The just-concluded BRICS Summit in Johannesburg has paved the way for a new global order, reminiscent of the historic Bandung Conference in 1955. This summit, which brought together developing countries, has highlighted the growing importance of BRICS on the international stage. With the accession of six new members – Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates – BRICS is seeking a new equilibrium and asserting itself as a leading economic force.
BRICS, consisting of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and now South Africa, has steadily gained recognition and momentum since its inception in 2006. The establishment of the New Development Bank and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement in 2014 further solidified its presence. The BRICS Trade and Investment Working Group report in 2022 revealed that BRICS is the world’s most important economic bloc, accounting for over a quarter of global GDP and 42 percent of the world’s population.
One of the key achievements of BRICS is the New Development Bank (NDB) and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA). The NDB has approved more than 80 projects and disbursed around $30 billion in loans, supporting various developmental initiatives across member states. Unlike traditional financial institutions, the NDB provides infrastructure financing without imposing harsh conditions, making it an attractive alternative for developing countries and giving BRICS a bigger say in global financial governance.
Furthermore, BRICS has been promoting sectoral cooperation in various areas, including science and technology, trade, banking, investment, energy, agriculture, healthcare, and the fight against transnational crime. Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva proposed the creation of a common currency within BRICS to settle trade deals, aiming to reduce reliance on the US dollar. This move reflects BRICS’ efforts to challenge the existing global financial architecture and establish alternative mechanisms.
The just-concluded summit also emphasized new areas of cooperation, such as the digital economy, green economy, supply chains, artificial intelligence, education, and cultural and people-to-people exchanges. Notably, the expansion of BRICS to include Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates demonstrates the organization’s commitment to inclusive multilateralism. Despite the differences in geographical location, development stages, and political systems among the member states, BRICS remains dedicated to promoting new possibilities and adopting innovative approaches to tackle global challenges.
While developed countries still dominate global governance mechanisms, BRICS has successfully brought the voice of developing countries to the forefront. By enhancing its economic influence and advocating for reforms within international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization, BRICS is striving to make global governance more just and equitable.
In summary, the recent BRICS Summit in Johannesburg has highlighted the organization’s growing significance and its role in shaping a new global order. With the inclusion of six new members, BRICS is seeking a new equilibrium and asserting itself as a leading economic force. The establishment of the NDB and CRA, along with the promotion of sectoral cooperation and the pursuit of alternative mechanisms, further demonstrate BRICS’ commitment to inclusive multilateralism and its efforts to challenge the existing global financial architecture. As BRICS continues to gain momentum, it is set to play an increasingly influential role in shaping the future of global governance.