Brics holds opportunities for SA: deputy minister
Being part of the largest developing economies group could benefit South Africa's own development, Deputy International Relations Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim said on Thursday.
"Our Brics partners understand and also share our own developmental aspirations as well as those of Africa," he said in a lecture in Johannesburg ahead of the fifth Brics summit in Durban next year.
Brics comprises Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
Together, these countries represent 40 percent of the world's population and around a fifth of global gross domestic product (GDP).
They also account for 11 percent of global foreign direct investment flows this year, and for 17 percent of world trade.
Ebrahim said Brics countries already shared best practices and development models.
They were concerned with job creation, skills, energy, food and water security, trade, urbanisation, and the impact of geo-politics.
Ebrahim said: "You could easily mistake this inventory for a South African list, but this is, indeed, a shared Brics narrative."
South Africa's Brics partners viewed the country as a springboard into Africa, and as a partner in economic development.
Brics leaders attached the highest importance to economic growth that supported development and stability in Africa, as many countries in the region had not yet realised their full potential, Ebrahim said.
They had pledged to accelerate infrastructure development, knowledge exchange, and support increased access to technology, capacity building, and human capital investment.
He said South Africa's national interests were safeguarded by a focus on the interests of the region and of the continent.
For this reason, South Africa aimed to link regional groups in Southern and East Africa to form one large free trade area.
"This initiative will provide economies of scale, larger markets and position us to better compete in the global economy," Ebrahim said.
The Brics economies would link a large part of Africa with the fastest growing economies in the world.
Bilateral trade between South Africa and the Brics countries had already increased substantially in 2011, rising by 32 percent in the case of South Africa and China.
Trade with India had increased by 25 percent over the same period, and trade with Brazil by 20 percent, Ebrahim said.