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BRICS

Brics 2019: Cooperation in communication and information technology

11/11/2019 | 18h20
Brics 2019: Cooperation in communication and information technology
Marcelo Camargo/Agência Brasil Marcelo Camargo/Agência Brasil

What was originally conceived as a nickname given by the financial market gained momentum and became a cooperation mechanism encompassing 3.1 billion people, or 41 percent of the world’s population. An acronym formed with the initials of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, Brics is made up of the globe’s five top emerging economies and is holding its 11th summit meeting in Brasília on Wednesday and Thursday (Nov. 14, 15).

 

In 2001, British economist Jim O’Neill, former chairman of Asset Management at US investment bank Goldman Sachs, coined the term Bric (at first without South Africa) to symbolize the growth of four developing economies. Over the course of the 21st century, he said, these countries would come to share global economic power with the G7—the seven richest economies on the planet.

 

Bric, however, was not born until 2006, when the foreign ministers of the four countries met in New York at an event parallel to the United Nations Assembly. The group was formalized at the first official meeting of heads of state in Yekaterinburg, Russia, in June 2009.

 

On the occasion, the presidents of Brazil, Russia, India, and China agreed to devise a cooperation mechanism for all four economies. The governments would help each other in order to improve the globe’s economic landscape after the 2008 crisis and expand the participation of emerging countries in international financial institutions, like the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

 

In April 2010, then South American President Jacob Zuma attended the second summit gathering, in Brasília, as a guest. South Africa joined the group at the third summit meeting, in Aril, 2011, in Sanya, China. The acronym was given an extra letter and became Brics.

 

In 2010, Bric played a key role in the approval of the overhaul that increased emerging economies’ quotas in the IMF. The agreement did not become effective until December 2015, when the developing countries’ voting power went from roughly 39.4 percent to 44.7 percent. The total of Brazilian quotas in the IMF rose from 1.78 percent to 2.32 percent, with Brazil climbing from the 14th to 10th position on the ranking of shareholders.

 

Initiatives

Brics countries deepened their ties in 2011 by creating the Brics Forum, an independent international organization seeking to stimulate political, commercial, and cultural cooperation among its members. At the 2013 meeting in Durban, South Africa, the governments agreed to create a joint financial institution. Also known as the Brics Bank, the New Development Bank was made official at the 2014 meeting, in Fortaleza, Brazil.

 

The Shanghai-based bank was born in 2015, and aims to tackle the global shortage of resources to fund infrastructure projects and serve as an alternative to the IMF and the World Bank. Each of the five countries made a $10 billion contribution to form the institution's capital.

 

In another initiative, the Brics countries created the Contingent Reserve Arrangement, a collective fund with a portion of the international reserves of each country, to help nations facing difficulties with their external accounts. With $100 billion, the fund has $41 billion from China, $18 billion from Brazil, India, and Russia (each), and $5 billion from South Africa. The deal did not include the transfer of international reserves. Each member country committed to lend these funds to a member if necessary.

 

New areas of cooperation

Since 2015, the Brics countries have sought to expand their areas of cooperation. Among the sectors viewed as priority for Brazil are health care, science, technology, innovation, digital economy, efforts against transnational crime, and closer ties with the New Development Bank and companies. As preparation for the 11th summit meeting in Brasília, the Brics communication ministers signed a joint letter in August this year to institute cooperation in communication and information technology.



Font: Agência Brasil
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