Explainer: What makes the BRICS?


BRICS is the acronym for an association of five major emerging national economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

The grouping was originally known as “BRIC” before the inclusion of South Africa in 2010. The BRICS members are all developing or newly industrialized countries, but they are distinguished by their large, fast-growing economies and significant influence on regional and global affairs.


CCTV America takes a look at the individual BRICS nations and their economies.


Brazil is the seventh largest economy in the world, making it the second-largest BRICS nation.

But like many other BRICS nations, Brazil’s growth has slowed. During the first BRIC summit in 2008, Brazil’s economy was growing at more than 5 percent per year. But for 2014, the World Bank expects just 1.5 percent growth.




Russia’s economy is the third largest among the group and eighth worldwide.

When the first BRIC summit was held in 2008, Russia’s economy was growing at more than 5 percent annually. That has since slowed considerably: this year the World Bank estimates it will have just 0.5 percent growth.



Despite a huge population, India is only the fourth-biggest of the BRICS when it comes to the size of its economy. It ranks No. 10 in the world, but unlike most of the other BRICS, India has been picking up steam in recent years.

It’s growth rate during the first BRIC summit six years ago was just under 4 percent. For 2014, India is expected to grow more than 5 percent.



When it comes to the size of its economy, China is the largest BRICS nation, and has the second-largest economy in the world.

And unlike many of the other BRICS nations, China’s growth has only slowed slightly over the years.

At the first BRIC summit in 2008, China’s economy was growing 9.6 percent, and is currently chugging along at 7.5 percent.



South Africa is the smallest of the five BRICS nations in terms of economy, and ranks No. 33 in the world.

And like many other BRICS nations, it is growing at a slower pace than when it joined the association. In 2010 when South Africa joined BRICS, its economy was growing 3.1 percent, a little lower than 3.6 percent when the BRIC nations held their first annual summit in 2008. This year the World Bank estimates it will have just 2.0 percent growth.

GVO What makes a BRICS -South Africa



At the 2014 summit the BRICS nations approved the long-anticipated BRICS Development Bank.

Also known as the New Development Bank, it’s intended to finance infrastructure projects for the founding members of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, and in other emerging-market countries as well.

The NDB still needs approval from each BRICS countries’ lawmakers, which could take years. But when it’s set up, the bank will provide an alternative source of financing to the World Bank and International Monetary Fund for the BRICS and other emerging markets and perhaps give them greater control over funding decisions that affect them directly.

Each BRICS member is expected to put an equal share into establishing the startup capital of $50 billion with a goal to reach $100 billion. The BRICS bank will be headquartered in Shanghai. India will preside as president the first year, and Russia will be the chairman of the representatives. The first regional center of the bank will be set up in South Africa.


The BRICS also agreed to create a Contingent Reserve Arrangement, in which each country’s central bank would put aside a designated amount to be used in case of a currency crisis. China will contribute $41 billion, South Africa $5 billion and the others $18 billion each, for a total of $100 billion.



Five things you need to know about the $100 billion BRICS bank

CCTV America’s coverage of the 2014 BRICS summit

The summits, by year:

  1. 2009
  2. 2010
  3. 2011
  4. 2012
  5. 2013
  6. 2014

This report was compiled with information from CCTV News and the Wall Street Journal