|BRICS will offer huge opportunities for S Africa, says president|
JOHANNESBURG, April 12 (Xinhua) -- The grouping of the BRICS that serves as part of South-South interaction will offer huge opportunities for South Africa's trade and economic development, South African President Jacob Zuma says.
"We are greatly honored 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 said in a recent interview with Xinhua.
Zuma will travel to China for the BRICS summit scheduled for April 14.
"This provides an opportunity to communicate our priorities as well as opportunities," Zuma said in the interview.
The president declared 2011 a year of job creation through meaningful economic transformation and inclusive growth in his 2011 State of the Nation Address in February. The government's New Growth Path aims to create 5 million jobs by 2020 and bring the unemployment rate down to 15 percent.
Zuma believes BRICS membership would help South Africa realize 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 industrialization and promotes job creation," he explained.
Zuma said South Africa has cooperated with other BRICS members in the areas of finance, agriculture, statistics, justice, business development and exchange 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 G77, is important for South-South interaction, especially within the framework of the United Nations, 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 (Group of Twenty) 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," Zuma said.
In addition to BRICS, South Africa is also a member of the IBSA which was established in June 2003.
"We believe that the IBSA will get a better balance and become even stronger with South Africa now as a member of the BRICS, more especially since the mandates of BRICS and IBSA complement each other."
"It is important to note also that IBSA and BRICS provide a link with the African continent for the two groupings, and strengthens our position as a gateway to Africa," Zuma said.
China will host the third BRICS summit on April 14 in Sanya city, Hainan province.
The meeting 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.EndFragment