Brics summit not another talk convention

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A handout picture released on March 25, 2013 by the South African government shows South African president Jacob Zuma speaking on March 24, 2013 in Pretoria.

The establishment of Brics is not to create a new "talk show", President Jacob Zuma said on Monday.

"Brics is not a talk show. It is a serious grouping. I&39;ve just identified here that ever since the Brics grouping has been established, intra-trade has grown. But also bilateral trade has grown. That indicates [it is] not a talk show," Zuma told reporters at the presidential guesthouse in Pretoria.

"We are able to discuss things and take decisions. If, for example, we talk about the eminent establishment of a development bank, we discussed this a while ago and immediately charged our finance ministers to work on a modality. We are now ready to launch it," he said.

On Tuesday, the fifth Brics summit will begin in Durban. This is the first Brics summit to take place on African soil.

Brics is a group of developing nations formed by Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Zuma said all the heads of state of the Brics countries would be present during the summit. A total of 19 heads of state would attend.

Several agreements will be signed, cementing economic ties between China and South Africa. Zuma said a declaration on strategic partnerships between Russia and South Africa will be signed in fields such as defence, education, energy, science, technology, and transport.

South Africa will chair the group for 12 months after Durban and then hand over to Brazil.

In 2012, South Africa&39;s total trade with Brics countries stood at R294 billion -- 11 percent higher than the 2011 figure of R264bn.

Trade with Brazil grew from R18bn to R20bn in 2012, while trade with Russia rose from R3bn to R5bn -- a 45 percent increase.

Trade with India, South Africa&39;s sixth largest trading partner, grew from R53bn in 2011 to R67bn in 2012 -- a 26 percent increase.

Trade with China, which ranks first among South Africa&39;s Brics trade partners, totalled R188.4bn in 2011 and R201bn in 2012, up seven percent.

A total of 125 delegates from China, 125 from Russia, 74 from India, 60 from Brazil, and 242 from South Africa will be part of the discussions at the summit.

A Brics Business Council will be launched to strengthen business ties among the five countries.

Business will also deliberate on the envisaged Brics cable -- a high capacity optic fibre cable of 28,400km -- linking Brics countries.

Zuma said the establishment of a Brics development bank would mobilise financial resources for infrastructure and sustainable projects for member countries and other emerging economies.

During the summit, Brics finance ministers will present the results of a feasibility study on the bank.