Advantages of South Africa’s membership of the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) group of countries; roll out of public education on South Africa’s participation in BRICS; and the objectives of and progress made towards the Fifth BRICS Summit, 26 to 27 March 2013 in Durban
FOR ORAL REPLY
QUESTION NO: 4 (NO271E)
PUBLISHED IN INTERNAL QUESTION PAPER NO: 1-2013 OF 6 MARCH 2013
MR MS BOOI (ANC) TO ASK THE MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION:
(1) What has been the advantages of South Africa’s membership of the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) group of countries;
(2) how does she intend to roll out public education on our country’s participation in BRICS;
(3) what (a) are the objectives of and (b) progress has been made towards the Fifth BRICS Summit which is to be held from 26 to 27 March 2013 in Durban?
a) South Africa membership of BRICS has delivered tangible economic dividends. The negative trade balance with BRICS countries has been substantially reduced, from -R57 billion in 2008 to -R23 billion in 2011.
b) We have also concluded two very important agreements under auspices of the BRICS Inter-Bank Cooperation Mechanism at the Fourth BRICS Summit to promote intra-BRICS currency convertibility to enhance bilateral trade and investment, i.e. a (i) Master Agreement on Extending Credit Facility in Local Currency and a (ii) Multilateral Letter of Credit Confirmation Facility Agreement.
c) BRICS countries have also strengthened their cooperation on peace and security issues and the BRICS National Sec Advisors have met in January 2013.
d) South Africa’s membership has contributed to further expand BRICS’ geographic reach, representivity and inclusiveness.
e) BRICS-Africa trade is projected to increase threefold from US$ 150 billion in 2010 to US$ 530 billion in 2015.
- A BRICS communication strategy was developed in July 2012 and approved by all the relevant BRICS structures. One of the objectives of the strategy is to raise the general South African public awareness on South Africa’s foreign policy objectives and its BRICS membership, including the benefits of the country’s membership.
- In this regard progress has been made:
- BRICS roadshows have already taken place in:
Limpopo on 23 January 2013;
ii. North West on 21 February 2013, and
iii. Gauteng on 23 February 2013.
iv. KZN on 5 March 2013.
v. Western Cape on 5 March 2013, and others are planned including
Eastern Cape on 7 and 8 March 2013.
vii. Free State on 12 March 2013, and
viii. Mpumalanga on 18 march 2013.
- This is the first time the BRICS Summit takes place in South Africa as well as on African soil. As Africa celebrates the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the African Union (AU) and its predecessor the Organisation for African Unity (OAU).
- It provides a historic opportunity to foster dialogue between BRICS and African Leaders in pursuit of obtaining BRICS support for priority programmes of the AU, notably Africa’s infrastructure development and industrialisation as well as related spatial and regional integration initiatives.
- Progress has been made with regards to the proposed Summit outcomes i.e.:
- The feasibility and viability study of the proposed BRICS-led new Development Bank
- The BRICS Leaders-Africa Dialogue Forum
- The launch of the BRICS Business Council
- The launch of the BRICS Consortium of Think Tanks
- Logistics :
All preparations for the Fifth BRICS Summit are well on track.