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Meet the BRIC Player

india Updated: Jun 19, 2009 00:08 IST
Amit Baruah
Amit Baruah
Hindustan Times
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“They should have invited me for their summit,” said Jim O’Neill, head of global research for investment firm Global Sachs, and the author of a much-celebrated report on Brazil, Russia, India and China — BRIC nations — and their economic clout, joked on Thursday.

He was referring to Tuesday’s BRICs leaders’ first-ever summit in Yekaterinburg, Russia, where leaders of the four countries discussed ways and means of increasing their economic clout in a rapidly changing world.

O’Neill created the acronym BRIC in 2001in a paper discussing the economic prospects of the four countries. He agreed that it was possibly a first in the world — a concept in a research paper had led to the formation of an economic grouping.

So, what did he think of the first meeting? Did he believe that BRICs had a future beyond a talk shop? “My general view is that it’s a useful temporal think so that the G7 wake up the new global scenario,” he told HT by phone from London.

O’Neill believed that the G7, G8, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and even the United Nations would have to accommodate the aspirations of BRIC nations.

“In the interim, it (the BRICs grouping) makes sense,” the man, who has spent 25 years analysing the world’s foreign exchange markets, felt.

In 2003, Goldman Sachs in its report “Dreaming with BRICs: The Path to 2050”, forecast that these four nations could be half the size of the US, Japan, Britain, Germany, France and Italy by 2025 and overtake these six countries by 2041.

At present, Goldman predicts growth rates between 2011 and 2050 of 4.3 per cent annually for Brazil, 5.2 per cent for China, 6.3 per cent for India and 2.8 per cent for Russia.

“On the contrary to the rather pitifully thought out views by some a few weeks ago that the BRIC ‘dream’ could be shattered by the (global economic) crisis, their relative rise seems to be stronger,” O’Neill told Reuters recently.

In another interview, he was asked why he didn’t call the group CRIB. “(Goldman chairman and CEO) Lloyd Blankfein occasionally jokes to me that I should have called it CRIB. I said I never thought of that, but even in hindsight I don’t think I should have given it any consideration because it would have implied that they were just babies,” he said.