An overview

The 2020 BRICS summit was the planned twelfth annual BRICS summit, an international relations conference was attended by the heads of state or heads of government of the five member states Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. The meeting was originally scheduled to take place in Saint Petersburg from July 21 to 23, 2020 but was postponed indefinitely due to the outbreak of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The BRICS Summit was held virtually on Nov 17, 2020.The summit’s agenda included Intra-BRICS co-operation, key global issues such as reforming the multilateral system, measures to mitigate the impact of the pandemic, counter-terrorism co-operation, trade, health, and energy.

Russia chaired 7th BRICS summit, Ufa. The 1st Sherpa meeting was held in Saint Petersburg between 11-13 February 2020,under chairmanship of Sergei Ryabkov, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation and Russian Sherpa for BRICS.

The following topics were discussed: 

● Intra-BRICS cooperation
● key global issues such as reforming the multilateral system
● measures to mitigate the impact of the pandemic 
● counter-terrorism cooperation
● trade
● health
● energy

General BRICS Information: 

● The five countries comprise 42 percent of the world’s population, 23 percent of the of the global GDP. 
 Spanning over five continents, they comprise of one fourth of the world land area, half of all economic growth and 43 percent.  
● The BRICS will approach the total size of the G7 economies by 2030,
and by the middle of this century they are projected to be nearly double the  size of the G-7.  
● About 50 per cent of world’s workforce is in BRICS countries. Possible future BRICS members and countries who have expressed interest in
joining include: Argentina, Indonesia, Mexico, Turkey, Egypt, Iran, Nigeria,  Sudan, Syria, Bangladesh and Greece.  
● Idea to form this group was conceived by Goldman Sachs. 

Key Highlights


During a BRICS summit, President Bolsonaro said that in the coming days, his government will name countries involved in the import of wood which is extracted illegally from the Amazon rainforest, where illegal felling of trees has increased recently, especially during the pandemic.He has urged for increased mining, farming, and economic development. Additionally, he undermined the role of forest fires.


PM Modi emphasized a comprehensive reform process under the ‘Self-reliant India’ campaign. The campaign is based on the belief that a self-reliant and resilient India post-Covid can be a force multiplier for the global economy and make a strong contribution to the global value chains.
He also underlined that BRICS economies will play a crucial role in the global recovery after the pandemic.“We have more than 42 per cent of the world’s population, and our countries are among the main engines of the global economy. There is a lot of scope for increasing mutual trade between BRICS countries. Our mutual institutions and systems—such as BRICS Interbank Cooperation Mechanism, New Development Bank, Contingent Reserve Arrangement and Customs Cooperation can also make our contribution effective in the global recovery,” he said.
The Prime Minister also identified terrorism as the “biggest problem” facing the world and asserted that there was a need to tackle the menace in an organised manner. On post covid-economic recovery, PM Modi said BRICS countries had a key role to play in bringing the global economy back on track. The BRICS’ New Development Bank could also play a major part in the post covid scenario, the prime minister said and added that he hoped the China-headquartered bank would open a regional office in India next year like it had done in Russia this year.


President Vladimir Putin called for a joint effort by the BRICS countries on the development of the coronavirus vaccines as he suggested that Russia”s Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19 could be produced in China and India, which are members of the five-nation bloc.


President Xi also called for international solidarity and cooperation in jointly coping with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.According to Xi, Chinese companies are carrying out Phase III clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines with Russian and Brazilian partners.To support the development of the BRICS vaccine research and development center, China has designated its own national center.Xi also voiced opposition to interference in other countries’ internal affairs, unilateral sanctions and “long-arm jurisdiction.”
Xi emphasized that China is willing to work with all parties to accelerate the establishment of the Partnership on the New Industrial Revolution (PartNIR) and further will establish a new base for the PartNIR in Xiamen City, Fujian Province and carry out cooperation in such areas as policy coordination, talent training and project development.

South Africa

President Ramaphosa focused on trade disruptions, supply chain challenges and African debt following international calls for a “New Global Deal” to begin reforms as emerging economies see setbacks in tackling poverty and development problems.He also called on BRICS partners to ramp up investment in not just South Africa but across the continent, particularly in the manufacturing sector with the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area from January 2021.

Opportunities & Challenges

The Moscow Declaration, the BRICS Anti-Terrorism Strategy and the BRICS updated strategy for the economic partnership until 2025 were approved at the end of the summit.
The main challenge ahead of the BRICS is not procedural nor bureaucratic, but to continue to lead with innovative thinking and practical responses to some of the most pressing development challenges of our time. No other grouping has set such an ambitious goal for itself. Building a collective strategy and identifying priority processes to implement it can ensure that BRICS cooperation deepens and becomes self-reinforcing.


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