BRICS, entered into its second decade in 2017 and has emerged as an influential, global multi-lateral platform since its establishment in June 2006. South Africa joined BRICS in 2010 at the 5th BRICS Summit in Durban. BRICS is one of the major fundamentals of South Africa’s foreign policy. The BRICS Business Council is a significant parallel stream initatied to focus on business to business engagements in the interests of creating tangible inter- trade and investment opportunities between the partner countries.

Central to the BRICS philosophy is the notion that the world is a multi-polar universe, and engagement between countries should be based on mutual cooperation. The principle is that no single power should dominate the global economic and political agenda. Another guiding principle is that dialogue, not war, is the appropriate mechanism to deal with the worlds many conflicts and challenges. 

Any country that shares this philosophical principle is welcome to engage with BRICS. The BRICS agenda is more than about the five member states. It places high premium on cooperation with other emerging markets and developing countries and aims to establish effective dialogue mechanisms with them.

Continental and inter-regional cooperation and integration efforts have been ongoing for several decades now. Theory and experience have proved that such cooperation can positively contribute to capacity development, infrastructure and economic development across countries and regions. Emphasis on the term “cooperation” signals a process of working or acting together often towards a common goal.



On a practical level, BRICS is a force to be reckoned with, as 40 % of the world’s population live in the BRICS countries. In economic terms they account for approximately 30% of global GDP, which is projected to surpass the size of the G-7 economies by mid-century.

BRICS is indeed an epochal development and is gaining in ascendancy as an influential global platform. The BRICS Business Council, six years old in 2019, is following this trajectory of making multi-lateral and bi-lateral economic cooperation between BRICS and developing economies possible.

South Africa’s Export Trade With BRICS Countries (in $ billion)

(adapted from
2009 (prior to joining BRICS) $ 8.3%
2010 (South Africa joined BRICS) $ 12.1%
2016 $ 10.6%
2011 (one year after joining BRICS) $ 17%
2012 $ 15.3%
2013 $ 16.1%
2014 $ 13.4%
2015 $ 9.7%
2016 $ 10.6%

BRICS countries are

0 %
of the world’s population
0 %
of the world’s territory
0 %
of the world’s GDP