BRICS Will Offer Huge Opportunities for South Africa: Zuma

Johannesburg, April 12 (IANS) The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Arica) grouping offers huge opportunities for South Africa's trade and economic development, says President Jacob Zuma.

Zuma will travel to China for the BRICS summit in China's Sanya city April 14.

"We are greatly honoured by the invitation to join the Brazil, Russia, India and China grouping. The invitation indicates the high regard with which our country is viewed internationally," Zuma told Xinhua.

"This provides an opportunity to communicate our priorities as well as opportunities," he added.

The president declared 2011 as a year of job creation through meaningful economic transformation and inclusive growth in his State of the Nation Address in February. The government's New Growth Path aims to create five million jobs by 2020 and bring the unemployment rate down to 15 percent.

Zuma believes the BRICS membership would help South Africa realise the goal.

"The groupings offer a big lucrative market for South Africa's goods and services and lots of opportunities to implement our Industrial Policy Action Plan and the New Growth Path framework. We will actively promote trade and investment which enhances industrialisation and promotes job creation," he was quoted as saying.

Zuma said South Africa has cooperated with other BRICS members in the areas of finance, agriculture, business development as well as academia.

"New areas of cooperation within BRICS are being explored in science and technology, culture, sport, climate change and energy. The scope is very wide to cooperate on various projects within the BRICS structures," Zuma added.

Besides the economic aspects, BRICS, along with the Non-Aligned Movement and the G-77, is important for South-South interaction, especially within the UN framework, Zuma said.

"South Africa and BRICS member states already collaborate and will continue to work together closely in various international organizations and formations such as the United Nations, the G-20 and the IBSA Dialogue Forum (India, Brazil, South Africa)," he said.

"All BRICS countries serve on the UN Security Council as permanent or non-permanent members. This augurs positively for enhanced cooperation efforts on issues of common interest."

The BRICS summit will be attended by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Chinese President Hu Jintao and South African President Jacob Zuma.

Leaders of the BRICS countries will have in-depth exchanges of views on the international situation and economic, financial and development issues, and map out future cooperation.


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