The fifth summit of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) countries met in Durban, South Africa March 26 and 27, 2013, to discuss "political and economic coordination." They released their fifth summit declaration, "BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Development, Integration and Industrialisation," which includes plans for a BRICS development bank.
Joshua Kurlantzick shares an excerpt from his new book, Democracy in Retreat, which revolves around a disturbing thesis: that after a steady increase in the number of democracies in the world for nearly a century, autocratic rule is on the march.
Shannon K. O'Neil says, "[American] perceptions reflect the Mexican reality that dominates headlines: soaring crime rates and gruesome murders in a war against drug traffickers. But this window into Mexico overlooks an economic transformation and deepening ties with the United States that reflect a dramatically different country."
Over the past several years, the most talked-about trend in the global economy has been the so-called rise of the rest, which saw the economies of many developing countries swiftly converging with those of their more developed peers.
With concerns swirling over the prospect of another global economic slowdown, Ruchir Sharma, head of emerging markets at Morgan Stanley Investment Management, questions the current consensus view, which is still bullish on the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) and bearish on the West. Sharma, the author of "Breakout Nations: In Pursuit of the Next Economic Miracles" and the May/June Foreign Affairs essay "Bearish on Brazil," argues against analyzing emerging markets under catch-all acronyms. He points out, for example, that Brazil's growth is dependent on a shaky premise: high prices for commodities like oil, coffee and iron ore. Meanwhile, the dismal image of Europe overlooks fiscally responsible countries like Poland and the Czech Republic, whose policies, institutions, and private sectors could enable them to become real growth economies. Sharma will discuss which nations will serve as pockets of future economic strength, and what this all means for the global economy, including the big powers of the West.
The emerging BRICS economies agree that the West should hold less sway in the global economy. But their leaders, despite regular summits, have failed to articulate a coherent vision because of divergent interests, says journalist Martin Wolf.
Obiageli Ezekwesili discusses the rise of Africa as a frontier market, the prospects for growth in coming years, the emergence of new players in African economies, and the World Bank's most innovative projects in the region.
The Council on Foreign Relations' David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR's "think tank"—is home to more than seventy full-time, adjunct, and visiting scholars and practitioners (called "fellows"). Their expertise covers the world's major regions as well as the critical issues shaping today's global agenda. Download the printable CFR Experts Guide.
The author examines Pakistan's complex role in U.S. foreign policy and advocates for a two-pronged approach that works to quarantine threats while integrating Pakistan into the broader U.S. agenda in Asia.