The Fifth BRICS Academic Forum is taking place from 10-13 March 2013 in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal under the theme: “BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Development, Integration and Industrialisation.” The Academic Forum is hosted by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), Higher Education South Africa (HESA) and Durban University of Technology (DUT). The Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr. Blade Nzimande, will host an Academic Forum Gala Dinner tonight, Monday, 10 March 2013. It is expected that the Declaration on the Establishment of the BRICS Think Tanks Council will be signed at the Dinner.
Fifth BRICS Academic Forum to sign historic Declaration on the Establishment of the BRICS Think Tanks Council
Happy International Women’s Week!!! Message from the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane
As we commemorate International Women’s Day (IWD) on 8 March 2013, we join the peoples of the world in recognizing the importance of women in society and their contribution to social progress, international peace and security. It is through our collective efforts in the struggle for the full emancipation of women that we were able to forge international solidarity with the rest of humanity in the fight for human rights, dignity and equality. Though much progress has been made, our society cannot utterly assert itself free from gender-based discrimination and violence, inequality, gender wage discrepancies, inequities in access to land and social services. In the recent past, we have seen, heard and read about shocking acts of gender-based violence such as the rape and mutilation around the globe and in our own country. Two rape cases of 23-year-old Jyoti Singh Pandey on a public bus in New Dehli and that of 17-year-old Anene Booysen among others come to mind. Acts of brutal violence against women, rape and murder necessitate that we raise awareness to combat and prevent this scourge in our society. We welcome the newly established Council for Gender-Based Violence and the establishment of the Sexual Offences Courts. These are part of our commitments as a country to deal effectively with gender-based violence. As a Department, our role in the international arena enables us to further take the struggle for women’s empowerment and gender equality. We welcome and encourage the messages of support from the international community, particularly those emanating from the 57th session of UN Commission on the Status of Women whose emphasis is on preventing and ending violence against women and girls. We anticipate that these messages will be fully embraced and translated into plans of action by women, men, young people, civil society, the private sector, labour, religious organisations and governments. I urge you all to spread the spirit of UBUNTU on this day to defend equal rights of men and women, and reaffirm our commitment to the right to human dignity and worth of all human beings.
It is TIME FOR ACTION: “Prevent and end violence against women and girls”.
Update on Preparations for the 5th BRICS Summit by Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane
South Africa’s delegation to the Summit will be led by H.E. President Jacob Zuma and will include several Cabinet Ministers and a business delegation. The delegations of the other BRICS member states, i.e. Brazil, Russia, India and China, will be led by their respective Heads of State and Government, and will also consist of large business contingents. In preparation for the hosting of the Fifth BRICS Summit, a BRICS Strategy was also developed and presented to Cabinet on 18 September 2012. Cabinet has approved the BRICS Strategy that included extensive consultation with Government stakeholders and which guide’s South Africa’s strategic engagement in BRICS. Cabinet also endorsed an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) that oversees preparations for this Summit, including both the substance of the Summit and the logistics thereof. I can indicate on behalf of the IMC that Government is satisfied with the state of preparations for the Summit. The BRICS Strategy contextualises BRICS against the backdrop of the evolving international system and related structures which witnessed the G20 replacing the G8 as the premier forum for international economic cooperation, as well as the repositioning of Africa in these structures- it emphasises the value of BRICS in economic and financial terms. The purpose of the Strategy is to guide the engagements of South Africa by identifying objectives of and opportunities in becoming a member of this esteemed grouping. The BRICS mechanism aims to achieve peace, security, development and cooperation. It also seeks to contribute significantly to the development of humanity and establish a more equitable and fair world. The 5th BRICS Summit will take place under the theme: “BRICS and Africa – Partnership for Development, Integration and Industrialisation”. The choice of the theme is in line with one of our foreign policy priorities, which is to champion the African Agenda. It is our intention to link the BRICS countries with the African continent, which is the second fastest growing region in the world after Asia.
Members of the media, South Africa joined BRICS with three objectives in mind:
-To advance its national interests as outlined in the President’s State of the Nation Address and relevant policy frameworks
-To promote its regional integration programme and related continental infrastructure and industrialisation programmes; and
-To partner with key players of the South on issues related to the reform of the institutions of global governance in the relevant financial, economic and political spheres.
South Africa’s membership of the BRICS grouping is important for various reasons. Through our participation in the BRICS, we endeavour to further leverage economic opportunities for our own development agenda, as well as that of the African continent. South Africa membership of BRICS has delivered tangible economic dividends. The negative trade balance with BRICS countries has been substantially reduced. Bilateral SA-BRICS trade also grew substantially in 2011, powered by significant increases in trade and exports. In 2011 South African exports to China grew the most – at 46% – while exports to India grew by 20%, to Brazil by 14%, and to Russia by 7%. In line with the President’s State of the Nation Address, BRICS countries are also investing heavily in infrastructure and plan to spend USD4, 5 trillion over the next five years. South Africa can therefore leverage support from BRICS countries for our own infrastructure development programme. Our membership of the BRICS has expanded the group’s geographic and intercontinental reach, including its global representivity and inclusiveness. South Africa’s national interests are closely linked to the interests of our fellow African states. Our BRICS membership bears direct benefits for Africa. Indeed, in the short period within which it has existed, BRICS has and continues to contribute to Africa’s economic emergence, thereby elevating the continent’s global stature. Africa’s relevance to the BRICS will be highlighted later this month here in Durban when the BRICS Leaders, for the first time since BRICS was formed, interact directly with African leaders in what we term the “BRICS Leaders-Africa Dialogue Forum”, which is scheduled after the Summit, on 27 March 2013. At the last BRICS Summit in New Delhi, India, the BRICS Leaders reiterated the highest importance attached to economic growth that supports development and stability in Africa. The Leaders undertook support Africa’s efforts to accelerate the diversification and modernisation of its economies. This support would be directed at infrastructure development, knowledge exchange and support for increased access to technology, enhanced capacity-building and investment in human capital, including within the framework of NEPAD. Members of the media, The outcomes of the 5th BRICS Summit will be captured in what is to become known as the “eThekwini Declaration and Action Plan”. These outcomes include:
- The announcement to launch a BRICS-led new Development Bank;
- the launch of the BRICS Consortium of Think Tanks;
- the launch of the BRICS Business Council; as well as
Regarding our state of readiness to host the Summit, we can indicate that preparations are at an advanced stage, with only a few weeks left before the start of the Summit. We thank the Premier and the city for its remarkable support to ensure an unforgettable Summit. The marketing and branding benefit that the hosting of the Summit by the Province will bring to the country is indeed significant.
