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The two-day maiden BRICS Business Council meet is being hosted by South Africa.
South African President Jacob Zuma, in his address to the Council meet on Tuesday said that BRICS is a “crucial forum” which would push for “inclusive development”.
“Our intention with the BRICS Business Council is to provide a platform to explore new models and approaches towards more equitable development and inclusive growth in the world,” Zuma said.
Zuma also referred to the massive capital flight from emerging markets that have weakened domestic currencies amid worries that the US Federal Reserve will halt its stimulus program.
“A coordinated foreign currency approach amongst BRICS nations will definitely assist in reducing currency volatility and under or over-valuations, thereby enhancing both trade and investment,” said Zuma.
Urging the business community to take advantage of the opportunities in BRICS, the South African President identified the key sectors as “infrastructure, mining and minerals Beneficiation, the services sector, manufacturing, energy and financial services”.
Zuma also underlined the importance of BRICS engagement with Africa.
“In this regard, the BRICS-Africa engagement and dialogue signals a new departure and a new avenue to take forward the continent’s development agenda,” said Zuma.
Business representatives from 19 African countries have been invited to attend the meet.
The 25-member BRICS Business Council comprises of five members from each of the member nations.
The Council is slated to meet twice per year and submit a report at each of the BRICS’ annual gatherings.
Total trade within the BRICS grouping amounted to $6.1 billion representing 16.8 per cent of global trade in 2012.
Asserting that the BRICS Business Council holds “immense opportunity”, Zuma had earlier in March said that he wants to see “tangible and practical projects when we meet at the next Summit in Brazil.”
The chair of the BRICS Business Council Patrice Motsepe assured that discussions will not be merely “theoretical or academic”.
“I’m confident that in the next few year, you will see a change in the quality of trade that has been taking place between South Africa and Africa, and the rest of the BRICS countries,” Motsepe said.
South African mining magnate Patrice Motsepe was chosen as the first chairperson of the BRICS Business Council.
The chairmanship will rotate on an annual basis among the five BRICS nations, aligned with the country hosting the annual BRICS Summit.
BRICS had also announced a contingency reserve arrangement of $100 billion that would benefit the five countries during the 5th Summit in Durban.
Claude Colart in Johannesburg for The BRICS Post