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In 2001, Jim O’Neill of Goldman Sachs authored a paper entitled “Building Better Global Economic BRICs” thereby coining a new acronym as an investment term. At the time of publication, BRICs comprised four countries: Brazil, Russia, India, and China. O’Neill posited that the combined GDP of the four large emerging economies would exceed that of the G7. O’Neill also posited that, over the next decade, the annual rate of growth in the BRICs economies would surpass that of the G7 thereby raising the policy question of BRICs representation at global economic policy meetings. In 2003, Goldman Sachs published a paper entitled “Dreaming with BRICs: The Path to 2050” in which the investment firm projected, ceteris paribus regarding its assumptions, that the combined economies of the BRICs would be greater in dollar terms that the G6. On 20 September 2006, on the proposal of Vladimir Putin, the Federative Republic of Brazil, the Russian Federation, the Republic of India, and the People’s Republic of China held the first BRIC ministerial meeting in New York. The respective foreign ministers expressed their “interest in expanding multilateral cooperation” thereby transforming BRICs from an investment term to a political and economic reality of Nation States. In 2010, the Republic of South Africa joined the BRICS expanding the group’s geographical composition. Since 2009, the BRICS have held annual summit meetings. Although Goldman Sachs closed its BRICS investment fund in 2015 due to its poor performance, the BRICS countries continue to strengthen their international relations and pursue common goals. This chapter reviews the history of the BRICS, traces their development from 2001, and analyses the potential of establishing a multi-polar world.

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  1. 1.

    At year-end 2000, on a current GDP basis, BRIC share of world GDP was 8%.

  2. 2.

    Insert Scenario D

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  4. 4.

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  5. 5.

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  7. 7.

    Nigeria was an original member but never joined due to structural problems. Therefore, the EU became the 20th member.

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  9. 9. 3.

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  12. 12.

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    At 483.

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    BRICS Information Centre

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    New Development Bank, “The Bank shall have an initial authorized capital of US$100 billion. The initial subscribed capital shall be US$50 billion, equally shared among founding members. The first chair of the Board of Governors shall be from Russia. The first chair of the Board of Directors shall be from Brazil. The first President of the Bank shall be from India. The headquarters of the Bank shall be located in Shanghai. The New Development Bank Africa Regional Center shall be established in South Africa concurrently with the headquarters.”

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Correspondence to John J A Burke .



  1. 1.

    Why is the organisation called BRIC?

  2. 2.

    When was South Africa added to the organisation and what were the justifications for its inclusion?

  3. 3.

    Critics state that the BRICS countries are too different in terms of culture, political interests, economic resources and development, and trade relations to constitute a meaningful regional bloc. What are your views as to the potential of the BRICS?

  4. 4.

    In your view, do the BRICS countries have the political and financial weight to create a multi-polar financial world?


Table 13.1 General indicators on the BRICS countries

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Burke, J.J.A. (2021). BRICS. In: Financial Services in the Twenty-First Century. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

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