President Jacob Zuma arrived back in South Africa on Saturday after attending a fruitful BRICS Leaders Summit in China.

“We conducted frank and in-depth discussions and agreed on strengthening BRICS co-operation and on promoting co-ordination on international and regional issues of common interest,” presidential spokesman Zizi Kodwa said in a statement.

“We agreed that the 21st century should be marked by peace, harmony, co-operation and scientific development.”

Zuma attended the two-day Leaders Summit in Sanya where the world's major emerging powers met.

“As South Africa we received a very warm welcome from the four other members, and from the onset there was clear commitment to strengthen co-operation,” Kodwa said.

“We are certain that we are true partners and that South Africa and Africa as a whole will benefit particularly in areas of job creation, peace and security, attainment of the Millennium Development goals and fighting HIV and Aids and poverty.”

South Africa officially joined BRICS in December.

The grouping offers a lucrative market for South Africa's goods and services and opportunities to implement the New Growth Path (NGP) framework.

The NGP is designed to create five million jobs in South Africa by 2020 and reduce unemployment to 15 percent.

The main theme of the BRICS summit was “inclusive development”.

Discussion topics include global economic and financial issues, and cooperation between the five nations.

The BRICS nations have 42 percent of the global population and accounted for about 18 percent of global gross domestic product last year. -

Sapa