The heads of state and government of all five BRICS nations including Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa convened for the 10th BRICS Summit from July 25-27, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Theme: ‘BRICS in Africa: Collaboration for inclusive growth and shared prosperity in the 4th Industrial Revolution’
The summit saw the BRICS leaders come together and discuss various international and regional issues of common concern and adopted the ‘Johannesburg Declaration‘ by consensus. The declaration reaffirms principles of democracy, inclusiveness and agrees to fight unilateralism and protectionism.
Key Points of the Declaration
The leaders jointly reaffirmed their commitment to the principles of mutual respect, sovereign equality, democracy, inclusiveness and strengthened collaboration.
The BRICS leaders have used the summit to reject the growing unilateralism and instead reiterate their commitment to the strengthening of multilateral institutions, calling for stronger intra-trade within member states.
The declaration comes as the United States and China remain deadlocked in a trade war over tariffs.
The leaders reaffirmed their commitment to fully implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to provide equitable, inclusive, open, all-round innovation-driven and sustainable development, in its three dimensions — economic, social and environmental — in a balanced and integrated manner, towards the ultimate goal of eradicating poverty by 2030.
BRICS has produced a 102-paragraph-long Johannesburg Declaration, one of the longest in recent years.
Trade – BRICS framed its deliberations against U.S. President’s unconventional approach on world affairs.It made a special mention of the looming trade wars among major powers.BRICS leaders thus stressed the centrality of the rules-based order.It calls for a transparent, non-discriminatory, open and inclusive multilateral trading based on WTO.Besides, the declaration discussed on the problem of international terrorism.
Industrial Revolution – BRICS leaders will soon commence the full operationalization of the BRICS Partnership on New Industrial Revolution (PartNIR).PartNIR will deepen BRICS cooperation in digitalization, industrialization, innovation, inclusiveness and investment.It aims to maximize the opportunities and address the challenges arising from the 4th Industrial Revolution.PartNIR should engage with the private sector and young innovators working at the cutting edge of technology.
Development – The leaders renewed their commitment to an inclusive and “people-centred approach” on development.The need for a new strategy on employment, education and skill development was also articulated.This especially gains significance as the digital revolution unfolds.
Business – BRICS Business Council has been actively enhancing trade and economic cooperation.It covers diverse sectors ranging from manufacturing and energy to financial services and regional aviation.
Africa – The BRICS outreach to Africa that began at the summit in 2013 has picked up momentum now.African leaders are in want of more big loans from the New Development Bank (NDB) for their infrastructure projects.So far, the NDB has dispersed loans totalling $5.1 billion, but all to its members only.
BRICS Plus – China introduced the “BRICS Plus” format at the Xiamen summit last year.It involved inviting a few countries from different regions.South Africa emulated it, with representation of five nations of its choice.The countries were Argentina, Jamaica, Turkey, Indonesia and Egypt.An immediate benefit of BRICS Plus is the opportunities it provides for networking among leaders.However, the precise role of “BRICS Plus” countries will take time to evolve.
The leaders reiterated the need for renewed diplomatic efforts to achieve a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in order to achieve peace and stability in the Middle East, through negotiations with a view to creating an independent, viable, territorially contiguous Palestinian State living side by side in peace and security with Israel.E
India at BRICS
• Addressing the 10th BRICS summit, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the fourth industrial revolution presents both opportunities and challenges for the BRICS nations.
• He said there is need to be vigilant about the adverse impact of the disruptive technologies on the economies of the developing nations. He also laid emphasis on the need to focus on skill development and vocational training to reap the benefits of 4th industrial revolution.
• In his concluding remarks, the Prime Minister said that there is a need to share best practices and policies among BRICS countries.
• The Prime Minister held bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the Summit with the leaders of Russia, China, South Africa, Argentina and Angola.
• It was Modi’s third meeting with Chinese President Xi Zinping in last 3 months.
Besides the BRICS Summit 2018, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi participated in the BRICS Outreach with leaders from Africa and Outreach with leaders from Global South summit.
In the BRICS Africa Outreach, the invited countries include Rwanda, Uganda, Togo, Zambia, Namibia, Senegal, Gabon, Ethiopia, Angola and the African Union Chair.
What is BRICS?
BRICS is made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.The group was formed initially with just four nations –Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC). The term- BRIC was coined by global economist Jim O’Neill in 2001 as an acronym of four countries that were all deemed to be at a similar stage of newly advanced economic development.
Why only these four countries?According to a thesis proposed by Jim O’Neill, global economist at Goldman Sachs, the economic potential of Brazil, Russia, India and China is such that they could be among the four most dominant economies by 2050.The countries not only encompass over 25 per cent of the world’s land coverage and 40 per cent of the world’s population but also hold a combined GDP (PPP) of $20 trillion.On almost every scale, they would be the largest entity on the global stage, as the four nations are among the biggest and fastest-growing emerging markets
.Key AimThe original aim of the grouping was to establish an equitable, democratic and multi-polar world order.
When was the first BRIC meeting held?The first BRIC Foreign Ministers’ Meeting was held in 2006 between China, Brazil, Russia and India on the margins of the general debate of the 61st session of the United Nations General Assembly, which drew the prelude for BRIC cooperation.In 2009, the first BRIC Summit was held in Yekaterinburg, Russia and in 2010, it became a formal institution. Since then, the Summit has become an annual event. Till date, 8 Summits have been held.
How did BRIC become BRICS?In December 2010, China, the Chair of the group then, invited South Africa to join BRIC and attend the Summit in Sanya, China.Following the summit, BRIC officially expanded to include 5 countries and the acronym changed from BRIC to BRICS.
Relevance of BRICS today
• With 10 years of development, BRICS has grown into an important platform for cooperation among emerging markets and developing countries.
• BRICS countries come from Asia, Africa, Europe and America and are all members of the G20.
• Together, the nations account for 26.46 per cent of the world land area, 42.58 per cent of the world’s population, 13.24 per cent of the World Bank voting power and 14.91 per cent of IMF quota shares.
• According to IMF’s estimates, the BRICS countries generated 22.53 per cent of the world GDP in 2015 and they have contributed more than 50 per cent of world economic growth during the last 10 years.