The 2016 BRICS summit was the eighth annual BRICS summit, an international relations conference attended by the heads of country or heads of government of the five member countries Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The summit was held from 15 to 16 October 2016 at the Taj Exotica hotel in Benaulim, Goa, India. India holds the chair of the BRICS from February 2016 to December 2016. the theme of 8th summit was “Building Responsive, Inclusive & Collective Solutions.”
BRICS brings together five major emerging economies, comprising 43% of the world population, having 30% of the world GDP and 17% share in the world trade.
The acronym BRIC was first used in 2001 by Goldman Sachs in their Global Economics Paper, “The World Needs Better Economic BRICs” on the basis of econometric analyses projecting that the economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China would individually and collectively occupy far greater economic space and would be amongst the world’s largest economies in the next 50 years or so.
As a formal grouping, BRIC started after the meeting of the Leaders of Russia, India and China in St. Petersburg on the margins of G8 Outreach Summit in 2006. The grouping was formalized during the 1st meeting of BRIC Foreign Ministers on the margins of UNGA in New York in 2006. The 1st BRIC Summit was held in Yekaterinburg, Russia, on 16 June 2009.
It was agreed to expand BRIC into BRICS with the inclusion of South Africa at the BRIC Foreign Ministers’ meeting in New York in September 2010. Accordingly, South Africa attended the 3rd BRICS Summit in Sanya, China on 14 April 2011.
Seven BRICS Summits have taken place so far. The 8th BRICS Summit will be hosted by India during its Chairmanship in 2016. The earlier Summits were held as under :
- 7th BRICS Summit – 8-9 July 2015 in Russia (Ufa)
- 6th BRICS Summit – 14–16 July 2014 in Brazil (Fortaleza)
- 5th BRICS Summit – 26–27 March 2013 in South Africa (Durban)
- 4th BRICS Summit – 29 March 2012 in India (New Delhi)
- 3rd BRICS Summit – 14 April 2011 in China (Sanya)
- 2nd BRIC Summit – 16 April 2010 in Brazil (Brasilia)
- 1st BRIC Summit – 16 June 2009 in Russia (Yekaterinburg)
Starting essentially with economic issues of mutual interest, the agenda of BRICS meetings has considerably widened over the years to encompass topical global issues. BRICS cooperation has two pillars – consultation on issues of mutual interest through meetings of Leaders as well as of Ministers of Finance, Trade, Health, S&T, Education, Agriculture, Communication, Labour, etc. and practical cooperation in a number of areas through meetings of Working Groups/Senior Officials. Regular annual Summits as well as meetings of Leaders on the margins of G20 Summits are held.
Currently, there are two components that make up the financial architecture of BRICS, namely, the New Development Bank (NDB) and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA). Both of these components were signed into treaty in 2014 and became active in 2015.
New Development Bank-
The New Development Bank (NDB), formerly referred to as the BRICS Development Bank, is a multilateral development bank operated by the BRICS states. The bank’s primary focus of lending will be infrastructure projects with authorized lending of up to $34 billion annually. South Africa will be the African Headquarters of the Bank named the “New Development Bank Africa Regional Centre”. The bank will have starting capital of $50 billion, with capital increased to $100 billion over time. Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa will initially contribute $10 billion each to bring the total to $50 billion.
The BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) is a framework for providing protection against global liquidity pressures. This includes currency issues where members’ national currencies are being adversely affected by global financial pressures. It is found that emerging economies that experienced rapid economic liberalization went through increased economic volatility, bringing uncertain macroeconomic environment. The CRA is generally seen as a competitor to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and along with the New Development Bank is viewed as an example of increasing South-South cooperation. It was established in 2015 by the BRICS countries Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The legal basis is formed by the Treaty for the Establishment of a BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement, signed at Fortaleza, Brazil on 15 July 2014. With its inaugural meetings of the BRICS CRA Governing Council and Standing Committee, held on September 4, 2015, in Ankara, Turkey it entered into force upon ratification by all BRICS states, announced at the 7th BRICS summit in July 2015.
BRICS payment system
At the 2015 BRICS summit in Russia, ministers from BRICS nations, initiated consultations for a payment system that would be an alternative to the SWIFT system. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov stated in an interview, “The finance ministers and executives of the BRICS central banks are negotiating … setting up payment systems and moving on to settlements in national currencies. SWIFT or not, in any case we’re talking about … a transnational multilateral payment system that would provide greater independence, would create a definite guarantee for BRICS.”
The Central Bank of Russia (CBR) also started consultations with BRICS nations for a payment system that would be an alternative to the SWIFT system. The main benefits highlighted were backup and redundancy in case there were disruptions to the SWIFT system. The Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of the Russia, Olga Skorobogatova stated in an interview, “The only topic that may be of interest to all of us within BRICS is to consider and talk over the possibility of setting up a system that would apply to the BRICS countries, used as a backup.”
China has also initiated development of their own payment system called CIPS that would alternative to the SWIFT system. The Cross-Border Inter-Bank Payments System (CIPS) is a planned alternative payments system to SWIFT which would provide a network that enables financial institutions worldwide to send and receive information about financial transactions in a secure, standardized and reliable environment.
8th BRICS Summit : Goa Declaration