“The Brics countries have a shared interest in pursuing the reform of multilateral institutions for global governance — to give greater voice to developing countries in these institutions and, thereby, enhance the legitimacy of the institutions themselves,” he said.
The group has strengthened co-ordination in the World Trade Organisation’s Doha Round “to defend and champion a development outcome”, and did the same in forums such as the Group of 20 when trade and investment issues arose.
Intra-Brics co-operation is also being bolstered, and Mr Davies said the group could support Africa’s economic development agenda.
“The Brics countries can contribute to Africa’s development by increasing financial aid to build infrastructure and industrial capacity, and increasing imports of value-added manufactured products from the continent,” he said.
Abundant natural resources, an emerging middle class and high growth rates offer an opportunity “to build a more sustainable and mutually beneficial relationship with Africa in the next decades”.
Mr Davies said the South African government believed the proposed Brics development bank needed to mobilise resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects within the group and in other emerging economies.
While South Africa’s economic links to traditional trading partners remain important, the country’s prospects for growth and development depend increasingly on diversifying and strengthening economic links with the “economies of the south” — including Indonesia — and with the rest of Africa.
“Aggravated by the eurozone crisis and demand contraction in Europe, the share of the European Union in South Africa’s total trade has declined from 36% in 2005 to 26.5% in 2011,” Mr Davies said. “By contrast, the share of the Brics countries in South Africa’s total trade has increased from 10% in 2005 to 18.6% in 2011.”
Garth de Klerk, CEO of credit guarantee company Coface South Africa, said on Wednesday that South African exports to Europe would “dramatically decrease” between 2008 and 2016, and while trade with Asia would improve, exports to other African countries would see the highest growth — replacing much of the decline in European trade.
While only one African country, Zimbabwe, made it on to South Africa’s top 10 export destination list in 2008, this would increase to four by 2016, with the inclusion of Mozambique, Angola and Zambia, Mr de Klerk said.
Not one Brics nation featured in South Africa’s top 10 export destinations in 2008, but Coface reports China and India are now among South Africa’s top export destinations.
The article was first published on 21 October 2012 by the Business Day: