19 April 2011
South Africa’s inclusion in BRICS, the powerful emerging market group comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and now SA, has given the continent of Africa new geopolitical significance, says International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.
Briefing journalists in Pretoria on Monday following last week’s BRICS Leaders Meeting in Sanya, China, Nkoana-Mashabane said the group was gaining muscle among global investors, and Africa would benefit both from this and through deeper cooperation in various areas.
“Our fortunes [as African countries] are intertwined,” Nkoana-Mashabane said. “As much as we didn’t go to the African Union to seek a mandate to join BRICS, nonetheless South African diplomats speak for the wellbeing of SA and the African continent as a whole.”
Nkoana-Mashabane said with the continent recognised as a growing region, Africa could expect to benefit economically in areas such as agriculture, infrastructure and IT.
Africa also stood to benefit from BRICS’ push for the reform of global institutions of governance such as the UN, IMF and World Bank.
The three-day BRICS summit, which ended on Friday, resulted in a statement elaborating the group’s vision for common development and shared prosperity.
The group also called for the speedy achievement of the targets for the reform of the International Monetary Fund agreed to at the recent G20 summit, reiterating that the governing structure of the international financing institution should reflect the changes in the world economy.
The leaders vowed to support the reform and improvement in international monetary systems for the establishment of a stable, reliable and broad-based international reserve currency system.
The five BRICS nations also decided to hold a meeting of high-level representatives in China in the latter part the year to discuss security issues, engage in joint research on economic and trade issues, encourage cooperation in sports and promote cooperation in scientific, technological and innovation cooperation.