||South Africa: BRICKS Fits Well with SA’s National Development Plan – Zuma
||Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Electronic and Mobile Government, ICT for MDGs, Thematic Website, Knowledge Management in Government, Citizen Engagement
||Mar 27, 2013
He said the collective strength of the Brics economies was a crucial factor in the global economy, adding that South Africa valued its membership of Brics immensely.
“At a global level, we want to obtain increased support for the reform of International Financial Institutions, the revival of the Doha Development Agenda, as well as the reform of the United Nations, including the United Nations Security Council,” he said.
To further expand economic relations, a Brics Business Forum is planned for tomorrow, 26 March, in Durban.
The areas of focus include infrastructure, energy, financial services, mining and beneficiation as well as agro-processing.
These will be deliberated upon for presentation to the Heads of State and Governments of the Brics member countries.
The forum will be attended by 125 delegates from China, 125 from the Russian Federation, 74 from India, 60 from Brazil and 242 from South Africa.
“We are scheduled also to launch the Brics Business Council during the Summit,” President Zuma said.
Other deliberations will focus on the proposed Brics Trade and Risk Development Pool which will harness the collective and reinsurance capacity as well as facilitate intra-Brics Trade and Investment.
Furthermore, business will also deliberate on the envisaged Brics Cable which will focus on a new high-capacity optic fibre cable of 28 400km, linking the Brics countries.
This will remove the dependency on developed countries as interconnection points, and will provide direct communications among Brics countries.
“A major output for us will be the establishment of the Brics Development Bank to assist in mobilising resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in Brics and other emerging economies,” said President Zuma.
Zuma said the Brics Finance Ministers are also expected to present results of the feasibility study during the Summit.
A Brics Academic Forum was held from 11 to 13 March 2013 at the Durban University of Technology, it is another successful outcome ahead of the Summit.
Zuma said the importance of Brics for South Africa is best reflected in bilateral trade relations at a practical level.
In 2012, South Africa's total trade with the Brics countries stood at R294 billion, which is 11 percent higher than the 2011 figure of R264 billion.
Total trade with Brazil grew from R18 billion in 2011 to R20 billion in 2012, representing growth of 11 percent.
Total trade with Russia increased from R3 billion in 2011 to R5 billion in 2012, representing growth of 45 percent.
Total trade with India, which is South Africa's sixth largest trading partner, grew substantially from R53 billion in 2011 to 67 billion rand in 2012, representing growth of over 26 percent.
China ranks first among the Brics Partners and is South Africa's largest bilateral trading partner, with total trade expanding from R188.42 billion in 2011 to R201 billion in 2012, representing growth of 7 percent.
According to President Zuma, Intra-Brics trade expanded by 28 percent in 2011, to reach US $230 billion.
Zuma also announced that he will be hosting the Brics Leaders Africa Dialogue Forum Retreat after the conclusion of the Fifth Brics Summit.
The Africa retreat will meet under the theme, "Unlocking Africa's potential: Brics and Africa Cooperation on Infrastructure”.
“The Retreat will reflect primarily on infrastructure development, as well as integration and industrialisation, which are aligned to Africa's own priorities, for the mutual benefit of the Brics countries and the Continent,” he said.
The 5th Summit of Brics concludes the first five-year cycle. South Africa will chair the group for 12 months after Durban, and then hand over to Brazil.
The 2013 Summit, like those before it, takes place against the backdrop of the continued economic difficulties across the globe.
In 2012, Brics economies served as a bulwark in the global economy, when most developed economies witnessed sharp slowdowns or negative growth.