26 March 2013
All eyes will be on Durban on Tuesday as the much-anticipated 5th BRICS Summit gets under way at the city’s International Convention Centre.
The leaders of Brazil, Russia, India and China will join South African President Jacob Zuma in hammering out far-reaching finance issues for the bloc, the possible formation of a new development bank targeting BRICS and other emerging markets.
Security has been tightened around the Convention Centre, with 3 000 law enforcement officers deployed in Durban for the duration of the event.
More than 5 000 delegates are expected to attend the summit, which South Africa is hosting for the first time since joining the group of influential emerging economies in 2010.
Observers have said the summit will give South Africa the opportunity to flex its diplomatic muscle and seal its position within the grouping.
Other issues on the agenda include the role of BRICS as a partner in helping the continent in its infrastructure development and industrialisation drive. At the 2011 BRICS summit in Sanya, China, the leaders pledged their commitment to Africa’s industrialisation.
There will also be the launch of a BRICS Business Council to promote increased trade within the bloc.
At a briefing in Pretoria on Tuesday, President Zuma said the country’s BRICS membership fitted well with its National Development Plan (NDP), a policy blueprint for creating jobs and tackling poverty and inequality through development.
The two-day summit is expected to inject more than R100-million into Durban’s economy.