SA companies headed to BRICS forum

Monday, March 26, 2012

Pretoria - Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) has confirmed that it will be sending a delegation of over 50 companies to South Africa's second BRICS Business Forum in New Delhi, India, which kicks off on Wednesday.

BUSA CEO, Nomaxabiso Majokweni, said the April 2011 inaugural BRICS Business Forum in Hainan, China, established a solid foundation for enhanced business ties amongst the biggest and fastest growing economies in the world.

"South African business needs to leverage on the commercial opportunities offered by Brazil, Russia, India and China for the mutual benefit of the grouping, South Africa and the African continent," she said.

President Jacob Zuma will also be attending the BRICS summit, which the Presidency said will focus on global governance matters, including the global economy and global peace and security.

BUSA said Africa's economic expansion of plus 5% over the past decade has been a direct product of its strategic ties to the emerging world, where BRIC (excluding SA) countries serve as the growth engine.

South Africa's trade with BRIC economies from 2007 to 2011 had increased by 108%, compared with the 12% growth in trade with the EU over the same period.

"The comparison is not to diminish South Africa's commercial relationship with Europe, but to emphasise where the next global growth is emanating. Business expects further positive outcomes at the upcoming BRICS Summit, particularly in the areas of agriculture and food security, information communication technology, energy and finance," said BUSA.

The body said South African business was also open to discussion on the merits of a BRICS development bank, which could positively impact the financing of infrastructure as well as facilitate trade within the BRICS bloc.

Discussions on mechanisms for currency convertibility among the BRICS countries were also welcomed, but with a caution on pegging the rand to any other currency, said BUSA.

Already, the South African private sector has made inroads into the BRICS markets. There are a number of high profile investments from South Africa into BRICS member countries, including Sasol's coal-to-liquids plants in China and India; SAB Miller's investments in the Chinese beverage sector; and Naspers' investment into the Russian ICT sector.

The forum will be held from 28 - 29 March.