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BRICS to partner rest of Africa
February 5, 2013, 9:41 am


The 5th BRICS Summit will take place in March in Durban, South Africa. [AP]

South Africa’s inclusion into the BRICS group is key to the country’s “global economic strategy” says Rob Davies, the South African minister of trade and industry.

“South Africa’s membership of the BRICS forum has become a vital element of our global economic strategy, and as the incoming BRICS chair, South Africa will play a key role in shaping the agenda for economic cooperation,” said Davies.

The 5th BRICS Summit will take place in March in Durban, South Africa.

The theme for the Summit is “Brics and Africa – Partnership for Development, Integration and Industrialisation”.

South Africa sees this as a historic opportunity for the BRICS countries to champion a new model for collaboration for more sustainable, equitable and mutually beneficial development, said the minister.

Before the Summit there will be a meeting between BRICS ministers of trade and economic development on March 26.

The minister said the country has four strategic considerations to anchor their participation in the forum.

“First, South Africa seeks to use the forum to build stronger economic linkages with the fastest growing and most dynamic economies.

“The International Monetary Fund’s latest forecast for 2013 indicates that emerging market and developing economies will grow by 5.5 per cent this year, compared with growth of 1.2 per cent in advanced economies, Davies said.

“Our prospects for growth and development will depend increasingly on diversifying and strengthening our economic links with BRICS economies and with Africa.”

The forum, he said would also provide a platform to address some of the challenges arising from the rapid growth in intra-BRICS trade.

“A core concern for South Africa is the structure of trade, whereby our exports to China, India and Brazil continue to be dominated by low value-added products.

“One of the priorities for our term as Brics chair is to co-ordinate a joint study to explore ways to promote more value-added exports that will support our industrial development objectives,” said the minister.

“Third, we need closer cooperation among the BRICS countries to support our growth, development and poverty objectives, building on our respective economic strengths and avoiding competition.

“This may be achieved by identifying complementarities in key growth sectors and through a value chain approach.”

The forum offers a unique opportunity for BRICS countries to extend and advance their cooperation in ways that meaningfully promote the economic development agenda of other developing countries and regions, said the minister.

Two years ago at the Sanya summit, BRICS countries established the contact group on economic and trade issues to develop and advance joint work programmes on a range of trade, investment and economic matters.

The contact group, which meets in Pretoria this week at senior official level, will lay the basis for the trade ministers’ meeting in March.

The focus will be on strengthening BRICS coordination in the multilateral arena, notably in the World Trade Organisation, and advance cooperation on key aspects of intra-BRICS trade issues, small and medium-sized enterprise development and investment policy and promotion.

Davies reiterated that South Africa will promote the African economic development agenda as agreed by African governments during the BRICS Summit.

The African Union has been invited by South Africa to participate in the BRICS Summit.

The BRICS Post