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South Africa invites AU to attend BRICS summit


14:50, January 25, 2013

JOHANNESBURG, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- The South African government said on Thursday it has, for the first time, invited the African Union (AU) and African regional economies to the 5th BRICS Summit in line with promoting regional integration.

The summit will include a first dialogue between BRICS Leaders and African heads of state and government from the eight Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative (PICIs) under the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim said in a press briefing in Pretoria.

There will also be a dialogue with Chairperson of the AU Commission Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma to discuss the issue of infrastructure funding which the AU has tasked President Jacob Zuma to play a leading role in, he said.

Ebrahim said this will strengthen the structures that facilitate the intra-BRICS collaboration between captains of industry and academics.

South Africa will host the summit on March 26-27 in Durban.

Preparations for the summit were in full swing, Ebrahim said.

BRICS refers to major emerging economies -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

The South African government has made it clear that it wants the upcoming BRICS summit to promote the integration agenda in Africa.

"We wish to align our interests in supporting the integration agenda in Africa," Collins Chabane, minister in the Presidency, said on Wednesday.

"With the theme for the Durban Summit focusing on Africa, this can mean that South Africa is actually playing the role everyone assumed we would when we joined BRICS in 2010," Chabane said.

BRICS member countries represent about 43 percent of the world population and approximately one fifth of the global Gross Domestic Production (GDP) and undoubtedly the bloc contributed 11 percent of foreign direct investment of world trade in 2012.

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