - its tenth overall.
Together, the BRICS nations account for over 26 per cent of the world's land area; over 42 per cent of the global population; over 13 per cent of the World Bank voting power and nearly 15 per cent of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) quota shares. According to the IMF, BRICS countries generated 22.53% of the world's GDP in 2015
Now, when did BRICS start and what is its purpose?
The term 'BRIC' was coined by British economist Jim O'Neill way back in 2001n in his publication named 'Building Better Economic BRICs'. It initially had only four members and was joined by South Africa in 2010 to get the added 'S'. BRICS had its inception in the mid-2000s when the foreign ministers of the four BRIC countries met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, hence flagging off a series of high-level meetings.
The first summit of the BRIC countries took place in Yekaterinburg in Russian in 2009. At the end of the first summit, the BRIC nations sought the need of a new global currency, giving indication of the grouping's aim to create an alternative world economic order.
Since 2009, BRICS summits have taken place every year with South Africa attending it for the first time in 2011. All five nations have held the summit twice so far. India played host to the BRICS summit in 2012 (in New Delhi) and 2016 (Goa).
BRICS strives for alternatives
Though BRICS is yet to come up with an alternative world order, it has nevertheless made some feats towards the goal.
Like in 2014, BRICS formed the New Development Bank (headquartered in Shanghai) which is the first international development which has no presence of any member of the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) group. In 2015, BRICS set up the BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement which is considered to be a rival to the IMF. It is also trying to find ways to lead on issues like regional security, anti-terrorism and climate change.
Also, after the 2015 BRICS summit in Ufa, Russia, the member countries initiated talks for a new payment system which would be alternative to the prevailing SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) network for secure financial transations.
At the 2015 BRICS summit in Russia, ministers from BRICS nations, initiated consultations for a payment system that would be an alternative to the SWIFT system.