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Listening Post at Durban BRICS Summit
March 28, 2013, 7:53 am


President Zuma said earlier this week that “BRICS is not a talk show” [AP]

The 5th BRICS Summit has ended in Durban. Rhetoric, realpolitik and a sense of purpose underlined the voices that emerged at and around the Durban ICC – the venue of the Summit.

It was an event watched with the utmost expectation and caution since the Delhi Declaration of 2012.

The voices heard at the Meet were combative and assertive. Facing huge media and intellectual scrutiny, the BRICS bloc leaders and backers of the idea were defiant.

The five leaders were combined in their resolve that there is no going back from the BRICS agenda, whether it was on the Development Bank or increased bilateral ties or to usher in a new economic world order.

President Zuma set the tone and tenor in his inaugural media interaction by saying “BRICS is not a talk show.”

Among the crucial achievements of this year’s summit was the formation of a new 25-member BRICS Business Council, establishing a Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) among the five countries with an initial fund of $100 billion, and the announcement of the BRICS Development Bank.

Russia had asserted, prior to the Summit that “BRICS is a game changer” and Russian President Vladimir Putin concluded by branding ‘BRICS as a global trouble shooter.”

“In Africa people talk about the ‘big five’ – the five biggest animals on the African continent. BRICS is also made up of five countries, and as I just said, we make a very visible contribution to the global economy,” said Putin.

The five leaders were clear that BRICS is the way forward.

“It is appropriate that we celebrate BRICS achievements, including our contributions to the further strengthening of the global agenda to ensure a more equitable and prosperous world for all,” said Zuma.


During the Summit Chinese President Xi Jinping said: “The 21th century would sure be a century of rising for Africa” [BRICS5]

“The BRICS forum offers member states the opportunity of an amplified voice for political, financial, economic and social interests around a common growth and development agenda based on our shared values,” said the South African president.

The Indian prime minister, who is also a noted economist, Manmohan Singh branded BRICS as the world’s “key growth driver” adding  ‘each is a unique source of resources and strengths.”

Echoing his BRICS counterparts, Putin has said, “BRICS is the key element of global governance.”

“This is the largest market in the world. Our countries are home to 40 per cent of the planet’s population. The BRICS states possess enormous natural resources, have a developed industrial base and professional personnel, and create almost 30 per cent of the global gross product,” Putin said.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff also asserted that, “The BRICS Bank is our contribution to the global economy in one of its most important features: development financing.”

The BRICS leaders were intent on highlighting ‘inclusivity and equality’ in their ties at the BRICS Leaders-Africa Dialogue Forum.

Chinese President Xi Jinping said BRICS-Africa ties “should be based on equality and democracy”.

Calling BRICS’ ties with Africa a strategic partnership, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said there is great potential for an “alliance between equals,” adding that BRICS countries’ expertise in infrastructure can help African nations overcome their development challenges.

Rousseff found support in the President Xi Jinping who said cooperation among the countries’ 4 billion people will help to make the world economy more balanced and international relations more democratic.

“The 21st century would sure be a century of rising for Africa,” Xi said while reiterating BRICS’ support for Africa.

The BRICS Post

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