‘BRICS a serious bloc’

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has said the BRICS were a “serious grouping” that helped promote trade and that the countries are ready to launch a developmental bank.
“BRICS is not a talk show. It is a serious grouping. I’ve just identified here that ever since the BRICS grouping has been established, intra-trade has grown…
“But also bilateral trade has grown. That indicates (it is) not a talk show,” President Zuma was quoted as telling reporters in Pretoria, by the official 2013 BRICS summit website.
“We are able to discuss things and take decisions. If, for example, we talk about the eminent establishment of a development bank, we discussed this a while ago and immediately charged our finance ministers to work on a modality,” President Zuma said. “We are now ready to launch it.”
The fifth BRICS Summit, the first to take place on African soil, was held in Durban last week. Along with the heads of government of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, 14 other Heads of Government from African countries were expected to attend.
President Zuma said a declaration on strategic partnerships between Russia and South Africa would be signed in fields such as defence, education, energy, science, technology, and transport.
South Africa will chair the group for 12 months after Durban and then hand over to Brazil.
A total of 125 delegates from China, 125 from Russia, 74 from India, 60 from Brazil, and 242 from South Africa will be part of the discussions at the summit.
A BRICS Business Council was to be launched to strengthen business ties among the five countries. Business were to deliberate on the envisaged BRICS cable – a high-capacity 28 400km optic fibre cable – linking the countries.
The South African President said the establishment of a BRICS Development Bank would mobilise financial resources for infrastructure and sustainable projects for member countries and other emerging economies.
Finance ministers from the five countries were to present the results of a feasibility study on the bank.
In 2012, South Africa’s total trade with BRICS countries stood at US$31.65 billion, a growth of 11 percent from the 2011 figure.
South Africa’s bilateral trade with member of the BRICS also grew in 2012. – Russia & India Report

March 2013
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