Africa important in SA's Brics success: Davies

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Pretoria - South Africa's success as the new member of Brics will be determined by how Pretoria relates to the rest of Africa and how it will use its membership of the group to address critical issues facing the continent, says Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies. 

"I think that will be our major area that we will be judged on ... the issues are vast and we need to ensure that we take the rest of Africa with us because the way we relate to the rest of the continent will be very important to make our participation in Brics a success," Davies said on his return on Sunday from the Brics Leaders Summit held in China. 

As the only African country in Brics, South Africa was expected to push for Africa's integration in trade and policies with the other four Brics members - Brazil, Russia, India and China, Davies said, adding that building a domestic market that cut across Africa will be ideal for South Africa if it's to survive amongst these four powerful emerging economies with a combined population of more than three billion. 

Joining Brics also meant that South Africa must use this position to craft a more vigorous trade and investment programme to ensure its voice and that of the continent is heard in the broader international platforms such as the G20 and the UN Security Council. 

The three-day Brics meeting, which ended in Sanya, China, on Friday, also called on the speedy achievement of the targets for the reform of the International Monetary Fund agreed to at the recent G20 summit, and reiterated that the governing structure of the international financing institution should reflect the changes in the world economy. 

In what could lead to a drastic shift in trade cooperation between the Brics group, Davies said the five countries also discussed the possibility of nations using their own currency to trade with each other. This formed part of a wide consultation meeting attended by Brics trade ministers that called for strong, open and rule-based multilateral trading systems among their countries. 

The meeting also denounced the "excessive" volatility in commodity prices, particularly those for food and energy, as posing a new risk for the ongoing recovery of the world market. 

"We support the international community in strengthening cooperation to ensure stability and strong development of physical markets ... the international community should work together to increase production capacity and strengthen producer-consumer dialogue to balance supply and demand," said Davies.

Brics countries are responsible for 20 percent of the global GDP and the group is significant as they are part of the G20, a grouping of the 20 major economies in the world. Most importantly, all Brics members are in the UN Security Council. 

The five countries see this as an opportunity to work closely together on issues pertaining to peace and security and future coordination on issues under the Security Council. 

"We are deeply concerned with turbulence in the Middle East, the North African and West African regions and sincerely wish that the countries affected achieve peace, stability and progress ... We share the principle that any use of force should be avoided," read a declaration issued at the end of the meeting. - BuaNews