The five emerging nations of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) recently gathered in Durban, SA to complete the first cycle of Brics summits. The overriding result of these summits which began in 2009 is the objective to set up their own Brics institutions, most notably a development bank. The BRICS development bank would compete with the distinctly western, Bretton Woods ideologies established in the IMF and World Bank.
Chen Yaun veteran of the China development bank is responsible for organising the BRICS Bank to become more than an ideology. However as of yet there is no clear new initiative and the bank looks set to follow already established dichotomy of economic aid and development. Many argue rather than revolutionising the process the diversity of these nations means they do not have “enough in common and enough shared goals to function effectively as a counterweight to the west” (New York Times, 2013). However these nations do have a united experience of resisting the west, through their common rejection of the neoliberal development model. This is perhaps most noted in China but is also prevalent in the other member states, often enabling their rapid development, rather than inhibiting economic growth.
All these nations have frequently called for reform within the IMF and World Bank due to their development experiences, but their objections remain ignored. Such an alliance would also heighten China’s influence in places outside their current reach, within countries that already have strong ties with other nation members. Although South Africa is a recent addition to the group and doesn’t quite match up to the economic capabilities of China or the others, it does enable greater access to Africa’s valuable and highly sought resources.
Such an alliance could create greater influence especially for China within other countries and long standing institutions such as the IMF and World Bank. The current unipolar global organisation around the US appears ever more vulnerable; perhaps a new world order is likely to emerge in the not too distant future. However the BRICS bank alone is unlikely to create sustained changes to the discourse on global development aid.