SA strengthens its African position at Brics

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma has arrived in New Delhi, where he is leading a South African delegation to the fourth Brics Summit, which kicks off today.

Zuma is set to position South Africa as a global force representing emerging African economies at the two-day summit.

"Our Brics partners view South Africa as a gateway into the continent as we provide guidance on African economic development opportunities.

"Africa is projected as the third-fastest growing economy in the world, while the Brics countries now constitute the largest trading partners of Africa and have the potential to attract major investment opportunities," said Cabinet spokesperson Jimmy Manyi.

Manyi said this year's summit is expected to yield results on economic development and provide major opportunities for Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) partners and other African nations.

South Africa sees its Brics membership as a strategic opportunity through which Africa's interests can be advocated on a global platform. Through the bloc, the country will craft more vigorous trade and investment programmes for Africa to ensure that the voice of the continent is heard in the broader global market.

This year's summit will focus on global governance matters, including the global economy and international peace and security, as well as sustainable development issues, including climate change.

Zuma is accompanied by the Ministers of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and Trade and Industry Rob Davies.

The President and ministers are also accompanied by a delegation, led by Business Unity South Africa, of more than 50 companies. South Africa will also seek support from Brics partners for the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad) infrastructure development, which includes industrialisation initiatives on the continent and advocacy for reform of global governance institutions.

On the side-lines of the summit, Davies is set to partake in the Brics Business Forum, which also kicks off today.

Enhancing financial connectivity for increasing trade and investment, and the role of Brics countries in ensuring global food security will form part of the discussions of the forum, which will be held at the Le Meridien Hotel in New Delhi.

Davies is set to address the launch together with business organisations from the Brics countries.

"We are of the view that there is a need to improve banking services among the Brics countries to help improve trade and business. Also, there is huge space for the Brics countries to cooperate in promoting the diversification of energy structure, enhancing the stability of resource supply, and developing energy-saving technologies.

"Lastly, technological innovation plays an important role in the economic growth. Delegates at the Business Forum will need to come up with a way of how they could enhance cooperation in technological innovation to accelerate growth," said Davies.

He stressed the importance of information and communications technology (ICT) as the backbone for the development of business and the economy.

"Cooperation and sharing of the strengths in the ICT sector among the group would open new doors of development and opportunities for members."

South Africa will host the fifth Brics sitting in 2013.