Cape Town — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa aim to conclude the setting up of a Brics development bank at the next Brics summit to be held from 25-2 March next year in Durban, the Deputy Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Marius Fransman said today.
"If this happens it would give a major boost to some of the development needs we have," said Fransman, while addressing a panel discussion titled South Africa: A strong brick within Brics, at the University of Stellenbosch this morning.
At the last Brics summit in New Delhi in March, leaders of the five Brics countries considered a proposal to set up a Brics-led South-South Development Bank, funded and managed by the Brics and other developing countries.
The department, under an initiative led by its deputy director Ambassador Jerry Matjila, is also considering setting up a Brics think-tank to look at diplomatic as well as 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 $9.2bn in 2005 to $20.4bn in 2010, while Africa's trade with Brics countries is expected to reach one third of total trade on the continent in 2015, up from one fifth of total trade in 2010.
He listed the three main objectives that South Africa seeks to achieve from it membership to Brics 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.
Alluding to the veto rights of the permanent members of the UN Security Council, he said in reforming world governance organisations all countries should be seen as equal.
When it came to boosting its position in Brics, South Africa, he said, needed to look beyond its population of 50 million and at how it can position itself in a continent of one billion people that is fast rising economically.
The rationale for South Africa's involvement in Brics should be in how it can link the African continent with the other Brics members.
He said when South Africa held discussions with its Brics partners it also expected them to be involved in beneficiation of minerals, rather than simply shipping raw materials straight out of the continent.
However, he said South Africa had not taken up opportunities present in the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Agreement it had signed with China in 2010, which was why the Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies is involved in looking at ways to address this.