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Brics: How the organisation has changed the world for the better

Brics make up 40% of the world’s economy, and South Africa has a seat at the top table.


(@Brics_10 / Twitter)

As the 10th annual Brics summit takes place in Johannesburg this week, we’re looking at the major achievements of this organisation.

Foreign dignitaries from Brazil, Russia, India and China are making their way to South Africa to discuss how the group powers forward, with a special focus on investment and renewable energy sources. They’ll be looking to add to their growing list of accomplishments over the last decade.

What have Brics done to benefit the world?

Created a National Development Bank

In 2014, the five-international member party resolved to create their own National Development Bank, raising $50 billion in capital to get things off the ground. The reserve is a shared pot among all member states, and other developing economies are welcome to apply for loans and financial support.

As the World Economic Forum summarise, the core purpose of the NDB is to mobilize resources for infrastructure and sustainable development in Brics countries. The Bank is fully controlled by its members who all represent the borrowing countries.

Decentralised the economic clout of traditional Western powers

Traditional fiscal bodies like the IMF were dominated by European and North American influences. Brics was coined at a time when the likes of Russia, China and India were still establishing themselves as global superpowers.

By the time Brics were holding summits, those three countries had roared their way into the top 10 economies in the world. They are bonded together by their rapid success and represent an alternative financial and diplomatic structure.

Trade benefits for South Africa

We’re going to be a little selfish on this one. SA joined Brics in 2011 and has enjoyed renewed trade relations with some of the biggest powerhouses on Earth. China’s investment in South Africa tops the $1 billion mark annually, but it seems Cyril Ramaphosa has got bigger fish to fry.

Ramaohosa and Xi Jinping shook hands on a deal that will see China pump $14 billion into Mzansi over the next few years. With more state visits left to conduct with the likes of India and Russia, there’s a real window of opportunity for South Africa to make the most of its invitation to the top table.

Given Africa greater access to the global stage

South Africa may be the only African representative of Brics, but this has given the rest of the continent greater access to the organisation.

China invited Egypt and Kenya to the ninth Brics Summit held in Xiamen at the beginning of September 2017. Guinean President Alpha Condé, representing the African Union, had the opportunity to attend as well.

There was more African representation in 2017 than ever before, but that looks set to expand again this year. Ramaphosa has invited numerous continental leaders to the summit, and the African Union are again expected to send their delegates.

With the Brics countries representing 40% of the world’s economy, it’s vital that Africa is given a platform to interact with countries that provide some seriously-impressive investment opportunities.