SA's unique values, economy will boost Brics - Zuma

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Sanya, China - South Africa's unique value system and outlook, as well as its position as Africa's strongest economy, will help boost the Brics grouping, President Jacob Zuma said at the Brics Summit currently underway.

Zuma was speaking at a joint media briefing at Sanya with the Heads of State of Brazil, Russia, India and China, who all pledged to work together to reform global governance organisations and to improve trade and co-operation.

Zuma, who said it was a "great honour" for South Africa to attend today's summit, pointed out that although its Brics' partners were among the leading economies of the world, South Africa had "unique attributes" which would help boost its fellow Brics.

"At a political level, our partners appreciate our unique value system which derives from our history and a particular experience," said Zuma.

He said its fellow Brics valued the "independent outlook" South Africa contributed to issues related to international peace, security and development

As a major player in Africa in the continents financial markets, minerals, industrial and services, infrastructure and electricity generation, South Africa had much to offer.

"As you may be aware, our Brics partners are now the largest trading partners of both Africa and South Africa," he said.

The fellow Brics nations, he said, realised the exponential growth potential of the regional market.

He added that there would be further opportunities with the setting up in a few months time of the Free Trade Agreement between the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu), the Common Market of East and Southern Africa (Comesa) and the East African Community.

"It is just natural that our partners will look at South Africa as a springboard into the region and for us to provide guidance on economic development opportunities," he said.

He said critical for enhanced co-operation was that the Brics members served on the UN Security Council - either as non-permanent members or permanent members (China and Russia).

Brics members would also continue to collaborate through the UN, G20 and the India Brazil, South Africa (Ibsa) forum.

The non-aligned movement and Group of 77 would also remain important in furthering South-South relations, he said.

There is also a need to reform both the UN Security Council to make it more effective and global financial institutions to promote a "just economic world order".

Zuma said South Africa also wants to ensure a legally-binding climate-change agreement, which will govern the world to the increasingly visible effects of climate change.

Zuma today also briefed fellow Brics Heads of State on AU's peace and security programmes in Africa and the situation in Libya and the AU's Roadmap which he said is designed at assisting Libyans achieve a "lasting peace".

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev commended Zuma and the AU's efforts in Libya.

He said Russia is "deeply concerned" about the conflict in Libya, particularly with the safety of that country's citizens and pointed out that Russia is not in favour of the use of force, over that of dialogue to resolve the conflict there.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said he and his fellow Brics heads of state had "greatly benefited from President Zuma's great counselling", while Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff said she was happy to see the attendance of Zuma, which would bring a valuable experience from Africa.

Rousseff, who congratulated South Africa for being awarded the climate conference in Durban to be hosted later this year, said the countries shared similar views on economic growth and income distribution.

She cautioned that the Brics grouping is not organisation set up in opposition to any group of country, but that it worked with other institutions like the IMF. 

China's President Hu Jintao said the Brics would continue to promote "strong and balanced growth of the world economy".

He said the Brics would look to improve relations especially in areas such as business and science and technology and between think tanks of Brics members.

Meanwhile, also at today's briefing, Jabu Moleketi, the chairman of the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) signed an interbank co-operation agreement with his Brics counterparts: Luciano Coutinho, the president of Brazil's development bank BNDES; TCA Ranganathan, the president of India's Exim bank; Vladimir Dmitriev, the chairman of Russia's Vnesheconombank and Gao Jin, the deputy-president of the China Development Bank. - BuaNews