Pretoria - South Africa joined the Brics forum to seek closer co-operation with member states, not to compete, International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said on Tuesday.
“This division of the developing and the developed, where we talk of competition of the mightiest, has really gone to history. What we want in Brics is co-operation,” she told reporters in Pretoria.
“It is in deriving in each others' strength that we can thrive. It was proven that African leaders and countries see a new dimension of relation between developing countries and the Brics countries.
South Africa received a formal invitation in 2010 to join the fellow developing economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China, which were known as the Bric group at the time.
South Africa currently chairs the Brics chairmanship, which it will cede to Brazil this month when the Latin American state hosts the 6th summit.
Nkoana-Mashabane said substantive progress was achieved during South Africa's tenure at the helm of Brics and after the country joining the forum.
“South Africa's voice is always sought when Brics member states make decisions. At the first two Brics summits hosted before we joined, there was no vision document adopted,” she said.
The Brazil summit, starting on July 15, will be held under the theme: “Brics Ä Inclusive growth: Sustainable solutions”.
Several ministers, including Nkoana-Mashabane, Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene and Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies will accompany President Jacob Zuma.
Intensive discussion regarding the mooted Brics development bank will take centre stage at the summit, with finance ministers meeting before the heads of state convene.
Nkoana-Mashabane said hosting the Brics bank would not be determined by the financial contribution of individual members.
“What determines who becomes the domicile or the CEO does not go with how much you put in as we finally launch this bank. Finance ministers were mandated at the previous summit to establish a development bank,” she told reporters in Pretoria.
“The key outcome of Durban (the previous Brics summit) was that the leaders had agreed to establish the bank. Issues of the final domicile and the presidency of the bank will be discussed by the heads of state.” Brics leaders are expected to sign a treaty to launch the bank officially, following the resolution of the Durban meeting to pursue the issue.
“We are confident that the leaders will not be disappointed. Our finance ministers will meet a day prior to the summit to finalise recommendations,” she said.
“The development bank will prioritise financing infrastructure and sustainable development projects, among others.”
Media reports this week indicated that the five Brics nations had reached a broad consensus on a US100 billion (R1.07 trillion) development bank.