Trade promotion to form part of BRICS business council

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Pretoria - The promotion of trade and industry will form part of the BRICS Business Council, which will be launched at the upcoming BRICS Summit to be held in Durban, says Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.

KwaZulu-Natal’s Durban will host the fifth BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and SA) Summit, at which member countries will launch the business council.

The aim of hosting the all-important conference is to harness the country’s membership to benefit the entire African continent.

South Africa’s position going into the summit is to align BRICS member countries' interests in supporting the integration agenda in Africa, and not just focusing on access to the country’s resources.

South Africa's membership of BRICS should be understood in the context of the country's aim to tackle the developmental challenges faced by Africa as a whole, and its strategic focus on infrastructure as a key vehicle for creating jobs, boosting Africa's overall competitiveness, and promoting regional integration on the continent.

South Africa officially became a member of BRICS on 24 December 2010, after being formally invited by the BRIC countries to join the group.

The dti announced on Wednesday that each BRICS country will nominate five members that are leaders of respective business organisations or sectors to make up the Council.

The Council will constitute a platform to strengthen economic ties, trade and investment between the business communities of the five BRICS countries. This will provide technical support, consultative advice and facilitate the implementation of multilateral business projects.

According to Davies, the BRICS Business Council will focus on specific areas.

“These areas include promotion of trade and industry and business cooperation; technology transfer and development; tapping into business opportunities in third world countries and multilateral business, advisory role, cooperation in the fields of manufacturing, infrastructure, banking and financial services, the green economy, skills development and training and small and medium enterprises,” said Davies.

The Council will have regular dialogue between the business communities and the five BRICS governments, while it will also constitute sector working groups.  It will also submit an annual report to the BRICS leaders during the annual summits.

South Africa – which officially became a member of BRICS on 24 December 2010, after being formally invited by the BRIC countries to join the group—has nominated five persons as representatives.

Mining magnate Patrice Motsepe has been nominated as the chairman, with the other four representatives nominated being Nomaxabiso Majokweni - chief executive officer of Business Unity South Africa; Sandile Zungu- the executive chairman of Zungu Investments Company Limited; Iqbal Surve - a medical doctor and executive chairman of Sekunjalo Holdings,  and  Brian Molefe – group chief executive of Transnet. Stavros Nicolau, who is a senior executive at Aspen Pharmacare, will serve as an alternate representative.

Previously, Davies has said that BRICS was  an important voice for emerging economies.

The summit will be held from 26 - 27 March.

On Monday, International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim said that preparations were at an advanced stage for the gathering. -