A tale of five economies: How did the BRICS form and develop?

BRICS is a grouping acronym referring to the initials of the five emerging national economies – namely, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The name of the association evolved from the term BRIC coined by Jim O’Neill from Goldman Sachs in 2001. O’Neill wanted to signal that much of the world’s economic growth would soon be generated by Brazil, Russia, India and China. In 2009, leaders from the four countries held their first meeting in Russia and vowed to enhance cooperation. A year later, South Africa’s application was accepted, and an S was added to the club’s name, making it BRICS.

BRICS members are newly industrialized countries with a large population. Together they house 3 billion people as of 2015, or 42 percent of the world’s population. They are also characterized with an increasing influence on regional affairs. BRICS countries have a combined GDP of over 16 trillion US dollars – that’s 20 percent of the gross world product. Economic and financial cooperation aside, BRICS members also work closely in a host of issues, such as climate change, UN Security Council reform, and fighting poverty.

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