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TBP (Durban, South Africa) – South Africa believes BRICS will usher in industrialisation and integration in the African continent.
South African minister of trade and industry, Rob Davies has asserted “The importance of BRICS can never be overemphasised.”
Trade between South Africa and other BRICS countries has grown from 11.6 per cent to 27 per cent.
Minister Davies was speaking at the Brics Business Forum inside the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban yesterday.
“From the South African perspective, we have seen significance growth in trade and economic relations with BRICS countries,” said minister Davies.
South Africa currently has 31 projects by 25 companies located in BRICS countries totalling R12.6 billion.
“The African continent is recognised as the second fastest growing continent after Asia. There are four drivers of the economic growth in African continent.
“These are the boom in mineral products in the African continent, the development of the service industries, fuelled by amongst others the embracement of ICT in Africa, the benefit of not having financial the crisis, and infrastructure development,” said Davies.
Davies underlined the importance of the new African industrial wave.
“Other Brics countries have advantage of large populations providing big domestic markets for their products. The South African population is small compared to other Brics countries, but if you add up numbers on continent then you have a critical mass that can support the new industrial wave in Africa.
“That is why we need achieve the African integration in order to create large trading blocks across large parts of African continent,” said minister Davies.
The BRICS Business Council was endorsed by Presidents of Business Unity South Africa and Black Business Council, Jabu Mabuza and Ndaba Ntsele, asking for greater intra-BRICS trade and investment.
The 25-member BRICS Business Council will be announced by the heads of state at the plenary of the Summit on March 27, which will comprise of top five business leaders from each BRICS country.
The council will meet twice a year.
Trade ministers from the five BRICS nations also pledged increased support to the African continent.
Brazil’s minister of development industry and foreign trade, Fernando Pimental, said it was important to strengthen commercial ties between BRICS members and to increase trade with African countries, adding that Africa needed to be helped.
India’s minister of commerce, industry and textiles, Anand Sharma, said India had made a considered decision to share its information technology capabilities with Africa.
Through the Pan African e-Network Project, tele-education and tele-medicine technologies linked key universities and doctors in 47 Africa countries with those in India.
The Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (Itec) had also offered scholarships to tens of thousands of African students to help them study in India.
India would now help set up 70 higher-education institutions in African countries in areas such as agricultural training and IT.
Claude Colart for The BRICS Post