President Jacob Zuma has arrived in Fortaleza, Brazil, where he will attend the sixth Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) Summit.
South Africa will be handing over the chair to Brazil at the two-day summit themed, BRICS – Inclusive growth: Sustainable solutions.
“The Summit will emphasise social inclusion and sustainable development. It will also provide the opportunity to reflect on areas of cooperation and showcase BRICS accomplishments,” Presidency spokesperson Mac Maharaj said on Monday.
During its tenure as chair, South Africa has fully implemented the eThekwini Action Plan that BRICS leaders had tasked the country to carry out at the 5th BRICS Summit held in Durban, last year. This by hosting key ministerial meetings such as the BRICS National Security Aisors, trade, finance, agriculture and agrarian affairs, education, health, social security, and science.
Maharaj says the country also inaugurated the BRICS Business Forum and established its operational procedures as well as identified priority focus areas.
The BRICS Think Tanks Council was also established to provide critical analysis and policy aice to BRICS leaders.
The five economies are expected to sign off on the new institutions at this summit- after two years of tough negotiations.
The BRICS will pool an initial $50 billion dollars for the bank, with each country contributing an equal amount, and seek to gain influence by offering developing nations an alternative to the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
The leaders are also expected to set up a $100 billion contingency pool, which could be available by 2015 to help any of its members if they are hit by a sudden loss of foreign capital.
Since its first Summit in 2009, BRICS has consolidated its position as a positive force for the democratisation of international relations and the countries have forged an impressive partnership carrying out cooperation initiatives in more than 30 areas between themselves.
“BRICS membership aances South Africa’s national interests through pursuing key economic priorities related to poverty alleviation, job creation and reducing inequality,” Maharaj said.
Boosting intra-BRICS trade
However, boosting intra-BRICS trade remains a key objective, which will in turn improve the lives of ordinary citizens.
In this regard, progress is being made — South Africa’s total trade with the BRICS countries recorded at R380.4 billion, which is 27.5% higher than the 2012 figure of R298.2 billion
Total trade with Brazil grew from R20.1 billion in 2012 to R21.8 billion in 2013, representing a growth of 8.46%.
With Russia, total trade increased from R5.1 billion in 2012 to R7.5 billion in 2013, representing growth of 47.06%, with India it also grew substantially from R68.3 billion in 2012 to R80.8 billion in 2013, representing growth of 18.3%.
China ranks first among the BRICS partners and is South Africa’s largest bilateral trading partner, with total trade expanding from R204.6 billion in 2012 to R270.1 billion in 2013, representing a growth of 32.01%.
At a regional level, Maharaj said South Africa seeks to gain tacit support from BRICS partners on a regional level for the promotion of the African Agenda.
“Another key aantage for Africa in particular, is that the BRICS-Africa cooperation will support Africa’s efforts to diversify and modernise its economies through infrastructure development, knowledge exchange, increased access to technology, enhanced capacity-building and investment in human capital,” Maharaj said.
On the international level, it seeks to obtain increased support for the reform of International Financial Institutions (IFIs), the revival of the Doha Development Agenda, as well as the reform of the United Nations (UN) including the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), among others.
President Zuma is accompanied by the Ministers of International Relations and Cooperation, Finance, Trade and Industry, State Security, Energy together with a business delegation.
The business delegation will participate in the BRICS Business Council meetings scheduled to take place on the side-lines of the summit.
Source : SAnews.gov.za