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.