LEADERS of the Brics group of emerging economies have announced the formation of a business council aimed at strengthening trade and investment between its five members — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
The step is one of a range of decisions which the Brics countries have taken at a summit in Durban to enhance their own ties and reduce reliance on developed countries as the balance of global economic power shifts.
“The formation of the business council this morning (Wednesday) reiterates the commitment within the private sector to focus on closer collaboration between the Brics nations,” President Jacob Zuma said at a summit breakfast.
Each Brics country has chosen five top business executives to represent them on the council, which will co-ordinate interaction between member states’ governments and private sectors during the course of each year.
South African mining mogul Patrice Motsepe, the executive chairman of African Rainbow Minerals, has been selected to head South Africa’s branch of the council and will lead the entity over the coming year.
Mr Zuma said the business council’s objectives included strengthening trade relations; promoting business relations; technology transfer; and co-operation in the areas of skills development, banking, the green economy, manufacturing and industrialisation.
“In this regard, we would like to see such tangible and practical projects when we meet at the next Summit in Brazil,” he said.
One of the projects discussed at the event which will involve the private sector is the construction of an undersea telecommunications cable linking the Brics countries.
“The Brics cable will focus on a new high capacity of 28,400km linking the Brics countries and this will remove the dependency on developed countries as interconnection points by providing a direct route among the Brics countries,” Mr Zuma said.
The council will meet twice a year and submit a report at each of the Brics annual summits.