To Build the Edifice of BRICS Together and Usher in the Next Golden Decade
Jiang Jiang, Chinese Ambassador to Malta
On 4th September 2017, the Ninth BRICS Summit was successfully concluded in Xiamen, China. The summit adopted the BRICS Leaders Xiamen Declaration, which reaffirmed the BRICS spirit of openness, inclusiveness and win-win cooperation, reviewed the important experience of the success of BRICS over the past decade, and mapped out a blueprint for its next golden decade.
The concept of BRICS is synonymous with development. In 2001, Prof. Jim O’Neill, a famous British economist coined BRIC, the acronym for Brazil, Russia, India and China – the major four rapidly developing countries. In September 2006, the BRIC foreign ministers held a meeting in New York during the United Nations General Assembly, marking the beginning of the BRIC cooperation mechanism. The inclusion of South Africa in 2011 made the BRIC cooperation mechanism much more representative, covering Asia, Europe, Latin America and Africa. Few had thought that these five largely different emerging market economies would come together through thick and thin in the next few years and become an important post-crisis engine of the global economy with their remarkable success in development.
Over the past decade, the share of BRICS countries in global GDP has jumped from 12% to 23%, with their share of trade up from 11% to 16%. As a result, the 3.6 billion people of BRICS countries, or 40% of the world population, are living a better life. According to an IMF report, BRICS accounts for more than half of the world economic growth in the past 10 years. These numbers reflect BRICS’s rising international position and influence and the significance of advancing the BRICS cooperation mechanism.
BRICS also plays an important part in global governance. Although there have all along been doubts about whether BRICS can truly succeed, the BRICS cooperation mechanism has done well against the odds and demonstrated strong resilience by becoming a model of close cooperation for developing countries. On major international and regional issues, the BRICS countries uphold justice, coordinate their stances, and strive to make the international political and economic system more fair and equitable.
BRICS is not an exclusive club, but an open platform, and its influence goes far beyond its five countries. On the occasion of the Xiamen summit, the Chinese side hosted the Dialogue of Emerging Market and Developing Countries, creating the “BRICS Plus” cooperation approach. The leaders of BRICS countries and Egypt, Mexico, Thailand, Tajikistan and Guinea attended the Dialogue. They discussed ways to enhance South-South cooperation and boost cooperation on international development. As its circle of friends continues to expand, BRICS has drawn the rest of the developing world closer to itself. This will go a long way in strengthening its communication and cooperation with other emerging market and developing countries.
BRICS cooperation is now at a crucial stage of development. How to jointly usher in the second “Golden Decade” of BRICS cooperation? President Xi Jinping has proposed his ideas at the Xiamen Summit. First, BRICS needs to boost its cooperation to create new impetus for its economic growth. Second, BRICS needs to shoulder responsibilities for global peace and stability. Third, BRICS needs to contribute to stronger global economic governance. Fourth, BRICS needs to increase its influence and build extensive partnerships. The four aspects cover both the individual development endeavor of each BRICS country and their cooperation, as well as the BRICS’s mission of world peace and development.
In a world full of uncertainties and challenges, China will work together with other BRICS countries, stay committed to enhancing economic cooperation as a central task and deliver more solid progress and benefits of BRICS cooperation to more countries around the world. In this way, BRICS will usher in a more vibrant “golden decade”.
There is no doubt that the difference that BRICS cooperation makes will make our world a much better place.