BRICS summit preparations under way

9 October 2012

Preparations for South Africa’s hosting of the 5th BRICS Summit in March 2013 are at an advanced stage, International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim said on Tuesday.

“Our logistics team has already started with preparations … and are well advanced for hosting the summit,” Ebrahim told reporters in Pretoria following last week’s meeting of the BRICS inter-ministerial committee, which advises the Cabinet on the hosting of the summit.

South Africa was admitted to the grouping of powerful emerging economies, which includes Brazil, Russia, India and China, at the third annual summit of the bloc’s leaders in China in 2011.

At this year’s summit in New Delhi, India, South Africa was awarded the hosting of the 2013 summit, which will take place in Durban.

BRICS development bank

Among the key decisions expected to come out of the South Africa summit include the formation of a BRICS-led South-South development bank, funded and managed by the BRICS and other developing countries.

The plan is a subject of discussion among BRICS leaders, who see it as a possible alternative financial institution to the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. Such a bank could help its member countries pool resources for infrastructure development and lend among themselves during difficult global times.

Asked on Tuesday if South Africa believed the idea was feasible, Ebrahim said: “A technical team has been established, and hopefully when we meet in March that team will be able to tell us if it is feasible or not.

“We think that a bank like that will assist the group and South Africa.”

The bank is part of a strategy, agreed in New Delhi last year, to look at long-term investment opportunities within BRICS countries.

BRICS bank ‘would boost South Africa’

In June, Business Unity South Africa CEO Nomaxabiso Majokweni told an African National Congress (ANC) business forum that an immediate benefit of a BRICS bank would be “a massive injection in our infrastructure development plan, which could help the government meet some of its very ambitious growth targets”.

Majokweni said that a BRICS bank would “promote growth and investment in its member states and other emerging markets, and will be a strong voice in the lobbying for the reform of international financial institutions”.

Also in June, South African President Jacob Zuma, Chinese President Hu Jintao, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Mexico.

During their meeting, the five leaders discussed the possibility of setting up a currency swap arrangement and a foreign exchange reserve pool within the five-member framework.

The foreign exchange reserve pool would act as a financial safety net, creating a joint pool of reserves to be used in case any member country was faced with sudden capital flight.

SANews.gov.za and SAinfo reporter