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BRICS expected to focus on Africa

By David Musyoka (Xinhua)

08:11, March 27, 2013

DURBAN, South Africa, March 26 (Xinhua) -- BRICS officials are enthusiastic about growing ties with Africa and how they will help Africa achieve industrialization. The irony however is that Africa is not a member of BRICS.

Out of the continent's 54 countries, only South Africa is a member of BRICS, the multilateral body of five countries that says it will help Africa deliver infrastructure, healthcare and education to its people.

It is the undisputable fact that BRICS has an eye on Africa, in addition to the singular objective of setting new economic world order. It is also clear that BRICS has chosen its only African member South Africa to represent the interests of Africa.

Whether BRICS will later invite other African countries to join it is an issue most delegates at the fifth BRICS summit in Durban South Africa were unwilling to be engaged in.

"What we are doing is not only about South Africa, but is to benefit the whole of the continent," said Pravin Gordon, South Africa's Minister of Finance, in an interview with Xinhua on Tuesday.

He did not elaborate on how Africa will be accommodated into BRICS, saying that is the matter to be announced by the heads of states of BRICS member countries when they meet on Wednesday.

South Africans officials have indicated that any dividends coming from BRICS must be shared with the rest of Africa. It is the same plan that appears to be pursued by other BRICS members.

"Africa must be at the center of our development plans," said Paulo Tigre, the Vice President of Brazilian Confederation of Industry, said at a business forum held before the fifth BRICS summit opens in Durban.

He said the proposed BRICS Development Bank will in particular come in handy in Africa's efforts to finance infrastructure development.

"Africa is a continent that needs to be helped and we are ready to provide that help," said his counterpart, Brazilian Minister for Development, Industry and Foreign Trade Fernndo Pimentel. "Strengthening commercial ties with the rest of Africa is a challenge that the BRICS must overcome," he added.

The focus on Africa by BRICS is seen as being driven the enormous economic and social transformation potential the continent has showed in the last decade.

Some of the fastest growing economies in the world are in Africa, a fact that was rarely expected two decades ago.

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