SA gears up for Africa’s first BRICS summit

Monday, March 4, 2013

Pretoria - With only a few weeks left before the start of the 5th BRICS summit, preparations are at an advanced stage for the all-important gathering, says International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister, Ebrahim Ebrahim.

“At this point, from the substance and logistic perspective, we are satisfied with the state of readiness and we are confident that the summit will be a great success,” said Ebrahim on Monday.

South Africa will host the summit with the aim of harnessing the country’s membership to benefit the entire African continent. For the first time, the conference will be attended by African heads of state.

South Africa’s position going into the summit is to align BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and SA) 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.

To raise awareness around South Africa’s membership and the importance of the summit, road shows are being held around the country.

On Tuesday, the road shows will be held in Durban and Cape Town, while others have already been held in Gauteng and Kimberly.

Leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - the grouping of emerging economies that collectively hold reserves of $4.5 trillion - will hold their summit in Durban from 26 - 27 March.

Expectations are high for the upcoming summit, with a resolution on the establishment of the BRICS development bank expected to be adopted.

Ebrahim also announced that Southern African Development Community (SADC) council ministers will meet on Thursday in Maputo to discuss primarily administrative and budgetary matters.

Mozambique is the current chair of SADC after taking over from the Republic of Angola during the 32nd Ordinary Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government, held in Maputo in August 2012. 

“SADC continues to serve as the primary vehicle for South African foreign policy to achieve regional development and integration within Southern Africa,” said Ebrahim. - SAnews.gov.za

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