BRICS nations have been rising in economic power and prestige over the last decade, at a faster pace than the West.
Here are 8 facts you should know about the BRICS:
1. BRICS is a bloc of fast-growing developing countries.
The term was coined by a Goldman Sachs economist in a 2001 paper (pdf), referring to the world’s largest and most influential developing economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa
2. It functions as a forum for discussion and cooperation between non-Western nations.
Centered around an annual summit, the purpose of BRICS is to facilitate discussion and to “create the conditions for a fairer world order.”
Its members are all seeking more influence in Western-led institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, as well as a move away from the dollar as the world’s reserve currency.
3. It recently announced that it is creating its own $100 billion global bank.
Similar to the IMF, the newly created New Development Bank can dispense money to any participating nation that finds itself in a crisis, for instance by buying up local currency to counter an outflow of capital.
4. Together, the BRICS nations account (pdf) for about 20% of the world’s Gross Domestic Product…
GDP numbers courtesy of the World Bank (pdf).
5. … and are home to almost 3 billion people, more than 40% (pdf) of the world’s population…
6. … which includes around 50% (pdf) of the world’s poor.
7. They all possess (military and non-military) nuclear technology.
Although Russia is the only BRICS nation to rely on nuclear energy for a significant amount of its electricity (around 20%) , all five BRICS nations operate nuclear power plants and have plans to expand them.
8. A planned BRICS Internet cable will allow traffic to circumvent the West (and the NSA).
The cable, which has been in the works since 2011, may be ready by mid-2015 (although it’s been delayed before).