Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during the opening of the BRICS Summit in Xiamen, Fujian province. Picture: Fred Dufour/Pool via AP

Xiamen - The growth of emerging markets and developing countries was not intended to "move the cheese from anyone"  but to "make the pie of the global economy bigger". 

This was according to Chinese President Xi Jinping during his keynote address at the opening ceremony of the Brics Business Forum on Sunday.

China is hosting the 9th Brics Summit - a meeting of leaders from five developing nations including Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - in Xiamen, Fujian province in China from Sunday to Tuesday.

The forum was held on the eve of the summit.

Leaders from the five countries, including President Jacob Zuma, as well as ministers and entrepreneurs will be present.

Xi called for Brics to promote the "Brics Plus" approach to build a diversified network of development partners.

He made the remarks although the other four members of the group were apprehensive it might undermine original Brics goals.

He said: "We should get more emerging markets and developing countries involved in our concerted endeavors for cooperation and mutual

benefits."

To underscore his point he cited a Chinese proverb: "It is easy to break one arrow but hard to break ten arrows bundled together".

 During the  Summit, China will hold the Dialogue of Emerging Market and Developing Countries, where leaders of Egypt, Guinea, Mexico, Tajikistan and Thailand will join the Brrcs leaders in discussing global development and South-South cooperation.

Xi said as a platform with global influence, Brics was more than about five countries. "Brics places high premium on cooperation with other emerging market and developing countries and have established effective dialogue mechanisms with them."

 Xi said the philosophy of Brics cooperation had gained growing appreciation in the international community. "We have laid the foundation and put in place the framework."

Xi pointed to three important practices of the group. This included the countries treating each other as equals while they shelved their differences. "Decisions are made through consultation... not by one country alone.

"Since the very beginning, our five countries have been guided by the principle of dialogue without confrontation, partnership without alliance," he said.

In response to critics Xi said the summit was more than a "talk shop". It was a task force for action.

 "Our goal is to build a big market of trade and investment, promote smooth flow of currency and finance, improve connectivity of infrastructure and build close bond between the people."

Xi encouraged development not only for the benefit of Brics countries but for the well-being of the world.

More than 700 million people go hungry, tens of millions of have been displaced and become refugees, while many people, including innocent children, have been killed in conflicts, Xi said.

Sluggish global growth in recent years, uneven development, inadequate governance and deficit of fairness were some of the challenges he noted.

Added to this protectionism and "inward-looking mentality" were on the rise.

The global economy and global economic governance system  face new challenges, he told the forum.

He added Brics countries should work together with other members of the international community to secure global economic stability and growth.

He said the bloc was committed to to observing the  principles of the UN Charter and international law.

He also stressed the need to tackle terrorism, uphold global peace and stability. "We BRICS countries are committed to upholding global peace and contributing to the international security order."

Weekend Argus