BRICS and G7 countries are intergovernmental groups that focus on economic cooperation between member countries. BRICS is a group of emerging economies in the East, whereas, G7 is a group of seven advanced economies. These two groups are now considered rival economic blocs and have many programs that are competing in nature. However, strict polarisation is absent in the relationship between these two blocs. Some of the countries of G7 are the biggest trade partners of BRICS countries. So, relations between G7 and BRICS are not explicitly confrontational. The BRICS vs G7 debate often rages in the context of the West vs East debate, or global north vs south. Below we trace the origin of BRICS and G7 and compare them on different parameters including GDP, military strength etc.
BRICS Summit in South Africa – Meaning for G7
BRICS countries are in South Africa for a summit. All leaders of member countries are together in one stage. While for BRICS, it is a regular business to conduct such summit, G7 countries are closely watching the events taking place in South Africa. Why this so?
There are many reasons, such as how BRICS is going to change the world order, and what outcomes will be on paper when it is signed. Among all these, one thing that G7 countries will look for is the unity in BRICS countries. India China are arch rivals and it is no secret. The two countries are currently at loggerheads over the boundary dispute. So, seeing them work together on a platform like BRICS is something that excites the G7 and countries across the world.
Meaning of BRICS summit for G7
BRICS as a strong group
The combined strength of BRICS countries challenges the G7 countries on all fronts. The group will have more influence in world affairs than any other group.
New members joining BRICS countries
There are several countries that want to be part of BRICS. These are mostly developing countries. They see BRICS as an alternate of current west led system where their aspirations were overridden by the developed world. More member joining BRICS means, it will be much more effective than G7 at world stage.
One of the agendas of BRICS summit 2023, the BRICS Currency has been envisaged to challenge the dominance of dollar in international market. If this happens, BRICS are centre of world trade, at least in the South Asia, and South Africa.
India- China together at BRICS Summit 2023
It might sound awkward, but India and China conflicts have given western countries some room to play in the South Asian politics. India is well supported by USA and its allies in the Europe. China is seen as a rival country and threat to US hegemony. At the same time, west sees India as a potential country that can directly challenge China and ultimately help them contain it. However, at BRICS, these two countries share the stage and discuss multiple items. So, given the importance of what is at stake, G7 countries will closely follow the India-China events in the summit.
Failed Attempts to Sideline Russia
Can G7 sideline Russia on world stage? All their attempts are in vain as long as BRICS countries are there together. Russian President Vladimir Putin is not at the BRICS summit 2023, but this is not due to isolation, but due to mutual agreement between South Africa and Russia and South Africa’s desire not to embarrass the Russian President.
Let’s now look at the G7 vs BRICS comparison on various parameters.
G7 vs BRICS Comparison – Overview
G7 was formed in 1973 as a group of the most advanced economies in the capitalist world. The group had only four members initially and it was also known as “Library Group”. At that time, the United States of America, West Germany, France and the UK were its members. Subsequently, Japan, Italy, Canada and Russia also joined and the Group came to be known as G8. European Union remains a non-enumerated member of G7. Meanwhile, Russia’s membership was suspended in 2014 in response to its annexation of Crimea. In June 2018, Russia permanently left G8.
BRICS was created as a group for exploring investment opportunities in member countries. The group was earlier known as BRIC before the joining of South Africa. The term BRIC was introduced in 2021 by Jim O’Neill, chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management in his publication, Building Better Global Economic BRICs.
|Formation year||September 2006||25 March 1973|
|Member countries||Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa||Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States|
|Headquarters||BRICS Tower, Shanghai, China||–|
|Population||3.21 billion (45% of world population)||770 million people (10% of world population)|
BRICS Vs G7 GDP Comparision
Despite being a group of emerging economies, BIRCS has surpassed the GDP of G7 countries. As per the latest data, the five BRICS countries together constitute around 31.5% of the world GDP. In comparison, the G7 countries have a GDP of around 30% of the world. An interesting point to note is that the total GDP of G7 countries is declining in recent years whereas, BRICS countries constitute some of the fastest-growing economies. This means, in the coming years, BRICS countries will further increase their GDP.
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Among G7 countries, the UK is the best-performing country with just 2% of annual growth. Whereas, BRICS countries India and China are growing at around 6 to 7% annually. However, the per capita GDP of G7 countries is much higher than BRICS nations. This is mainly due to the population difference.
BRICS Vs G7 per capita GDP comparison
|BRICS||GDP Per Capita||G7 countries||GDP Per Capita|
|South Africa||7,055.0||The United Kingdom||46,510.3|
|The United States||70,248.6|
The G7 and BRICS countries have some of the world’s largest economies. G7 is already a group of advanced economies such as The United States whose GDP per capita is around USD 70,248.6, and The UK with USD 46,510.3 GDP per capita.
BRICS countries have India, China, and Brazil as emerging economies. India’s per capita GDP is USD 2,256.6, whereas, the per capita GDP of China and Russia is 12,556.3 and 12,194.8 respectively.
There is no doubt that the GDP per capita of G7 countries is much higher than BRICS countries. However, we should note that the population of BRICS countries is also much higher than G7 countries.
BRICS Vs G7 Military Comparison
G7 countries have a clear upper hand when it comes to military comparison. These countries have advanced sophisticated weapons, aircraft, and higher technology. In comparison, except for Russia, other BRICS countries are at their initial stage of developing indigenous weapons. These countries are also importers of weapons and depend on G7 countries like the US and UK for advanced technology transfer.
G7 Vs BRICS Population Comparision
The G7 countries are home to around 700 million people and roughly constitute around 10% of the world’s population. In comparison, the BRICS countries’ population is 3.21 billion, around 45% of the world population. Among the BRICS countries, only China and India have a combined population of around 2.8 billion. The population of Brazil is also around 218.7M.
Such a huge population in BRICS countries also means they have enough middle-class population to support demand and economic growth. This is also a reason why BRICS countries are growing faster than the rest of the world.
|India||1.40 billion||Canada||40.012 million|
|China||1.42 billion||France||68.042 million|
|Russia||144.7 million||Germany||84.270 million|
|Brazil||216.293 million||Italy||58.803 million|
|The United Kingdom||67.026 million|
|South Africa||60.604 million||The United States||334.912 million|
BRICS and G7 Future
BRICS group is seen as a direct challenge to institutions dominated by Western countries including those in G7. This is also a reason why BRICS is seen as a group of developing countries and it can take up the common issues, and safeguard the common interests of these countries. After COVID-19 and subsequent low economic growth in G7 countries, BRICS has emerged as one of the most effective groups that can shape the new world order. Many developing countries such as Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, and Bangladesh are keen to join BRICS. These countries are either observer countries or have applied for membership. So, in the coming year, we can see BRICS playing a bigger role in world politics. The outcomes of BRICS summit 2023 are going to be major of immense importance for the entire world.
The G7 countries have been unable to expand the group despite multiple attempts by the US and other countries. In fact, Russia which was a member of this group was suspended by the member countries. In 2018, an attempt was made by the USA to bring back Russia into this group along with other countries such as India, Australia, Brazile and South Korea. However, the proposal was rejected by other members. The decisions of G7 have the capability to impact the economies across the world, however, the future of this group will depend on how it accommodates the aspirations of developing countries. If it fails, BRICS is always there.