MOSCOW, January 1 (Sputnik) — Starting on January 1, Russia will take over the rotating presidency of the BRICS grouping of five emerging economies, which also includes Brazil, India, China and South Africa.
In his New Year's Eve greeting to his South Africa's counterpart Jacob Zuma, Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged to strengthen the union's position in the global arena, according to the Kremlin.
The BRICS countries make up about one-third of the world's population and command a combined economy of about $13.6 trillion.
Following the June summit in Brazil's Fortaleza and the creation of a BRICS development bank, many experts have speculated that an alignment between the five partner nations could provide a counterweight to the West's influence.
The next summit is scheduled to take place in July in the southern Russian city of Ufa. It is expected to fill the job of the bank's chairperson, among others.