It was never intended to be more than an investment catch phrase — coined by Goldman Sachs Asset Management chair Jim O’Neill — for the rising giants of the world economy. The poor Third World had already been re-labelled the emerging markets in 1986. Fifteen years later Bric was a kind of emerging markets label for dummies — the names Brazil, Russia, India, China are easy to remember. There was a craze for these acronyms in the early 2000s. Some of these are long forgotten; one is Civets (Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey and SA). At the end of 2010 SA was invited to join the Bric grouping (O’Neill objected), and it was renamed Brics. This provided President Cyril Ramaphosa with all those magnificent photo opportunities last week at the 10th Brics summit in Sandton. There has not been an international body representing the developing world since the Non-Aligned Movement, which was formed in Bandung, Indonesia, in 1955 and collapsed into irrelevance in the 1980s. US Presid...

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