The acronym “BRIC” was initially formulated in 2001 by economist Jim O’Neill, of Goldman Sachs, in a report on growth prospects for the economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China, which together represented a significant share of the world`s production and population.

In 2006, the four countries initiated a regular informal diplomatic coordination, with annual meetings of Foreign Ministers at the margins of the General Debate of the UN General Assembly (UNGA). This successful interaction led to the decision that the dialogue was to be carried out at the level of heads of state and government in annual summits. As of the first summit, held in Yekaterinburg in 2009, the depth and scope of the dialogue among the Members of the BRIC nations was further enhanced. More than an acronym that identified countries emerging in the international economic order, BRIC became a new and promising political-diplomatic entity, far beyond the original concept tailored for the financial markets.

South Africa in the BRICS

On December 23, 2010 the then Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People`s Republic of China, Yang Jiechi, announced that South Africa had been officially invited to join the BRIC bloc as its fifth member.

The addition of South Africa to the BRIC successfully concluded the tireless efforts that South Africa had made to lobby for its admission to this group of emerging countries. The country was invited to join the group for numerous reasons, including its having the largest economy in Sub-Saharan Africa, the fact that at the time it accounted for about a third of the region`s GDP, and that ultimately the inclusion of South Africa as one of Africa`s largest economies would make the grouping more credible as a representative of the global south.

Thus, on April 13, 2011, on the occasion of the third BRIC conference in the Chinese city of Sanya, South Africa was officially welcomed as a member to the bloc. This transformed the BRIC to what is now known as the BRICS.