BRICS bank ‘focus of upcoming summit’

21 November 2012

Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa aim to conclude the setting up of a BRICS development bank at the next BRICS summit, taking place in Durban from 25 to 27 March next year, says Deputy International Relations and Cooperation Minister Marius Fransman.

“If this happens it would give a major boost to some of the development needs we have,” Fransman told a panel discussion on the topic, “South Africa: A strong brick within BRICS”, at the University of Stellenbosch on Wednesday.

At the last BRICS summit in New Delhi in March, leaders of the five countries considered a proposal to set up a BRICS-led South-South development bank, funded and managed by BRICS and other developing countries.

The International Relations and Cooperation Department, under an initiative led by Director-General Ambassador Jerry Matjila, is also considering setting up a think-tank to look at diplomatic and economic opportunities between South Africa and its BRICS partners, Fransman said.

He said South Africa’s overall trade with BRICS countries had more than doubled from US$9.2-billion in 2005 to $20.4-billion in 2010, while Africa’s trade with BRICS countries was expected to reach one-third of total trade on the continent in 2015, up from one-fifth of total trade in 2010.

Fransman listed the three main objectives that South Africa seeks to achieve from its BRICS membership as boosting job creation and the domestic economy; supporting African infrastructure development and industrial development; and partnering with South partners to overall world governance organisations such as the UN Security Council.

South Africa also needed to look beyond its population of 50-million and at how it could position itself in a continent of one-billion people that is fast rising economically, Fransman said.

The rationale for South Africa’s involvement in BRICS should be in how it could link the African continent with the other BRICS members.