REFLECTING ON 2020 SUMMIT

Why China anchors the future of BRICS

The grouping is both a lighthouse and a compass that can help to anchor the rest of the developing world

In Summary

•BRICS is core to the world’s current social, economic and even political and moral destiny

•To help in post-Covid-19 recovery, China plans to be more vigorous in integrating with the global market and taking greater initiative in deepening international cooperation.

The Shanghai interchange. Almost all the West has to offer is available in the five top developing economies.
The Shanghai interchange. Almost all the West has to offer is available in the five top developing economies.
Image: Courtesy

The holding of the 12th BRICS Summit in Beijing on November 17 has once again underscored the need for alternative routes and models of development.

BRICS is an acronym coined for the powerful and influential alliance that brings together five of the major emerging national economies in the world, namely, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, respectively. The BRICS grouping of like-minded countries aims to promote peace, security, development and cooperation in the world.

Over the years since inception, the BRICS countries have achieved higher economic rankings. China became the largest global economy in 2010, while the following year Brazil was ranked the sixth largest. India is the tenth largest economy in GDP terms, Russia is the nine largest, and South Africa is at number 26 in global economic rankings. This solid combination is a sufficient support system for the weaker economies, even as the BRICS bloc propels itself to higher levels of growth.

Significantly, it also aims at making a positive impact on the development of humanity, and establishing a more equitable and fair world. Interestingly, all members of BRICS are also members of the G20 group of countries, an international forum for the governments from 19 countries and the European Union which seeks to promote international financial stability.

The current leaders during the Brics Summit, 2019. They are presidents Xi Jinping of China, Russia's Vladimir Putin, Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.
FOCUSED: The current leaders during the Brics Summit, 2019. They are presidents Xi Jinping of China, Russia's Vladimir Putin, Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.

According to World Population Prospects (2019) published by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the BRICS have a combined area of about 27 per cent of the world land surface, and an estimated total population equivalent to about 41 per cent of the global population. In 2018, the countries had a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) equal to an estimated 23.2 of the world’s GDP.  

With such a rich and solid background, BRICS is core to the world’s current social, economic and even political and moral destiny. This is very critical in the prevailing socio-economic confusion and devastation due to Covid-19, especially with the US, the erstwhile global leader, either incapable or unwilling to act as the world’s benchmark. In the spirit of bilateral relations between BRICS nations, the world needs a new philosophy based on non-interference, equality and mutual benefit.

The BRICS grouping is both a lighthouse and a compass that can help to anchor the rest of the developing world. Almost everything that the developed Western world has to offer is now available in the five top developing economies. Economically, scientifically and technologically, BRICS is at par with the developed countries, making the former a natural choice for cooperation.

We need to...  nurture an open, fair, equitable and non-discriminatory business environment
President Xi Jinping

With Covid-19 exposing the soft underbelly of some superpowers like the US, the United Kingdom and France, it is a high time the BRICS countries stepped up their confidence levels and potential global leadership role. The global investment and ideological climate is now conducive for deeper South-South cooperation.

In his speech during the occasion, host Chinese President Xi Jinping said that “We (BRICS) need to leverage the new business forms and models triggered by the pandemic, strengthen cooperation on scientific and technological innovation, and nurture an open, fair, equitable and non-discriminatory business environment to bring about common development of higher quality and stronger resilience.”

The president stated that China will work with other parties to flesh out the BRICS Partnership on New Industrial Revolution at a faster pace. This includes opening in Xiamen, Fujian Province, a BRICS Partnership on New Industrial Revolution innovation centre to advance cooperation on policy coordination, personnel training and project development. China has already launched a Global Initiative on Data Security, which aims to jointly foster a peaceful, secure, open, cooperative and orderly cyberspace to enable sound growth of the digital economy.

China has often promised not to shut its door of opening-up; it will embrace the world with more open arms. To help in post-Covid-19 recovery, the country plans to be more vigorous in integrating with the global market and taking greater initiative in deepening international cooperation. This will undoubtedly create more opportunities and space for global recovery and growth.