We have no doubt that we will host yet another historic and successful Summit in Durban.
On the occasion of the BRICS Summit, the BRICS Member countries will launch the BRICS Business Council. Each BRICS Country will nominate 5 members that are leaders of respective business organisations or sectors that will make up the Business Council. The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr. Rob Davies says that the Council will constitute a platform to strengthen economic ties, trade and investment between the business communities of the five BRICS countries. Minister Davies stated that this will provide technical support, consultative advice and facilitate the implementation of multilateral business projects. According to the Minister, the BRICS Business Council will focus on specific areas. ‘These areas include promotion of trade and industry and business cooperation, technology transfer and development, tapping business opportunities in third countries and multilateral business, advisory role, cooperation in the fields of manufacturing, infrastructure, banking and financial services, green economy, skills development and training and small and medium enterprises,’ said Davies. The Minister added that the Council will have regular dialogue between the business communities and the five BRICS governments. ‘The BRICS Business Council will also constitute sector working groups and will submit an annual report to the BRICS Leaders during the Annual BRICS Summit,’ said the Minister. Within the context of the establishment of the BRICS Business Council, South Africa has nominated the following persons as it representatives: Mr Patrice Motsepe, Chairman, Ms Nomaxabiso Majokweni, Mr Sandile Zungu, Mr Iqbal Surve, Mr Brian Molefe and Stavros Nicolau will serve as an alternate.
The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Ms Elizabeth Thabethe, will lead a delegation of 49 businesspeople to New Delhi and Mumbai to participate in the fourth Investment and Trade Initiative from 4-8 March 2013.
The ITI is an opportunity to advance South Africa’s export and investment agenda in the following sectors: agro-processing, capital equipment, beneficiated metals and mining technology, automotive components and electro-technical. It is also an opportunity to attract foreign direct investment and joint venture partnerships in pharmaceuticals, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), energy, manufacturing and infrastructure. The ITI programme will include a mini-exhibition, trade and investment seminars, business to business meetings and site visits in both cities. “This ITI is part of the commitments made during the State Visit by President Jacob Zuma to India in 2010, where the two governments committed to facilitate direct interaction between businesses of their respective countries. A target of US$15-billion trade between South Africa and India was set to be achieved by 2014. Bilateral trade between South Africa and India has increased significantly over the past six years almost trebling from R16.3 billion in 2007 to R61.65 billion in November 2012. The growth was driven by a major increase in the South African exports to India and South Africa becoming a next exporter to India in 2009, 2010 and 2012,” said Thabethe. The ITI builds on the previous ITI to Mumbai and Chennai in March 2012, which resulted in business interactions for the South African companies with 600 potential buyers, 144 trade leads generated the appointment of three agents/distributors for the South African companies that participated, and export orders to the value of R28.2 million. “South African companies have not adequately exploited the opportunities presented by the Indian market of 1.2 billion people.India’s economic growth remains impressive and as India’s economy continues to grow, so too will its demand for South African manufactured products and services. Trade and investment opportunities in India and South Africa for companies from both countries are unlimited,” added Thabethe. India is one of South Africa’s key trading partners and a partner in multilateral fora such as IBSA (India, Brazil, South Africa), G-20, and BRICS. As at November 2012, India was ranked South Africa’s 5th largest export market globally and the 3rd largest export market in Asia after China and Japan. India is also a key partner to South Africa in advancing South-South interests.
Members of the Media are invited to be accredited to the fifth BRICS Summit, which will be hosted at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, on 26 and 27 March 2013. BRICS is a grouping of some of the world’s most influential emerging economies.
Those wishing to cover the Summit must submit the following:
- full names
- passport number
- name of media house
- contact numbers
- email address
Please note that this is strictly for media practitioners in the following categories:
The Summit is NOT open to participation by members of the public and/or interested observers.
The closing date to apply for accreditation is 28 February 2013. Late applications will not be accepted.
Please send the above the details to:
Mr. Curtis Singo: SingoC@dirco.gov.za and Ms Takalani Sithi: Takalani@gcis.gov.za
For more information on the fifth BRICS Summit, please visit http://www.brics5.co.za
General Enquiries: Mr. Nelson Kgwete, +27-12-3511105 / +27-764313078
Visa Enquiries, please visit http://www.vfsglobal.com/southafrica/india