Brics summit ‘historic’ for SA

2011-04-13 14:06

Beijing – President Jacob Zuma today hailed South Africa’s “historic” role in its first leaders’ summit of the Brics group of five major developing nations.

“It is a historic moment for South Africa,” Zuma said as he arrived in China for the summit of the bloc that also includes Brazil, Russia, India and China.

“The mechanism will also contribute immensely in the advancement of other priorities domestically and internationally, especially in the peace and security and development arenas,” Zuma said in the southern resort of Sanya on Hainan island, the venue for tomorrow’s summit.

Zuma held bilateral talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao on Wednesday, with Chinese officials saying they planned to “exchange views on the development of the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries”.

Shi Yinhong, an international relations expert in Beijing, said he also expected Hu and Zuma to discuss Libya.
South Africa officially joined Brics in December.

“The grouping offers a big, lucrative market for South Africa’s goods and services, and lots of opportunities to implement our industrial policy action plan and the new growth path framework,” Zuma told China’s official Xinhua news agency before his visit.

In February, Zuma announced a New Growth Path designed to create five million jobs in South Africa by 2020 and reduce unemployment to 15%.

China is South Africa’s largest trade partner with bilateral trade valued at $25.65 billion last year, up 60% from 2009, according to Chinese statistics.

Discussion topics at the Brics summit will include the international situation, global economic and financial issues, and cooperation between the five nations, organizers said.

The five Brics nations have 42% of the global population and accounted for about 18% of global gross domestic product last year.

Zuma was also expected to attend Friday’s opening of the Bo’ao Forum for Asia, which focuses on economic cooperation.

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