SA ready to host Brics summit

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Pretoria - Cabinet has noted the country’s state of readiness to host the fifth Brics Summit, which will take place in Durban from 26 – 27 March.

It also commended the Departments of Higher Education and Training (DHET) and Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) for their successful hosting of the Brics Academic Forum this week.

The forum, held under the theme ‘Brics and Africa: Partnership for Development, Integration and Industrialisation’ was hosted from 10 - 13 March in Durban.

The forum, said Cabinet Acting spokesperson Phumla Williams at a post Cabinet briefing on Thursday, was formed out of recognition of the importance of ideas in the realisation of the vision and objectives of Brics [Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa].

“It is the brain-trust that serves to enrich policy development within Brics and in the Brcis countries. Cabinet also noted the state of readiness to host the summit and that the preparations are at an advance stage,” said Williams.

Earlier this month, DIRCO Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim affirmed that preparations for the all-important summit were at an advanced stage.

“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,” he said at the time.

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

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.

Speaking at a dinner at the academic forum on Monday, Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande said that South Africa’s future was tied to the economic development of the African continent  as a whole and to the establishment of stability and peace throughout the continent.

Nzimande called for cooperation among the Brics member countries.

“One of the most important elements of Brics cooperation should be in the sphere of knowledge production and academic cooperation.

“To achieve our goals - both in Africa and the world - we need constantly to strengthen our scientific and technical knowledge in all spheres, to deepen our understanding of our societies and those of the rest of the world,” he said.

The aim of South Africa hosting the conference is to harness the country’s membership to benefit the entire continent. -