The Brics summit would only be meaningful if it prioritised the development of the rural poor in the member countries, King Goodwill Zwelithini said on Monday.
The discussions should focus on ensuring food security for poor people, particularly those in rural areas.
“We need to ask ourselves how the poor people will benefit from whatever outcome we get from the summit including the development bank. Brics would only grow if ordinary people are part of the development,” he said.
The king was speaking during a meeting in Durban with Chinese academics from the Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University.
King Zwelithini said he hoped his ties with the Chinese would lead to greater co-operation, especially in the fields of agriculture.
The partnership between the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government and the Chinese university resulted in a mushroom technology research centre at Cedara, while the university was instrumental in the mushroom growing programme in the province.
The king, who is the custodian of 2.8 million hectares which fall under the Ingoyama Trust, said he did not want to see land lying fallow
The coast was warm “and we can produce tons and tons of rice”, said the king.
He said he would take a delegation of traditional leaders to China later in the year because this would be beneficial to many rural communities.
He said the “future is East” and he would encourage traditional leaders to learn eastern languages. The king applauded the Durban University of Technology for offering Mandarin.
He said he envisaged a future in which Zulu would be offered at Chinese universities.