The past two decades have been all about the BRICS: a group of five countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) that soared to economic superstardom and gradually won geopolitical influence. But now, with their economies slowing down, those days seem to be over. What’s more, by some measures, the BRICS have squandered their years of plenty.

Asia’s emerging markets remain on edge over the U.S. Federal Reserve’s actions, damaging investor confidence from India to Indonesia. However, a new survey by the World Bank suggests that foreign direct investment (FDI) flows won’t be drying up anytime soon. In its World Investment and Political Risk 2013 report released Thursday, the World Bank’s Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) said macroeconomic instability and political risk ranked “neck and neck” as the top concerns for investors over the short and medium terms.

Brazil has something of an identity crisis right now. As protests continue, the world has been exposed to the massive social unrest in the country over inequality, corruption, and the adverse economics of preparing to host global sporting events like the upcoming World Cup. Still, as one of the so-called BRIC countries — a term that has become less vogue as investors take a wider look at emerging market countries — Brazil is uniquely positioned to keep growing.

From 22 to 30 March, Chinese President Xi Jinping paid state visits to Russia, Tanzania, South Africa and the Republic of Congo, and attended the Fifth BRICS Leaders' Meeting. On the way back, Foreign Minister Wang Yi briefed the accompanying journalists about the president's visit.

No one's saying, 'Move over, Bretton Woods, Brics is here'. But Brics nations - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - certainly grabbed eyeballs at their Durban summit by firming up plans for a new development bank to fund infrastructure and a $100 billion contingency reserve arrangement to provide themselves financial succour in times of trouble. The dressing on the side is a business council with great potential to boost trade and investment.

The fifth summit of heads of state from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (Brics), which concluded in Durban on Wednesday, announced that formal talks would be held to launch a development bank.

The Kremlin and Russian Foreign Ministry have released an official strategy for Russia’s participation in the BRICS association. Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Ryabkov has stated that the strategy was approved by President Vladimir Putin back on Feb. 9. “The BRICS association will continue to strengthen its international reputation and influence by using soft power — i.e., through economic and social achievements of its members, as opposed to creating some kind of military alliance,”

As a new nation created in this magnificent techno-age of the 21st century, the Republic of South Sudan is faced with numerous challenges. One such challenge is the need to anchor the nation on a firm economic platform so as to advance the livelihoods of the populace.