Many of you have probably heard about BRICS. Some of you may already have a comprehensive understanding of what it is all about. Regardless, many people do not quite know what BRICS is about. That is why it is essential to discuss that. The term is an abbreviation denoting a grouping of nations. It started as just BRIC, referring to Brazil, Russia, India, and China. Then, in 2010, South Africa was added to make it BRICS as it is today. Let us delve more into what BRICS is all about.

Significance Of BRICS In Figures

Some numbers can best illustrate the economic dominance of BRICS. Global population-wise, BRICS boasts almost 3 billion people, over 40 percent of the globe. Regarding land area, BRICS constitutes roughly 26 percent of the earth. BRICS constitutes about 25 percent of the global GDP. In 2022, the economic output of BRICS was just over US$26 trillion. The total GDP of BRICS is reported to go beyond US$40 trillion 7 years from now.

Overview Of BRICS’ Formation

The formation of BRICS was premised on how these nations had been highly ranked the global fastest-growing and emerging economies for years. Goldman Sachs even boldly projected that these nations would dominate the global economy by 2050. The formation of BRICS was put into motion by Russia on September 20, 2006. This was during the sidelines of a UN General Assembly meeting in the US.

This was essentially their first meeting as BRIC. The meeting comprised Brazil, Russia, China’s foreign ministers, and India’s defense minister. Subsequent meetings would ensue, with Russia being the critical initiator. BRIC was then officially formed in 2009 and then became BRICS in 2010.

BRICS Seeks To Expand Its Membership & Influence

BRICS is not eternally bent on just being those five nations only. It seeks to have other nations come on board. This year, six nations were invited to join BRICS (in future BRICS plus) – Saudi Arabia, Iran, Ethiopia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Argentina. They will become official members effective January 1st, 2024. These additions testify how BRICS seeks to become a global economic bloc powerhouse. Interestingly, it is reported that over 40 nations have indicated their desire to join BRICS. Of those 40 nations, 23 had made formal applications to join.

Interesting Implications From Those 6 Additions

Looking at the six nations added, it is clear that 4 are Middle Eastern nations. One cannot help but notice the implications regarding how oil-rich that region is. Noteworthy mentions are the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia. This would make BRICS assume a notable grip on controlling global energy dynamics. Plus, do not forget that only Russia in BRICS is an energy producer. Thus, it is apparent that those six additions are strategic chess moves. Another exciting implication would be that of the current BRICS member states. Given these six additions, they would have to review their policies to be symbiotic.

Core Objectives Of BRICS

There are fundamental objectives that BRICS seeks to achieve amongst them. They want to promote economic cooperation and champion sustainable development. They also seek to reform global financial and governance systems. Their other objective is to enhance South-South cooperation. This entails fostering collaboration amongst developing nations.

There are several vehicles that BRICS has formed over the years to pursue these objectives. Such vehicles include the New Development Bank, Contingency Reserve Arrangement, Business Council, and Academic Forum.

The Local Currencies Issue

This has been one of the most topical issues regarding BRICS. BRICS is vehemently bent on dislodging the dominance of the US dollar globally. Thus, BRICS is pushing for its member states to trade with each other using local currencies. One example is India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The two nations have since formally resolved for India to trade with UAE using their Indian rupee. Traditionally, such trade has always been done using the US dollar. The de-dollarization agenda is clearly at play. However, some experts think there is still a long to go until that becomes a global norm. Some feel that it is an uphill task that may never materialize to the extent BRICS desires.

Zimbabwe Seeks To Join BRICS

It has since emerged that Zimbabwe seeks to join BRICS. Zimbabwe has already applied to join BRICS’ New Development Bank. This comes as no surprise, though. Zimbabwe has strong economic or trade ties with, for instance, Russia, China, and South Africa. During the recent BRICS summit in South Africa, Zimbabwe’s Vice President Constantino Chiwenga had this say,

As a country, Zimbabwe applauds the establishment of the New Development Bank and the proposal to use local currencies between member states in the BRICS and other countries in the South. Like other countries in the south, Zimbabwe hopes to benefit from the New Development Bank as an alternative source of funding for developmental projects

No wonder you may have heard discussions or debates on social media regarding de-dollarization. Is Zimbabwe ready for de-dollarization? This has been one of the many questions. Many people maintain that the fundamentals necessary for de-dollarization are not yet satisfied in Zimbabwe. Do you share the same perspective? You can comment below.

The BRICS issue is quite interesting. BRICS has always maintained that it is not a political platform. However, as its membership expands, the dynamics are changing. The lines between focusing on economic agendas and political ones are increasingly blurry. During the recent BRICS summit, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said, “BRICS is not competing with anyone, but it is also obvious that this process of emerging a new world order still has fierce opponents”. What are your thoughts on the latest developments with BRICS?