The 10th Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China, SA) summit, which began in Johannesburg on Tuesday, will be important from collective and individual perspectives. How the member countries balance their individual aspirations with the collective goals of the Brics will be instrumental in deciding the organisation’s role in global affairs. The Brics was formed as an organisation of emerging economies that would co-operate with each other in development. It started as Bric, with Brazil, Russia, India and China being the first four members, and this was the structure when the first two summits were held in 2009 and 2010. Since SA was admitted as a full member in 2011 the organisation has operated mainly in the trade and economic domain. However, the foreign ministers’ meeting in Pretoria in June ahead of the summit indicated that Brics is looking to expand its outreach to the strategic domain. The foreign ministers also unequivocally affirmed their commitment to multilateralism and intern...

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