BRICS to boost KZN economy – Premier

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Pretoria - As South Africa prepares to host the fifth BRICS summit in Durban later this month, KwaZulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize says the gathering will boost the province’s image and economy.

“In essence, BRICS Summit serves as a platform on which synergies between the economy of KZN and economies of member nations will be strengthened.  We want to promote KZN as a destination for foreign direct investment,” Mkhize said.

He was speaking during the launch of the BRICS Summit Public Awareness Roadshow at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Tuesday.

The roadshows, also held in Gauteng and the Western Cape, are part of government’s campaign to promote the Durban summit and South Africa’s BRICS membership.

Mkhize’s office said in a statement that the KZN launch was attended by Minister of International Relations and Co operations Maite Nkoane-Mashabane, provincial Cabinet, captains of industry, diplomats from the BRICS nation as well as CEOs of public entities.

“As the undisputed gateway into the rest of Africa and other continents, we believe that we can use the province of KwaZulu-Natal not only for its own benefit, but for the benefit of other provinces as well as countries within the region,” the statement said.

With the two harbours, Richards Bay and Durban, the Dube Trade Port as well as the King Shaka International Airport, Mkhize said KZN could create “win-win partnerships for our sister countries in our region.”

The BRICS Summit has boosted the province’s standing internationally and has boasted its marketing activities.

South Africa will host the summit with the aim of harnessing 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 is 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.

BRICS is an acronym for the powerful grouping of the world’s leading emerging economies - namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The first BRICS Summit took place in Yekateringburg, Russia, where the elected leaders of the four countries formally declared the membership of the BRIC economic bloc. South Africa joined the bloc in 2010, resulting in BRICS.

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