South Africa to push African agenda at BRICS summit

South Africa to push African agenda at BRICS summit Cape Town: The South African government has said it will push the African agenda at the 5th BRICS summit to be held in Durban March 26-27.

The summit will present a unique high-level opportunity for South Africa to further support key priority areas of the African agenda, said Fadl Nacerodien, the chief director at the Policy Research and Analysis Unit of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), reported Xinhua.

"The mobilization of support for the African agenda is a key priority of South Africa's foreign policy," Nacerodien said Wednesday in remarks distributed through the Government Communication and Information System.

South Africa will harness the country's membership to benefit the entire African continent, Nacerodien said.

He said the BRICS have given impetus to Africa's economic emergence and contributed significantly to the relevance and status of the continent.

"Over the past decade, we have witnessed a dramatic increase in commercial and strategic engagements between the BRICS countries and Africa," he said.

BRICS is an economic bloc representing five of the world's leading emerging economies, namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

The South African government has repeatedly said it wants the BRICS summit to promote the integration agenda in Africa instead of "just focusing on access to our resources".

The government has set the theme for the BRICS summit: BRICS and Africa-partnerships for integration and industrialization.

Ahead of the summit, four key focus areas have been highlighted as the African infrastructure development, the BRICS-led development bank with starting capital of $50 billion, BRICS Think-Tank and a Business Council.

In line with these goals in achieving regional integration and enhancing BRICS-African interactions, the African Union (AU) along with some African Regional Groupings such as East African Community (EAC), Common Market for Eastern and Central Africa (COMESA), and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have been invited to attend the summit.

BRICS member countries represent about 43 percent of the world population and approximately one fifth of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

IANS