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BRICS countries take centre stage, but who are they?

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BRICS countries take centre stage, but who are they?


In this edition of U-talk, Stéphane from Paris asked: “Despite the crisis, emerging markets seem to be coping better than others. This is apparently the case for BRICS countries whose 6th summit is to be held in Brazil in July 2014. But who are these BRICS countries?”

Guntram B. Wolff from the Centre of Economic Research in Brussels replied: “The BRICS countries are, so far, a loose association consisting of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

“Their size has grown tremendously in the last 10 years; their GDP has actually increased massively while at the same time their debt ratios – and the debt ratios of emerging markets in general – have actually fallen. And so this puts them very much in contrast to the advanced and developed countries which have actually increasing debt levels and even lower GDP growth than previously.

So in a sense we’re seeing here a real shift from the advanced economies to the emerging economies (the BRICS countries) with the latter really increasing in strength, being much more economically powerful than the advanced economies.

“Their growth is due to their very different levels of development, they’re still catching up. They also still have very young people, so very different demographies and they’re very hungry for growth, new jobs, new opportunities.

“The idea of the summit is to agree certain positions and to form consensus among themselves.

“But this is not easy for this group because they are a diverse group of countries, perhaps even more diverse than the countries of the European Union. They come from very different continents, very different traditions and also in terms of their economies they have quite different structures; yet of course they have common interests, for example: access to markets or the role of energy and raw material, which is for them much more important than for many advanced economies.”

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