It all began in November 2001 when Jim O’Neill of the investment bank Goldman Sachs published the paper “Building Better Global Economic BRICs.” He predicted an increase in the influence on global GDP of the then BRIC states (an acronym for Brazil, Russia, India and China), especially China, thus emphasizing the need for a global reorganization of the economy and politics.
O’Neill added that by 2031 the BRIC states would catch up with, or even surpass, the economic output of the G7 states. In fact, according to estimates by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), as early as 2023 the BRIC GDP, expressed in dollars, at 32.1 percent of global GDP would surpass that of the G7 (29.9 percent).
The first summit of BRIC states was held in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg in June 2009. In 2010, the group expanded with the entry of South Africa, thus giving rise to BRICS. The next major expansion occurred at the recent August 22-24, 2023, summit in South Africa. Although the event had been in the air for some time, and a decision on the entry of new countries into the organization was expected, the choice of the BRICS summit in South Africa to invite six new countries – Argentina, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Ethiopia, Egypt and Iran – to join appeared surprising. It was to show that despite differences and disagreements, even in the founding core of the BRICS – particularly between China and India – this organization is capable of welcoming new members and growing without losing internal cohesion.