Brics bank 'will boost SA'
The development bank planned by Brics member states could help South Africa fast-track its multibillion-rand infrastructure programme, Nomaxabiso Majokweni, Business Unity SA CEO, told an ANC business forum on Monday.
"An immediate benefit for South Africa will be a massive injection in our infrastructure development plan, which could help the government meet some of its very ambitious growth targets," she said.
The bank, expected to be launched next year, would coincide with South Africa's hosting of the Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) summit.
"The Brics bank will promote growth and investment in its member states and other emerging markets, and will be a strong voice in the lobbying for the reform of international financial institutions," Majokweni said.
South Africa could double trade with Brazil, Russia, India, and China to $500-billion by 2015 if barriers to trade and investment within the bloc were addressed.
"The balancing act is to ease business transactions while protecting the interests of industry and manufacturing. We are not seeking preferential or free trade agreements. Rather, we should be driving for more transparency from our partners, especially on tariff schedules and hidden internal taxes," she said.
Other barriers included what it called onerous labelling requirements and sanitary provisions.
"South Africa should lobby for a permanent business structure that can help to simplify, clarify and overcome these trading obstacles. We have to bring down the cost and complexity of doing business in the Brics countries."
Majokweni told the forum that, while South Africa was the smallest in the Brics bloc, it had a noteworthy "asset" in the transparency of its corporate world and the strong international reputation of its financial sector.
Last year's World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report placed South Africa sixth in the world for bank soundness, and first for regulation of securities exchanges.
"I think it's important to emphasise this strength so we can safeguard this valuable asset and continue South Africa's excellent legacy," she said.