The BRICS: Three Things to Know

The BRICS: Three Things to Know

July 7, 2015 1:15 pm (EST)

The BRICS: Three Things to Know
Explainer Video
from Video

The leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS) are gathering in the Russian city of Ufa for their seventh annual summit. The bloc is expected to usher in a pair of institutions, a development bank and a currency reserve fund, that they hope will diminish Western control of the global financial system. Stewart M. Patrick, director of CFR’s International Institutions and Global Governance Program, offers three things to know about the BRICS. 

More From Our Experts

Diverse but Cooperative: The BRICS countries vary tremendously in terms of their political systems and economic strength. Brazil, India, and South Africa are liberal democracies, while China and Russia are authoritarian, explains Patrick. And China’s GDP is larger than that of the four other countries combined. However, "for all their differences, the BRICS find common ground in the principles of sovereignty and nonintervention," he says.

More on:

Global

International Organizations

Financial Alternatives: Developing countries remain underrepresented at the Bretton Woods institutions (the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, or IMF), and so the BRICS are launching their own financial organizations, says Patrick. The BRICS will seek to use their New Development Bank, funded at $50 billion, and a Contingency Reserve Arrangement, funded at $100 billion, to finance projects throughout the developing world. "New BRICS organizations offer an attractive alternative to U.S.-led institutions," says Patrick.

Inclusive Multilateralism; The BRICS are central members of multilateral arrangements, like the G20 and the Nuclear Security Summit process, that offer emerging economies a seat at the table. Like the BRICS, other rising powers such as Indonesia, Mexico, South Korea, and Turkey are eager to play a more prominent role in global governance, says Patrick. 

More From Our Experts

More on:

Global

International Organizations

Close

Top Stories on CFR

Climate Change

Experts have warned that time is running out to avoid climate catastrophe. Will the global climate conference spark action?

Drug Policy

The United States is being flooded with fentanyl-laced fake pills, exacerbating an opioid crisis already spiraling amid the pandemic.

Mexico

Experts argue that Mexico affects daily life in the United States more than any other country. For years, U.S. and Mexican officials have attempted to tackle immigration, trade, and security challenges, and their success has depended on cooperation. With so much at stake, Why It Matters investigates the complex relationship and the factors that threaten it.