BRICS is an informal group of states comprising the Federative Republic of Brazil, the Russian Federation, the Republic of India, the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of South Africa.


The acronym BRIC was first used in 2001 by Goldman Sachs in their Global Economics Paper, “The World Needs Better Economic BRICs” on the basis of econometric analyses projecting that the economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China would individually and collectively occupy far greater economic space and would be amongst the world’s largest economies in the next 50 years or so.


As a formal grouping, BRIC started after the meeting of the Leaders of Russia, India and China in St. Petersburg on the margins of G8 Outreach Summit in July 2006.


The grouping was formalized during the 1st meeting of BRIC Foreign Ministers on the margins of UNGA in New York in September 2006.


The 1st BRIC Summit was held in Yekaterinburg, Russia, on 16 June 2009. It was agreed to expand BRIC into BRICS with the inclusion of South Africa at the BRIC Foreign Ministers’ meeting in New York in September 2010. Accordingly, South Africa attended the 3rd BRICS Summit in Sanya, China on 14 April 2011.


The growing economic might of BRICS countries, their significance as one of the main driving forces of global economic development, their substantial population and abundant natural resources form the foundation of their influence on the international scene.


In 2013, BRICS accounted for about 27 percent of the global GDP (in terms of the purchasing power parity of their national currencies). The total BRICS population is 2.88 billion (42 percent of the entire global population), and the five countries cover 26 percent of the planet’s land.


BRICS countries are influential members of leading international organisations and agencies, including the UN, the G20, the Non-Aligned Movement and the Group of 77. They are also members of various regional associations.


Brazil is a member of the Union of South American Nations, MERCOSUR and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States.


Russian Federation is a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Collective Security Treaty Organisation and the Eurasian Economic Union.


India is a member of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).


China and Russia are members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation.


The Republic of South Africa is a member of the African Union and the Southern African Development Community. India is a member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation.


Relations between BRICS partners are built on the UN Charter, generally recognised principles and norms of international law and the following principles, which were agreed by member countries at their 2011 Summit: openness, pragmatism, solidarity, non-bloc nature and neutrality with regard to third parties. BRICS work is based on action plans approved during annual summits since 2010.