The Evolution of BRICS in Global Economics and Geopolitics

BRICS, an acronym initially coined by Goldman Sachs economist Jim O’Neill in 2001, represents a powerful coalition of five rapidly growing economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Originally envisioned as investment hotspots, these nations have evolved into a formidable collective with substantial influence on the global stage.

With a combined land area of 39.7 million square kilometers and a population of approximately 3.21 billion people, BRICS commands about 26.7% of the world’s landmass and constitutes 41.5% of the total global population. Among its members, Brazil, Russia, India, and China are notable for their substantial population, vast territories, and significant GDP (PPP), positioning them as prominent players in the world economy. The BRICS countries collectively contribute a nominal GDP of $28.06 trillion, accounting for around 26.6% of the global gross domestic product. In terms of GDP (PPP), this figure rises to approximately $56.65 trillion, constituting 32.5% of the world’s GDP (PPP). Moreover, their combined foreign reserves in 2018 were estimated at around $4.46 trillion.

Originally conceptualized as a platform for investment opportunities, BRICS has evolved over time into a more cohesive geopolitical bloc. Since 2009, these nations have been holding annual formal summits, signifying a growing convergence of policies and interests. At these summits, they collaborate on multilateral policies, with the most recent 14th BRICS summit hosted by China in 2022. Guided by principles of non-interference, equality, and mutual benefit, BRICS engages in bilateral relations that foster cooperation and development.

In contrast to the G7 consortium of advanced economies, BRICS has emerged as a leading challenger. It has introduced initiatives like the New Development Bank, the Contingent Reserve Arrangement, the BRICS payment system, the BRICS Joint Statistical Publication, and the BRICS basket reserve currency. This dynamic group has garnered both praise and criticism from diverse commentators.

The history of BRICS traces back to the early 2000s when Jim O’Neill introduced the term BRIC to highlight emerging economies. South Africa later joined the coalition, expanding the acronym to BRICS. High-level meetings and formal summits have since solidified the group’s collaboration, with discussions ranging from global economic reform to increasing the involvement of developing nations in international affairs.

Notably, the Yekaterinburg summit of 2009 marked a turning point as BRICS nations called for a new global reserve currency, signaling their intent to challenge the dominance of the US dollar. This move had repercussions on currency valuations and highlighted the bloc’s influence on the global financial landscape.

In conclusion, BRICS has evolved from an investment concept into a significant force in global economics and geopolitics. Its member nations, collectively possessing substantial economic might, geographic expanse, and population, continue to shape the international order, challenging existing paradigms and forging new pathways to mutual growth and development

Expanding BRICS

Since South Africa’s addition to BRICS in 2010, other nations like Argentina and Iran have shown interest in joining. They expressed this during talks with senior Chinese officials in the summer of 2022. China, a key BRICS member, supported Argentina’s bid after discussions between their foreign ministers. Russia, India, and Brazil also back Argentina’s application. Iran formally applied in June 2022, benefitting from its warming ties with China and Russia against Western opposition.

New members need unanimous approval from current BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) for an invitation. Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Algeria, Argentina, Mexico, and Nigeria are among the 12 countries interested. Egypt officially applied in June 2023, as announced by Russia’s ambassador.

The issue of new membership will be addressed in the upcoming BRICS summit. British politician Jim O’Neill suggested aspiring members should have over 100 million populations to counter the US dollar’s dominance. BRICS’ evolving dynamics could reshape global economics and geopolitics.

Morocco Submits Membership Bid for BRICS Economic Alliance

Rabat – In a move signaling its aspirations for deeper global economic integration, Morocco has officially submitted a bid to join the BRICS economic alliance. The alliance, which comprises Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, serves as a platform for developing countries to collaborate on economic matters.

The application from Morocco arrives just before the upcoming BRICS summit, scheduled to convene in South Africa next week. Anticipation surrounds the summit, expected to host around 60 heads of state, with a significant focus on setting criteria for potential new member states. However, there are indications that the final decision on membership might encounter delays, according to reliable sources.

