The first decade of BRICS cooperation was marked by the rapid expansion in the themes discussed by the grouping. Since its first summit, in 2009, BRICS has established more than thirty cooperation areas. The most prominent are: economy and finance; health; science, technology & innovation; security and business. Altogether, these initiatives have resulted in a relevant set of achievements, which aim to provide concrete benefits to our societies.

 

BRICS main cooperation areas

 

1. ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL COOPERATION

New Development Bank (NDB)

 The New Development Bank (NDB), created at the Fortaleza Summit (2014), is one of the most concrete results of the grouping's financial and economic cooperation. Through the activities of this bank, it is expected the mobilization of investment flows in infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS countries as well as in other emerging economies.

The NDB has a subscribed capital of US$ 50 billion dollars, and the BRICS partners shall contribute equally in the payment of the initial paid-in capital of US$ 10 billion dollars, up until 2022. With AA+ risk rating, accorded by the agencies Fitch and Standard & Poors, the NDB will make the access to financing lines with lower borrowing costs easier to its members, helping the bank to meet its institutional purposes.       

The NDB headquarters is in Shanghai, China. The first NDB regional office, located in Johannesburg, South Africa, is already operational. In 2019, the NDB regional office for the Americas is set to be inaugurated in Sao Paulo, Brazil, with a representation office in Brasilia as well.

Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA)

The CRA is an important mechanism to the macroeconomic support of BRICS countries. The arrangement aims at shoring up its member countries in the event of crises in their balance of payments.

The total amount of resources initially allocated to the CRA is set to attain the U$S 100 billion dollars mark. The countries' individual commitments are:  China (US$ 41bi); Brazil (US$ 18bi); Russia (US$ 18bi); India (US$ 18bi); South Africa (US$ 5bi).

 

2. HEALTH

BRICS health cooperation started with the First Meeting of Health Ministers of BRICS countries, in 2011. In 2018, it reached its eighth edition. This area of cooperation has resulted in the identification of common problems, such as the incidence of infectious diseases and the lack of equitable access to medical services and medicines. A concrete achievement on health cooperation is the Tuberculosis Research Network, which aims at promoting joint research and development initiatives on the fight against this disease. At the multilateral level, BRICS countries articulate in the margins of the World Health Assembly (WHA) since 2012 and coordinate on the support of the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health, from 2001.  

 

3. SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION

BRICS STI cooperation is one of the most promising areas of work in the grouping. It started in 2014, with the first ministerial meeting on the subject, which produced concrete results both in terms of know-how exchange and availability of resources to research projects. This area of cooperation already counts with eleven working groups, which deal with a range of subjects, such as geospatial technology, management of water resources, biotechnology and biomedicine, infrastructure of research and projects on science, information and communication technology, among other areas of interest.

BRICS cooperation in STI has the potential to foster researches that may result in the production of goods of high added technological value; the increase of patent requests, both national and shared ones; the creation of a network of technology parks and the exchange of knowledge between countries. The main objective of such cooperation is to generate concrete economic results from innovation.

 

4. SECURITY

The meetings of National Security Advisors (NSA) and the working groups on security issues are the main spaces of BRICS dialogue on security. In these occasions, the partners exchange their approaches on international security threats and on transnational crimes, such as drug trafficking, cyber-attacks, money laundering, corruption, and terrorism. In 2019, the NSA meeting and the working groups' activities will be advanced under the Brazilian chairship, during which the partners will discuss the continuation of current cooperation as well as the focus on the fight against transnational crime.      

 

5. BUSINESS

BRICS Business Council and Business Forum are the main mechanisms for business cooperation inside the grouping.

The Business Council was established in 2013, during the Durban Summit, in South Africa, and aims at bringing the business communities from the five countries closer, while sharing know-how and searching for new business opportunities. Currently, the Council already has nine working groups, with the following main subject areas: infrastructure, manufacturing, energy, agribusiness, financial services, regional aviation, harmonization of capacity levels and capacity development. In 2018, it was established the working group on Digital Economy, inside the council's structure. In 2019, Brazilian chairship intends to draw closer the activities of the Business Council and the New Development Bank.