International (MNN) — In case you missed it, the BRICS nations–Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa–are forming their own financial institution. The New Development Bank (NDB) emerged as one result of last week’s BRICS Summit.
According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the BRICS bank will launch next year with $100 billion in initial capital and $100 billion in reserves.
“It is a political move, but it’s more than that. These countries are serious,” notes Dr. Brad Stamm.
“What began as a somewhat ‘innocent’ group of countries who were merely considered ’emerging’ economies now has turned into a viable trading bloc.”
BRICS bank: shifting sands
In 2001, economist Jim O’Neill created the acronym “BRIC” to identify the up-and-coming economies of developing nations Brazil, Russia, India, and China. South Africa later joined the coalition, and the group became “BRICS” in 2011.
“This used to be merely referring to their emerging economies, that at some point the BRICS nations would be as large–and maybe even larger–than the other trading blocs,” explains Stamm.
In 2009, the nations’ leaders had begun meeting annually to discuss economic and political reform, as well as inter-BRICS cooperation. But last week at the 7th annual BRICS Summit, the conversation turned from diplomatic to financial ties.
“It’s not all smoke and mirrors; there’s some substance to this new BRICS organization,” Stamm observes.
Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa hold nearly half of the world’s population, and produce 20% of the global economic output. The 5-nation coalition isn’t just expanding its trade options by creating a new BRICS bank.
They’re moving away from Western institutions and their leaders.
“The international monetary system itself depends a lot on the U.S. dollar, or to be precise, on the monetary and financial policy of the U.S. authorities,” Putin said recently.
“The BRICS countries want to change this.”
The BRICS bank and missions
Economy and evangelism may not seem like a natural fit. But, according to Stamm, there is a connection.
“They’re all coming together; they’re trying to unify, but where is God?” he asks.
“The opportunity for missions–for mission groups and other para-church organizations to spread the Gospel–I think is opening wider than ever.”
To learn more about the intersection of evangelism and economics, check out Dr. Stamm’s book, Faithonomics.
Nearly 1.4 billion unreached and unengaged people live in one of the BRICS nations, according to the International Mission Board’s May 2015 report.
To help bring the Gospel to the BRICS nations, click on any of the links below to see which missions agencies are working in each country: