BRICS summit shows power shift from West

A summit of the world’s biggest emerging economies has highlighted a shift in power away from the US and Europe.

The populations of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa account for 40% of the world’s people.

And those countries are experiencing the kind of economic growth that most in the West can only dream about.

Today’s summit meeting of leaders from the five nations in the Chinese resort of Sanya will try to parlay that growth into a greater role in global financial decision-making.

The EU and America are still struggling to emerge from the financial crisis.

But the five developing countries – known as Brics, an acronym coined by the investment bank Goldman Sachs – account for 45% of the world’s economic growth between them.

China, in particular, has emerged from the downturn stronger than ever, buying up tens of billions of pounds of debt to help bail out EU countries including Greece, Portugal and Spain.

The Asian country is also a buyer of US debt, holding more than one trillion dollars in treasury bills.

The Brics countries have already successfully lobbied for greater influence at the International Monetary Fund, the inter-governmental body that oversees the global financial system.

Developing countries were granted a 6% increase in voting rights in November.

“The other aspect of that push is a drive to get bodies like the IMF and the World Bank to accept the economic models that these countries have been developing,” said Duncan Innes-Ker of the Economist Intelligence Unit.

“Brics countries are using a more state-led development model. They are keen for a more open attitude to their approach.”

Aspirations to leadership positions on those organisations are also harboured by the five countries.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff recently complained to journalists in Beijing that the presidency of the IMF and the World Bank “cannot be a systematic rotation between the US and Europe, with the other countries excluded”.

But their shared concerns may go beyond the financial.

Following the summit, the Brics leaders are expected to release a statement condemning the use of force in the Middle East and North Africa, calling instead for dialogue.

China, Russia, Brazil and India have already condemned the US-led strikes against the Libyan regime.

“These countries want global clout,” said Mr Innes-Ker.

“Most of these countries are keen to be global powers and want their voices heard at the highest levels of international discussion.

“And given that they represent nearly half of the world’s population and are the motors driving forward global growth, it’s reasonable for them to demand a greater say.”
Source: Sky News

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