The BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – could recover from the Covid-19 pandemic and its induced recession more quickly if India and Brazil work with China instead of fight it. In doing so, the BRICS could pull the world economy on an upward trajectory for a number of reasons.
One, the five countries” economies are highly complementary. For example, Brazil, Russia and to some extent South Africa and India could guarantee the natural resources China needs to sustain its manufacturing prowess. China, for its part, has the capital, know-how and technology to invest in its fellow members” infrastructures and help their industrialization, taking them to the next stages of development.
Two, being major developing nations, the BRICS have considerable room for expanding the size and scope of their economies.
Three, the BRICS” combined GDP is already large, at US$45 trillion in PPP (purchasing power parity) terms and is expected to surpass the Group of Seven’s $44 trillion in 2021.
What’s more, the World Bank and other organizations are predicting that the average BRICS annualized growth rate for 2021 and beyond is estimated at more than 5%, compared with the G7’s less than 4%. So the BRICS have a solid foundation for sustaining long-term economic growth and stability.
It could be argued that it was Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s playing the anti-China card that was largely responsible for those two countries” pandemic crisis and economic malaise. For example, they refused to accept Chinese vaccines and medical help to control the pandemic’s surge.
Unfortunately, the bad news did not end there, the efforts to rein in the pandemic culminated in contracting the economy of India by 8% and of Brazil by 4% in 2020.
It is too bad that Modi and Bolsonaro placed their own interests over those of their people. In the quest for votes, the two leaders in fact squandered the opportunities to control the pandemic and reverse the economic downturns. Along with their fellow BRICS members, Brazil and India do have what it takes not only to recover from the pandemic, but to be the world’s economic lighthouse.
Brazil, Russia and South Africa (to a lesser extent) are richly endowed with oil, gas, iron ore and other natural resources China requires to sustain its manufacturing prowess. As the most populous of the five nations, China and India are also blessed with an abundance of human capital. With the right policies and cooperative relations, the BRICS could realize huge economic, geopolitical and social gains.
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