Brazil and the BRICS / by Mark Langevin


was the theme of the fifth BRICS summit, held in Durban, South Africa on March 26-27 2013.

According to Presidency of Brazil,

“With the Fifth Summit, BRICS completes its first cycle: each of its members hosted a high-level meeting – Russia in 2009, Brazil in 2010, China in 2011, India in 2012 and now South Africa. Each of the BRICS countries concurred to the consolidation of the agenda of the forum. Brazil will succeed South Africa in hosting the next BRICS Summit in 2014. Upon the inauguration of the second round of the BRICS Summits, Brazil will spare no efforts to further deepen intra-BRICS cooperation.”


Again, according the Brazilian Presidency,

“The growth of BRICS trade with the rest of the world, in turn, has also been staggering. BRICS-world trade jumped from US$ 1 trillion in 2002 to US$ 4.3 trillion in 2008, the year of the financial crisis. The contraction of world trade due to the global financial crisis resulted in this figure falling to US$ 3.5 trillion in 2009. In 2010, BRICS-world trade rebounded to US$ 4.6 trillion. In 2011, this amount rose even further to US$ 5.8 trillion, reaching US$ 6 trillion in 2012 – an increase of 482 percent in 10 years.”

Brazil runs a noticeable trade surplus among the BRICS, so the issue of trade is largely the fuel behind Brazil’s enthusiastic participation in the BRICS since the first summit in 2008. Moreover, a vibrant BRICS multilateralism reinforces Brazil’s foreign policy orientation and strengthens its voice within the G-20 deliberations.  There are limits to where the BRICS can go with their consultations, but this Summit in Durban reflects a consensus that collective action can both assist Africa develop while strengthening the relative international economic and political positions of the participating nation-states, including China, India and Russia aside from South Africa.

As the Presidency of Brazil reports, expect the Brazilian government to exert considerable diplomatic energy to move the BRICS forward and toward a difference making multilateralism that promises results in Africa and elsewhere.

Read the Brazilian Presidency's Press Release here.