South Africa, the smallest member of the Brics grouping that includes Brazil, Russia, India and China, is looking for conclusive commitments on the Brics development bank and will use the Durban summit as a platform to strengthen economic ties and unlock opportunities for development.
To stake its claim as a key player in the group, South Africa recently nominated five high-profile business personalities, including mining magnate Patrice Motsepe, to the Brics Business Council.
The council will be launched at the 5th Brics summit in Durban on Tuesday and Wednesday next week. It will comprise 25 nominees, five from each member state.
Motsepe will be the chairman of the South African delegation, which includes Nomaxabiso Majokweni, the chief executive of Business Unity SA (Busa); Sandile Zungu, the secretary-general of the Black Business Council; Iqbal Survé, the executive chairman of Sekunjalo Investment Holdings; and Brian Molefe, the group chief executive of Transnet; with Stavros Nicolaou, a senior executive at Aspen Pharmacare, as an alternate. Brics is a political and economic grouping of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
Some detractors have said South Africa was trying to punch above its weight with its inclusion in the grouping. But members of the business council interviewed by Business Report expressed confidence in South Africa’s ability to engage meaningfully on critical developmental issues.
Zungu said he expected firmer commitments by the five governments to the multilateral projects, in particular the Brics development bank, which among others, should reduce the bloc’s reliance on the traditional multilateral agencies, such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund
Survé said that he saw his role on the business council as facilitating South African investment and economic growth to alleviate poverty in the country.
“I would very much like to present South Africa not as a country of doom and gloom, but as a place where entrepreneurs must invest,” he said.
Majokweni said: “As the chief executive of Busa, my role would essentially be to bring the voice of business into the Brics agenda.
“South Africa is now a firm member of Brics, it is now up to business to advance business interests so as to make optimal use of Brics as a platform to increase intra-Brics strategic trade and investment.”
Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies has said the business council would constitute a platform to strengthen economic ties, trade and investment between the business communities of the five Brics countries.
It would also provide technical support and consultative advice, and facilitate the implementation of multilateral business projects. page 23