South Africa in BRICS
BRICS is a group of leading emerging markets and developing countries, namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The first BRIC Summit was held in 2009 in Russia. South Africa was invited to join in December 2010, forming BRICS. Chairing BRICS follows the sequence of the acronym, so South Africa chaired BRICS in 2013, 2018 and now chairs BRICS in 2023.
South Africa’s participation in BRICS is premised on its national interests in line with the National Development Plan and the Medium-Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) 2019 – 2024 Priority 7. The objectives of South Africa’s engagement in BRICS are to enhance the future growth and development of South Africa through its BRICS membership, to strengthen intra-BRICS relations, and to develop mutually beneficial cooperation across the three pillars of cooperation. South Africa emphasises concrete cooperation that contributes both directly and indirectly to the priorities of a better South Africa, a better Africa, and a better world through its partnership with BRICS.
One of the founding values of BRICS is the shared commitment to restructure the global political, economic and financial architecture to be more equitable, balanced and representative. BRICS champions the interests of the broader global South. BRICS cooperation is built on the principles of mutual respect, sovereign equality, inclusiveness, consensus and strengthened collaboration. BRICS has grown to include around 180 meetings across the three pillars of political and security, economic and financial, and people-to-people cooperation, contributing to the sustainable development agenda, the development of humanity, and more fair global governance.
In line with the National Development Plan, South Africa leverages its BRICS membership to address the triple challenges of inequality, poverty and unemployment through increased intra-BRICS trade, investment, tourism, capacity building, skills, and technology transfers. BRICS cooperation provides tangible benefits for South Africa through science, technology and innovation, energy, health, and education cooperation, as well as through BRICS financing for infrastructure development, capacity building, research, educational and skilling, trade, investment, and tourism opportunities.
The 1st BRIC Summit was held in Yekaterinburg, Russia, in June 2009. Leaders discussed the international situation, global financial issues, G20 affairs, BRIC cooperation, food security, energy security, climate change and development aid. A Joint Statement was adopted after the summit, calling for greater voice and representation of emerging markets and developing countries in international financial institutions. The Leaders also endorsed a BRIC Joint Statement on Global Food Security.
The 2nd BRIC Summit was held in Brasilia, Brazil, in April 2010. Leaders discussed the international situation, international and regional hotspot issues, the international financial crisis, BRIC cooperation, G20 affairs, climate change and United Nations reform. A Joint Statement was adopted after the meeting, agreeing on specific measures to promote BRIC cooperation and coordination, marking the initial establishment of the BRICS cooperation mechanism. As BRIC entrepreneur forum, the BRIC inter-bank cooperation mechanism, the BRIC cooperative forum and a think tank conference was held.
The 3rd BRICS Summit was held in Sanya, China, in April 2011 under the theme: “Broad Vision, Shared Prosperity”. This was first summit in which South Africa participated. Leaders discussed the international situation, international economy and finance, development issues and BRICS cooperation and adopted the Sanya Declaration. During the summit, supporting events such as the BRICS think-tank conference, the BRICS Inter-Bank Cooperation Mechanism Annual Meeting and finance forum, the BRICS Business Forum and the BRICS Economy and Trade Ministers’ conference were also held.
The 4th BRICS Summit was held in New Delhi, India, in March 2012 under the theme: “BRICS Partnership for Global Stability, Security and Prosperity”. Leaders adopted the Delhi Declaration and emphasised the critical role played by BRICS countries in the world economy after the financial crisis.
The 5th BRICS Summit was held in Durban, South Africa, in March 2013 under the theme: “BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Development, Integration and Industrialization”. Leaders adopted the Durban Declaration and Action Plan, decided to establish the BRICS New Development Bank and Contingency Reserve Arrangement, and announced the founding of the BRICS Business Council and BRICS Think Tank Council. The first BRICS Outreach Dialogue was held between BRICS and African Leaders during the summit.
The 6th BRICS Summit was held in Fortaleza, Brazil, in July 2014 under the theme: “Inclusive Growth: Sustainable Solutions”. Leaders adopted the Fortaleza Declaration and witnessed the Agreement on the Establishment of the New Development Bank and the Treaty for the Establishment of a BRICS Contingency Reserve Arrangement. BRICS Leaders held a dialogue with Leaders of South American countries during the summit.
The 7th BRICS Summit was held in Ufa, Russia, in July 2015 under the theme: “BRICS Partnership–a Powerful Factor of Global Development”. Leaders adopted the Ufa Declaration and Action Plan and witnessed the signing of the BRICS Inter-Governmental Agreement on Cooperation in the Field of Culture, the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation between the BRICS Banking Mechanism and the New Development Bank as well as the Memorandum of Understanding on the Establishment of a BRICS Joint Website. BRICS Leaders held a dialogue with the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), Shanghai Cooperation Organization members and observer states, and other guest countries.
The 8th BRICS Summit was held in Goa, India, in October 2016 under the theme: “Building Responsive, Inclusive, and Collective Solutions”. Leaders adopted the Goa Declaration and Plan of Action and witnessed the signature of the Memorandum of Understanding on the Establishment of the BRICS Agricultural Research Platform and the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation between the BRICS Diplomatic Academies. BRICS Leaders held a dialogue with Leaders of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC).
The 9th BRICS Summit was held in, in September 2017 under the theme: “BRICS: Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future”. Leaders adopted the Xiamen Declaration and Action Plan. BRICS Leaders held the first BRICS Dialogue with Leaders of Emerging Market and Developing Countries.
The 10th BRICS Summit was held in Johannesburg, South Africa, in July 2018 under the theme of “BRICS in Africa: Collaboration for Inclusive Growth and Shared Prosperity in the Fourth Industrial Revolution”. Leaders adopted the Johannesburg Declaration and Plan of Action. An informal Leaders Retreat was held along with a joint BRICS Outreach Dialogue with Leaders of the Southern African Development Community and a BRICS Plus Dialogue with Leaders of organisations of the global South.
The 11th BRICS Summit was held in Brasilia, Brazil, in November 2019 under the theme: “BRICS: Economic Growth for an Innovative Future”. Leaders adopted the Brasilia Declaration. Leaders attended the BRICS Business Forum and held meetings with the BRICS Business Council and the New Development Bank.
The 12th BRICS Summit was held virtually in November 2020 under the theme: “BRICS Partnership for Global Stability, Shared Security, and Innovative Growth”. Leaders addressed BRICS cooperation in combating the COVID-19 pandemic. Leaders adopted the Moscow Declaration and received reports from the President of the New Development Bank and other BRICS cooperation mechanisms.
The 13th BRICS Summit was held virtually in September 2021 under the theme: “BRICS@15: Intra BRICS cooperation for continuity, consolidation, and consensus”. Leaders adopted the New Delhi Declaration which reflected on the achievements of BRICS cooperation since its inception and welcomed the Joint Statement on Strengthening and Reforming the Multilateral System adopted in 2021.
The 14th BRICS Summit was held virtually in June 2022 under the theme: Foster High-quality BRICS Partnership, Usher in a New Era for Global Development”. Leaders adopted the Beijing Declaration and welcomed the BRICS Initiative on Enhancing Cooperation on Supply Chains and a BRICS Strategy on Food Security Cooperation. BRICS Leaders addressed the situation in Ukraine, supporting dialogue and mediation as the only path to peace. BRICS Leaders held a virtual High-Level Dialogue on Global Development with Leaders of Emerging Market and Developing Countries in June 2022 under the theme: “Foster a Global Development Partnership for the New Era to Jointly Implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”