Who started BRICS in South Africa? On December 23, 2010, the then Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People`s Republic of China, Yang Jiechi, announced that South Africa had been officially invited to join the BRIC bloc as its fifth member. The addition of South Africa to the BRIC successfully concluded the tireless efforts that South Africa had made to lobby for its admission to this group of emerging countries. The country was invited to join the group for numerous reasons, including its having the largest economy in Sub-Saharan Africa, the fact that at the time it accounted for about a third of the region`s GDP and that ultimately the inclusion of South Africa as one of Africa`s largest economies would make the grouping more credible as a representative of the global south. Thus, on April 13, 2011, on the occasion of the third BRIC conference in the Chinese city of Sanya, South Africa was officially welcomed as a member of the bloc. This transformed the BRIC into what is now known as the BRICS.