President Zuma arrives in Fortaleza, Brazil for the BRICS Summit
President Jacob Zuma has today, 14 July 2014 arrived in Fortaleza, Brazil to attend the sixth BRICS Summit.
Since its first Summit in 2009, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) has consolidated its position as a positive force for the democratisation of international relations. BRICS has also forged an impressive partnership carrying out cooperation initiatives in more than 30 areas between its members.
South Africa will be handing over the chair of BRICS to Brazil. South Africa hosted the Fifth BRICS Summit in March 2013 under the theme BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Development, Integration and Industrialization.
South Africa has fully implemented the eThekwini Action Plan that BRICS leaders had tasked the country to carry out at the 5th BRICS Summit held in Durban last year. The country hosted key ministerial meetings such as the BRICS National Security Advisors, Trade, Finance, Agriculture and Agrarian Affairs, Education, Health, Social Security, and Science, Technology and Innovation.
The country also inaugurated the BRICS Business Forum and established its operational procedures as well as identified priority focus areas. The BRICS Think Tanks Council was established to provide critical analysis and policy advice to BRICS leaders.
Brazil as the new incoming chair has identified the theme: "BRICS - Inclusive Growth: Sustainable Solutions". The Summit will emphasise social inclusion and sustainable development. It will also provide the opportunity to reflect on areas of cooperation and showcase BRICS accomplishments.
BRICS membership advances South Africa's national interests through pursuing key economic priorities related to poverty alleviation, job creation and reducing inequality.
What South Africa seeks to achieve through BRICS, among other things:
- At domestic level: addressing poverty, inequality and job creation.
- At a regional level: gaining tacit support from BRICS partners on a regional level for the promotion of the African Agenda and to ensure synergy among BRICS partners, as far as feasible, regarding their engagement with Africa.
- At an international level: to obtain increased support for the reform of International Financial Institutions (IFIs), the revival of the Doha Development Agenda, as well as the reform of the United Nations (UN) including the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
Another key advantage for Africa in particular, is that the BRICS-Africa cooperation will support Africa's efforts to diversify and modernise its economies through infrastructure development, knowledge exchange, increased access to technology, enhanced capacity-building and investment in human capital.
Boosting intra-BRICS trade remains a key objective and progress is being made. In 2013, South Africa's total trade with the BRICS countries stood at R380.4 billion, which is 27.5% higher than the 2012 figure of R298.2 billion. Total trade with Brazil grew from R20.1 billion in 2012 to R21.8 billion in 2013, representing a growth of 8.46%. Total trade with the Russian Federation increased from R5.1 billion in 2012 to R7.5 billion in 2013, representing growth of 47.06%. Total trade with India grew substantially from R68.3 billion in 2012 to R80.8 billion in 2013, representing growth of 18.3%. China ranks first among the BRICS Partners and is South Africa's largest bilateral trading partner, with total trade expanding from R204.6 billion in 2012 to R270.1 billion in 2013, representing a growth of 32.01%.
On the 16th of July, President Zuma will proceed to Brasilia for the working session between BRICS and the Heads of State of South American countries.
President Zuma is accompanied by the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, the Minister of Finance, Mr Nhlanhla Nene, Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies, the Minister of State Security, Mr David Mahlobo and the Minister of Energy, Ms Tina Joemat-Pettersson.
The President is also accompanied by a business delegation whose members will participate in the BRICS Business Council meetings scheduled to take place on the sidelines of the summit.
On 13 July 2014 President Zuma attended the final match of the 2014 FIFA Soccer World Cup in Rio de Janeiro and congratulated President Dilma Roussef of the Federative Republic of Brazil for the successful organisation and hosting of the prestigious tournament, which South Africa had the honour of hosting in 2010.
Enquiries: Mac Maharaj on 079 879 3203 or email@example.com
ISSUED BY DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNICATIONS ON BEHALF OF THE PRESIDENCY
14 July 2014