According to the foreign minister, Bangladesh will join BRICS in August of this year.
Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, together known as the BRICS, have made an effort to transition from a promising cluster of resources to a global diplomatic and financial catalyst.
Jim O'Neill, the former head of global economic research at Goldman Sachs Asset Management, published a study in November 2001 that catalysed the BRICS story. "The World Needs a Better Economic Brick," even if South Africa didn't exist. This occurred as the world struggled to recover from the 9/11-related economic disaster. While pointing out that GDP growth will not be as rapid as it has been in the next few decades, O'Neill emphasised the enormous potential of BRICS.
However, while Russia was recovering from the post-Soviet crisis of the 1990s, China's and India's economies were expanding quickly, and commodity prices were rising in Russia. O'Neill projected in 2003 that the GDP of the BRICS may overtake that of the G6 by 2040 since their growth was so far ahead of the time's advanced economies.
While everyone anticipated that the BRICS would experience economic success, a strong alliance was less plausible. Considering that each of the alliance's members is a country with a unique economic structure and a mixed system of governance.
However, the BRICS saw their economic partnership as a chance to increase their global influence by developing a rival to Western-run international organisations.
The inclusion of South Africa, the African continent's largest economy, in the alliance in 2010 strengthened it even further. By 2014, this economic coalition had founded the 'New Development Bank' as a rival to the World Bank. To spare its members from the short-term balance of payment difficulties, BRICS established the Contingent Reserve System the following year.
At least, generally speaking, the BRICS have continued to grow economically. However, China is the only BRICS member that has consistently maintained economic growth. Regarding its contribution to the world GDP (based on purchasing power parity), it also does better than the G7. Furthermore, trade between alliance members on a bilateral basis is expanding quickly. The coalition's greater goals, however, are not making much progress.
However, the current state of affairs indicates that BRICS has changed course once more. Members have recently started discussing trading in 'dollar alternative' currencies. Some have even brought up the idea of a new BRICS currency that is transferable. De-dollarisation demands, however, are not new.
Some academics think the BRICS monetary system may eventually displace the US dollar. If not, it might at least upset the dollar's monopoly. Above all, BRICS appears to be developing into a powerful platform for collaboration on global governance, development and climate change.
In reality, 30 nations have shown interest in joining BRICS; this will be debated at the group's summit in South Africa in August this year. These nations include but are not limited to Argentina, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. The objectives that led to the formation of the alliance have not yet been met, possibly because the institutional framework of the coalition is still in its early stages.
The West has also hesitated to alter the international order it wishes to loosen to increase the influence of developing nations like China and India. After all, since the G20 was established in 1999, calls for reform have gotten louder and more frequent. Following the 1997–1998 Asian financial crises, the central bank governors and finance ministers of the region started holding regular high-level meetings, which were frequently requested by delegates from outside the Western bloc.
Additionally, China's many-pronged strategies are fostering greater intentions in the alliance among nations disgruntled with Western control as the BRICS works to establish a new global order. There is nothing unexpected if countries like Saudi Arabia or Argentina also participate in this effort. As a result, a worldview and institutional frameworks like China's BRICS+ can have a significant impact. China is progressing towards its lofty objectives, such as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
The BRICS coalition has never been equated with actual leadership; the group is likewise opposed to the idea of a world government. But the West can learn a lot from the BRICS' expanding influence. Western organisations must make specific changes for the current world order to stay relevant.
Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, together known as the BRICS, have tried to develop into a cohesive diplomatic and financial catalyst in the real world. The BRICS members are now pretty important players in the current global context making Bangladesh's imminent addition a timely one.
Anup Sinha is a researcher and freelance columnist specialising in South Asian Affairs. He has an MSS degree in International Relations from the University of Dhaka.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of The Business Standard.