BRICS is the abbreviation for an association of five major emerging national economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.
Initially this grouping was originally known as "BRIC" before the inclusion of South Africa in 2010. The BRICS members are all developing or newly industrialized countries, but they are distinguished by their large, fast-growing economies and significant influence on regional and global affairs; all five are G-20 members.
As of 2013, the five BRICS countries represent almost 3 billion people with a combined nominal GDP of US$16.039 trillion and an estimated US$4 trillion in combined foreign reserves. As of 2014, the BRICS nations represented 18 percent of the world economy.
South Africa held the chair of the BRICS group in 2013, having hosted the group's fifth summit in 2013.
The BRICS have received both praise and criticism from numerous quarters. Argentina participated in the Fortaleza Summit held in July 2014 in response to an invitation by Russia. In that meeting, the BRICS countries will discuss the possible admission of Argentina as the sixth member country.