Publication Date: 08/10/2015

History of BRICS

Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa established a collaborative structure, named “BRICS,” in 2010, when South Africa joined an existing structure formed by the other four countries. The first meeting of BRICStook place in April 2011, in Sanya, China. The structure meets annually in the form of a Summit, hosted by the sitting Chair of the structure at points in time. The last Summit was hosted by Russia, the current Chair, in July 2015.

The BRICS is constituted of developing or newly industrialised countries which are large, fast-growing economies and have significant influence on regional and global affairs as well as being G-20 members. The BRICS nations are governed by the following principles:

  • non-interference
  • equality
  • mutual benefit (win-win)

New Development Bank

The BRICS nations have, as a bloc, become significant players in the global economy. The following is pertinent in this regard:

  • They made up 41,6% of global population in 2013
  • Goldman Sachs estimates that 85% of the global middle-class will be living in the BRICS countries by 2030
  • Intra-BRICS trade was $ 230 billion in 2011, with the aim of increasing this to $ 500 billion by the end of 2015
  • The combined GDP of the BRICS countries is around $ 18 trillion
  • The combined contribution of the BRICS countries to global growth in 2015 is estimated to be around 33%The BRICS bloc is thus a significant conurbation in global terms. The on-going economic crisis in Europe and the current downturn in the Chinese and Brazilian economies pose serious challenges to the bloc and its on-going influence in global socio-economic and political affairs. However, there is no doubt the BRICS countries have the potential to optimise the impact of their collaboration in the medium term.The New Development Bank (BRICS Bank)One of the most critical outcomes of the BRICS initiative is the decision taken to establish a BRICS Development Banks. This idea was conceptualised at the 4th BRICS Summit held in India in 2012. It was put onto the agenda of the 5th BRICS Summit hosed by South Africa in 2013.

    At the 6th BRICS Summit on 15 July 2014 held in Brazil, the BRICS states signed the Agreement on the New Development Bank. The Agreement stipulates that the Bank will be established with an initial capital of f $50 billion, of which 12.5% is to be paid in by the members in the first 7 years. This will increase to $100 billion over a period of time.

    In a separate agreement, a reserve currency pool worth over another $100 billion was setup.

    Contributions from countries are as follows:

  • Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa will initially contribute $10 billion each
  • Each member cannot increase its share of capital without all other 4 members agreeing
  • The bank will allow new members to join but the capital held by the BRICS countries must not be below 55%.

There is a view that the Bank is being established to counter the Bretton Woods institutions, but the critical output of the Bank will be the financing of infrastructure projects, with authorized lending of up to $34 billion annually.

The BRICS Banks is being named “New Development Bank” because numerous other emerging nations have expressed interest in joining the initiative.

The headquarters of the Bank will be in Shanghai. Regional offices will also be set up. The African regional office will be based in Johannesburg.  The first president K.V. Kamath (India) was appointed on 11 May 2015. The Chairman of the Board of directors, still to be appointed, will come from Brazil and the inaugural chairman of the Board of Governors will be from Russia. South Africa is represented in these governance structures by Tito Mboweni, who is one of the Non-Executive Directors, and Lesley Maasdorp, who has been appointed as one of the Vice-Presidents. Each member nation holds an equal number of shares and has equal voting rights. None of the countries will have veto power.