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As part of their preparations to host the BRICS Summit next month, the South African government has launched a road show to educate its citizens about the importance of the summit and the country’s BRICS membership.
South Africa’s membership in the BRICS group will help the nation to address their challenges, Derek Hanekom, minister of science and technology said at the launch in Johannesburg this weekend.
“BRICS membership is not an event but a movement. They are long term achievements and not things which have to be achieved overnight. The membership will help us as a country to address unemployment, poverty and inequality” said Hanekom.
The minister also said membership will assist the country in meeting the Millennium Development Goals.
The 5th BRICS Summit will take place in Durban on March 26 and 27 this year.
BRICS is an economic bloc representing five of the world’s leading emerging economies – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
The government has organised similar road shows in all the other provinces to promote the BRICS Summit.
Hanekom said the BRICS countries are also trying to improve humanity and governance and it is essential for South Africa to be part of shaping global development.
“The BRICS Summit will allow member states to review progress, achievements and challenges. They will provide guidelines to build a better world. Just like the World Cup it gives the country pride to host such an event,” said Hanekom.
Nomvula Makonyane, the premier of Gauteng province, said the friendship with BRICS countries have assisted the nations in various sectors like renewable energy and employment creation.
“We joined BRICS in the best interest of the country and we continue to engage one another to empower each other. We are learning how countries like China managed to redress hunger and poverty,” said the premier.
“We also took our heads of departments to China to learn how the China public servant management operates. They learnt how to put the people first and be patriotic servants. We have learnt a lot from China like working 24 hours a day to finish the construction in time,” added Makonyane.
The premier said South Africans had benefited a lot from the skills of the Chinese people in sectors like information and technology and that South Africa also learnt how to run small scale businessess from Brazil.
Jerry Matjila, the director-general in the department of international relations and cooperation, stated that the public education about BRICS is an attempt to make them understand the reason of joining BRICS.
“We want to take the people along with us in this BRICS movement. We joined BRICS because we wanted to interconnect the markets after interrogating the global shift in economies,” Matjila said.
“We had to identify opportunities and take them. We are reconstructing a new world order as BRICS. Already we are a force to be reckoned with if your check our Gross Domestic Products,” Matjila said.
Bongani Masuku, an officer for international relations at the Congress of South African Trade Unions, said it’s important to strengthen people-to-people relations outside governments.