BRIC was established in 2006 by Brazil, Russia, India and China, emerging economies with the common purpose of becoming developed economies. Talks about the establishment of BRIC started at the margins of the General Debate of the UN General Assembly in New York, beginning a series of meetings between the four countries. This led to the first formal summit being held in Yekaterinburg, Russia on 16 June 2009. South Africa began its efforts to join the BRIC bloc in 2010, officially becoming a member on 24 December 2010, giving birth to BRICS.
The main objective of BRICS has been to build economic, political, social and cultural cooperation among the member countries, ensuring development, support and unity between these countries.Since its establishment, several countries have shown interest in joining BRICS, these are countries that are newly industrialised or emerging developing countries. These countries include Afghanistan, Argentina, Indonesia, Mexico, Turkey, Egypt, Iran, Nigeria, Sudan, Syria and recently Greece and Bangladesh.
At the 2017 BRICS Summit,China invited Egypt, Kenya, Tajikistan, Mexico and Thailand as guest countries, but explained that the invitation is not part of the BRICS Plus initiative, even though Chinese President, Xi Jinping, called for promotion of the BRICS Plus approach during that time. South Africa at the 10th BRICS Summit 2018 also invited guest countries, Rwanda, Senegal, Gabon, Uganda, Ethopia, Togo, Zambia, Namibia and Angola, under the theme Africa Outreach.
The BRICS Plus approach is not only about countries but also international organisations that can partner with BRICS to create a platform for collaboration and partnerships amongst countries of the Global South, to shape the agenda that will influence changes in the global economy. Organisations such as the African Union, United Nations, East African Economies, Group of 77, Islamic Cooperation, Caribbean Communities, etc have been approached and invited to the 2017 and 2018 BRICS Summit. The purpose of the BRICS Plus has been to ensure development and economic growth through trade and investment collaborations,in order to build cooperation in global governance financial, economic and political institutions.
Ahead of the 2018 Summit, South Africa was elected by BRICS to lead the consideration of the BRICS Plus Initiative, under the sub-theme: BRICS Plus: Securing sustainable and inclusive growth for the prosperity of the Global South. This has proven that the BRICS Plus approach has moved from just talks to the implementation of adding other emerging economies in the Global South.
By Ntsikelelo Kuse