South Africa brings special insights to work of BRICS: ambassador (2)

14:16, April 12, 2011      

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"It is true that South Africa's population and economic size is not on the same level as those of Brazil, Russia, India and China -- but clearly, the advantages of being part of the exploding African economic growth outweigh this consideration," he said.

"We speak for Africa as a whole. We bring the most diversified and most advanced economy on the continent. We may not be the same size (as the other BRICS members), but we can open up opportunities for them and through that, we can complete our economic integration on the continent," said Langa, quoting South African International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.

For South Africa itself, huge new opportunities will open up on the investment and trade front, Langa said, adding that because of it being included in the grouping private companies may also find market access into the BRICS countries easier and partnerships with companies from this grouping might evolve.

"This might become particularly important as South Africa is already the biggest emerging economy investor in the continent and its companies are active in at least half of all African countries, he said.

BRICS nations' combined GDPs accounted for 18 percent of the global GDP in 2010 as their combined population accounted for 40 percent of the world's total. Trade volume of BRICS countries has also shot up year to year, with an average annual growth rate of 28 percent from 2001 to 2010. The total volume of trade among BRICS countries reached 230 billion U.S. dollars last year.

It is the first time that South Africa will attend the BRICS summit to be held in Sanya.

"As the new member, we would like to use this meeting as a learning opportunity. We would very much like to get a better understanding of the agenda, a better understanding of how BRICS is supposed to operate, a better understanding of the imperatives of our four partners in this relationship," he said.

Apart from the BRICS summit itself, there are 11 sub-sectors of the BRICS initiative that South Africa needs to "very quickly" get to grips with, including banking cooperation, business cooperation, academic exchanges, and exchanges between other sectors, according to the ambassador.

"There is a lot of work ahead of us, but we are ready to make our contribution in support of the African Agenda and the Agenda of the South to ensure a more balanced and equitable world order," he said.
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