Trade figures show this is a substantial grouping
The establishment of Brics was not in order to create a new talk show, President Jacob Zuma said on Monday.
“Brics is not a talk show. It is a serious grouping. I’ve just identified here that ever since the Brics grouping has been established, intra-trade has grown.
“But also bilateral trade has grown. That indicates (it is) not a talk show,” Zuma told reporters at the presidential guesthouse in Pretoria.
“We are able to discuss things and take decisions. If, for example, we talk about the imminent establishment of a development bank, we discussed this a while ago and immediately charged our finance ministers to work on a modality. We are now ready to launch it,” he said.
Zuma said all the heads of state of the Brics countries would be present during the summit. A total of 19 heads of state would attend.
Several agreements would be signed, cementing economic ties between China and South Africa.
Zuma said a declaration on strategic partnerships between Russia and South Africa would be signed in fields such as defence, education, energy, science, technology and transport.
South Africa would chair the group for 12 months after the Durban summit and will then hand over the reins to Brazil.
In 2012, South Africa’s total trade with Brics countries stood at R294 billion – 11 percent higher than the 2011 figure of R264bn.
Trade with Brazil grew from R18bn to R20bn in 2012, while trade with Russia rose from R3bn to R5bn – a 45 percent increase.
Trade with India, South Africa’s sixth-largest trading partner, grew from R53bn in 2011 to R67bn in 2012 – a 26 percent increase.
Trade with China, which ranks first among South Africa’s Brics trade partners, totalled R188.4bn in 2011 and R201bn in 2012, an increase of 7 percent.
A total of 125 delegates from China, 125 from Russia, 74 from India, 60 from Brazil, and 242 from South Africa will be part of the discussions at the summit.
A Brics Business Council will be launched to strengthen business ties among the five countries.
Business will also deliberate on the envisaged Brics cable – a high-capacity optic-fibre cable of 28 400km – linking the Brics countries. – Sapa