Beyond poverty alleviation: envisioning inclusive growth in the BRICS countries

This paper presents a status report of the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) on two crucial development parameters—inequality and poverty—that have a significant bearing on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs; especially SDG-1 and SDG-10). The paper tracks the origins and movements of absolute and relative poverty, and income and wealth inequality in the BRICS economies over time, highlights the associated challenges, and recommends strategies for their inclusive growth and sustainable development. Although the BRICS countries have witnessed rapid economic growth in the last two decades—surpassing that of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, and with concomitant improvements in living standards and development indicators—they still lag behind the OECD states in terms of various development indicators. While progress has been made to alleviate extreme poverty, challenges related to relative poverty loom large. On the other hand, though income inequality in some nations (but not all) has declined, wealth inequality is on the rise.