7 March 2013
A BRICS Business Council, to serve as a platform for promoting trade and investment between Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, will be launched at the 5th BRICS Summit in Durban later this month.
The council will be made up of five business representatives from each BRICS member country, and will promote business-to-business cooperation as well as provide advice and technical support for multilateral business projects, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said on Wednesday.
The council would also set up sector working groups, and submit an annual report to the five BRICS leaders during the annual BRICS summit.
Davies said that South Africa’s nominated representatives on the council would be African Rainbow Minerals executive chairman Patrice Motsepe, Business Unity SA CEO Nomaxabiso Majokweni, Zungu Investment executive chairman Sandile Zungu, Sekunjalo group chairman Iqbal Surve, and Transnet CEO Brian Molefe, with Aspen Pharmacare CEO Stavros Nicolau serving as an alternate.
The BRICS group of influential emerging economies together represent about 43% of the world’s population and approximately one-fifth of global gross domestic product (GDP).
In 2012, the BRICS countries accounted for approximately 11% of global foreign direct investment (FDI) flows ($465-billion) and about 17% of world trade.
South Africa sees its membership of the grouping as crucial to leveraging economic opportunities for the development of the country and of the continent as a whole, while the country’s BRICS partners view South Africa as a springboard into Africa and a key development partner on the continent.
The BRICS countries already constitute the largest trading partners of Africa and the continent’s biggest new investors, and according to projections by Standard Bank, BRICS-Africa trade is set to increase threefold, from $150-billion in 2010 to $530- billion in 2015.
South Africa was admitted to the grouping at the third annual summit of the bloc’s leaders in China in 2011, and will be hosting the fifth summit in Durban from 25 to 27 March under the theme “BRICS and Africa: partnership for development, integration, and industrialisation”.