Only South Africans doubt Brics role – minister

South Africans wrongly doubt their own country’s ability to be part of the Brics economic bloc, International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane has said.

Other members of Brics – the group of countries consisting of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – were clear about why their countries should be a part of the grouping, she said in Durban today.

South Africans were unsure. “They think this thing (Brics) looks too big.”

Nkoana-Mashabane said South Africa’s membership had delivered tangible trade and development benefits to the country.

South Africa itself had much to offer the economic bloc, especially in terms of financial services, where it was a world leader.

She said South African companies were doing business in many of the other Brics countries, just as those countries’ companies were doing business in South Africa.

Bilateral trade with all the Brics countries had increased.

Nkoana-Mashabane was helping to promote Brics and the fifth Brics summit to be held at the Durban International Convention Centre from March 26 to 27.

More than 5 000 delegates are expected to attend.

She said this would be the first Brics summit at which the countries’ leaders could meet other African leaders.

A Brics Development Bank, a Brics Big Business Chamber, and Brics think tanks are expected to be established at the summit.

Nkoana-Mashabane said Brics leaders would also use the opportunity to look at conflicts around the globe, including Syria.

Durban millionaire businessman Vivian Reddy has urged South African business to see the summit and South Africa’s membership of Brics as an opportunity.

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