South Africa’s BRICS Ambassador, Anil Sooklal, emphasized that the summit’s primary agenda centers on strengthening the usage of local currencies within the alliance. He clarified that the intent of BRICS is not adversarial towards the Western world or the G7; instead, it aims to advance the interests of the Global South, aiming for a more inclusive, equitable, and just global economic architecture.

More than 40 nations have expressed keen interest in joining the BRICS group, according to a statement from South Africa’s top diplomat responsible for BRICS relations. Algeria, Argentina, Iran, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Cuba, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Comoros, Gabon, and Kazakhstan are among the countries on the list of prospective members.

The BRICS consortium already wields substantial influence in the global economy, accounting for over 40% of the world’s population and contributing to around 26% of the total global economic output.

This development follows closely on the heels of Algeria’s application to join the alliance. Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune recently announced the country’s interest in becoming a shareholder member of the BRICS Bank. Algeria’s initial investment in the bank is projected to be around $1.5 billion.

A total of 22 countries have submitted formal applications to join BRICS,

as indicated below:

  • Algeria (applied in 2022)
  • Argentina (applied in 2022)
  • Bahrain
  • Bangladesh (applied in 2023)
  • Belarus (applied in 2023)
  • Bolivia (applied in 2023)
  • Cuba (applied in 2023)
  • Egypt (applied in 2023)
  • Ethiopia (applied in 2023)
  • Honduras (applied in 2023)
  • Indonesia
  • Iran (applied in 2022)
  • Kazakhstan (applied in 2023)
  • Kuwait (applied in 2023)
  • Nigeria (applied in 2023)
  • Palestine (applied in 2023)
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Senegal (applied in 2023)
  • Thailand
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Venezuela (applied in 2023)
  • Vietnam (applied in 2023)

Furthermore, Afghanistan, Angola, Comoros, D.R. Congo, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, Mexico, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Uruguay, and Zimbabwe have shown interest in becoming members of BRICS.


six countries have been welcomed into the exclusive BRICS Club, positioning them to dominate the global economy by 2050. The announcement was made by Cyril Matemola Ramaphosa, the President of South Africa and host of the 2023 BRICS summit. The newly admitted nations are Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Argentina, and Ethiopia. Notably absent from the list is Nigeria, a country that had reportedly expressed interest in joining the prestigious group.

Nigeria’s absence from the newly admitted countries sparked questions and speculation. However, a statement from Abubakar Shettima, who represented Nigeria at the summit, revealed that Nigeria had not actually applied for BRICS membership. Shettima attributed this decision to the need for thorough evaluation and consensus-building, involving various governmental bodies such as the economic advisory council, the Federal Executive Council, and the National Assembly.

Shettima emphasized that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a proponent of democratic processes, was focused on considering various factors before committing to joining BRICS. He highlighted the complexities involved and the importance of making informed decisions that align with Nigeria’s interests.

In light of this development, Shettima also urged Nigerians living in South Africa to adhere to local laws and respect their host country’s citizens. Meanwhile, the admitted countries are set to become full members of BRICS from January 1.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, whose nation is a leading member of BRICS, described the membership expansion as historic and a new chapter in BRICS cooperation. He expressed optimism that this move would invigorate the cooperative mechanism of BRICS, contributing to global peace and development.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed celebrated his country’s inclusion, recognizing it as a pivotal moment for Ethiopia, the second-most populous nation in Africa. Similarly, Iran’s senior presidential advisor, Mohammad Jamshidi, hailed the decision as a strategic success for Tehran’s foreign policy.

Among the new members, Egypt and the UAE have conveyed their enthusiasm to collaborate with the loosely defined group that collectively represents a substantial portion of the global population and wealth across four continents.

As these nations prepare to take on a more influential role within BRICS, the dynamics of international economic cooperation are poised for a notable shift. The implications of this expansion will undoubtedly reverberate in the global economic landscape

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