Status of a positive contribution that South Africa’s membership to Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa (BRICSA) would have on the rest of Africa, and the benefits that South Africa receives for being a member of BRICSA

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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY 

FOR WRITTEN REPLY

QUESTION NO: 543 (NW590E)

PUBLISHED IN INTERNAL QUESTION PAPER NO 3-2011 OF 25 FEBRUARY 2011

Mr LS Ngonyama (Cope) to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation”

Whether she has identified any positive contribution that South Africa’s membership to Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa (BRICSA) would have on the rest of Africa; if not, why not; if so, (a) what positive aspects have been identified and (b) what benefits will South Africa receive for being a member of BRICSA?
 
REPLY:

The Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) Forum is a grouping of emerging powers, in the realm of political, security and economic issues. The emerging economies, led by the BRICS, are important new sources of global economic growth, trade and investment. We have much in common with the BRICS member states, committed as we are to inclusive development and we have numerous shared interests for a more equitable world order. There is a “unity of purpose” amongst the grouping to bring to bear significant influence on global political, economic and security issues. Membership of BRICS is one of the platforms, at the international level, through which South Africa is able to realise its foreign policy priorities of enhancing the African agenda and sustainable development, global governance reform as well as strengthening political and economic relations in line with our domestic priorities contained within the IPAP II and New Growth Path.

The majority of issues on the agenda at the UNSC concern Africa. Russia and China, two BRICS member states, are in the UNSC in the permanent category and the strategic importance of this should be recognised. Further, India, Brazil and South Africa are, in 2011, serving on the UNSC in the non-permanent category, with India and South Africa ending their respective terms in 2012 and Brazil in 2011. We have already seen, for instance, the utility and influence of the BRICS Forum, which is still in its infancy, in sharing information and coordinating positions at the UNSC on African issues, the crisis in Libya being a case in point.

We recognize that BRICS states are competitors on the African continent; as such we believe that as BRICS we can do better working collaboratively on areas where there is consensus rather than in destructive competition. South Africa’s foreign policy is inextricably linked to that of the African Agenda and the positions we take reflect the decisions taken at the AU and in our sub-region, SADC. South Africa’s membership of BRICS consequently gives greater expression and influence to the positions of the AU. For example, as Chair of the AU’s NEPAD High Level Panel on Infrastructure, President Zuma was able to obtain BRICS express support for infrastructure development in Africa and its industrialisation within the framework of the NEPAD priority programmes.

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