Why SA loves Brics

2014-07-08 16:18

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South Africa reaped massive economic benefits from its four-year partnership with Brics member countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa – International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane has said.

Since South Africa was invited into the powerful block of nations that seek to influence a “new world order”, trade between Russia and South Africa has grown by 66%, and it has seen a massive economic partnership with China to the tune of R200 billion.

“No other economy in the world is experiencing the economic growth we in Brics are experiencing. We also want economic growth, but it should not be at our expense. This is cause for celebration and a sense of pride for the fifth-member nation, South Africa. We’ve been trusted by the Brics forum as South Africa to carry on the work of the establishment of the Brics bank. South Africa’s voice is always sought when Brics member states make decisions at all important forums in the UN Security Council and G20,” said Nkoana-Mashabane, who was briefing the media ahead of the Brics summit in Brazil next week.

President Jacob Zuma will attend the summit, which will conclude with the decision by member states on where the Brics development bank will be situated and who will be its president.

For South Africa, the decision to join Brics was not only influenced by economic issues, said Nkoana-Mashabane, adding that the country, being a smaller player economically, had done well to chair the Brics forum and would hand over to a new chairing country in Brazil.

The fact that South Africa’s chairpersonship of Brics had been extended, seeing that the country should have handed over the position to another country as far back as March, meant that Brics member states trusted and valued South Africa’s input, she said.

Not only was South Africa’s input valuable on Brics matters, but Brics member states “do not do anything without South Africa’s input, even on issues related to the G20 where Brics partners are also involved”, she said.

Zuma will be accompanied to Brazil by, among others, Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene, Nkoana-Mashabane and Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.

The major focus of the Brics bank, said Nkoana-Mashabane, would be infrastructure development on the continent.

“The Brics forum is about leveraging the strengths of all the member states and the regions we come from, politically. We have a role to play in building a new world order politically, socioeconomically and culturally. Even on the new world order, there’s a [role] for us to play as Brics in particular on how we should emerge from the general global economic meltdown and on reforms such as those of the UN Security Council,” said Nkoana-Mashabane.

She said the aim of the Brics forum was not to compete but to cooperate on all important matters.

Nkoana-Mashabane said Zuma would hold bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the summit with all leaders of Brics countries, including Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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