by Liu Chang
BEIJING, March 25 (Xinhua) -- Perhaps Jim O'Neil, an economist with Goldman Sachs, would have never imagined that the word "BRICs" he coined in a 2001 research paper could have in reality helped assemble the power of the world's five emerging market economies.
Eight years after the birth of the coinage, leaders of Brazil, Russia, India and China, four emerging economies that were the initial members of the grouping, gathered in the Russian city of Yekateringburg for their first summit to discuss how the world could survive the crippling international financial crisis and reform global financial regulatory system.
Since then, the "BRICs" has ceased to be an idea on a piece of paper. It has grown into a strong force that has championed global economic recovery and is working to deliver a fairer and more just world order.
In late 2010, South Africa joined the grouping, completing the acronym BRICS.
CONTINUE TO LEAD GLOBAL RECOVERY
Fast economic growth is no doubt the most visible hallmark among the BRICS nations. According to the World Bank, the average growth rate of the BRICS nations in the first decade of the 21st century was well above 8 percent, much faster than that of both the developed economies and the world at large.
Their resilient economic performance, especially since the outbreak of the global financial crisis, has served as the locomotive that drives economic recovery worldwide.
In 2010, the emerging market group has contributed more than half of the overall global economic growth. In 2012, that contribution was about 2.2 trillion U.S. dollars, roughly the size of the entire Italian economy.
It is true that the BRICS nations saw their growth rates slowing down last year amid a worsening debt crisis in the eurozone and a staggering world economic recovery.
Worldwide watchers, particularly those from the West, began to wonder whether BRICS members could maintain their economic vitality, and question their ability to withstand the future economic challenges.
However, the pessimists and skeptics may well be proved wrong, and there are good reasons.
With almost 30 percent of the world's territory, 42.9 percent of population, the BRICS nations have been in the middle of their pursuit toward urbanization, industrialization and modernization, all of which would nurture huge market demands, a key source of power that would continue to walk the world economy back to sustainable growth.
The growing demands among the BRICS countries would not only present great opportunities to the stagnated Western economies, but also boost the exports of other developing nations and their economic development.
In China, for example, the country's total imports during the 12th five-year plan period (2011-2015) are expected to hit 11 trillion U.S. dollars, and such a tremendous demand will benefit both the wealthy nations and the developing countries.