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South Africa to give continent voice at BRICS

Updated: 2011-04-11 08:04
By Ai Yang and Qin Jize ( China Daily)

South Africa to give continent voice at BRICS

Bheki Langa, South Africa's ambassador to China, poses for a photograph during an exclusive interview to China Daily, in Beijing, April 10, 2011. [Photo/China Daily]

BEIJING - South Africa will raise issues concerning the African continent through new platforms such as the BRICS, said a senior diplomat from the country.

"It goes without saying that since our foreign policy priority is the African continent we are uniquely placed to bring the African perspective to the many global forums in which we participate," said Bheki Langa, South Africa's ambassador to China.

Langa gave an exclusive interview to China Daily prior to the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) summit, which will be held in the southern Chinese resort city of Sanya on Wednesday and Thursday.

The ambassador said that South Africa's participation in BRICS would mean "an entire continent that has a population of over 1 billion is represented".

Last year, South African President Jacob Zuma paid visits to all four BRIC nations and his country joined the group at the end of 2010.

Langa said South Africa regards the upcoming summit as a learning opportunity.

"There is a lot of work ahead of us, but we are ready to make our contribution in support of the African Agenda and the Agenda of the South to ensure a more balanced and equitable world order," the ambassador said.

According to a recent report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the main contribution to the economic growth of developing countries comes from Brazil, Russia, India and China.

The IMF analysts also said that those countries make a greater contribution to the development of poorer nations than the United States, Europe and other developed economies. Brasilia, Moscow, New Delhi and Beijing are intensively building relations with the countries of Africa, Asia and South America, according to the Voice of Russia (VOR).

However, the South African ambassador stressed that BRICS should not be restricted to economic ties.

"BRICS is a political voice for emerging markets whilst it is currently the premier platform for the world's most influential emerging economies with an economic agenda, it is not an economic bloc," Langa said.

Along with its significant economic influence, the ambassador said "political unity of purpose" is the BRICS' strength". "A new world order is unfolding where economic clout and thus political power is shifting from West to East, with the BRICS countries as the visible face of this movement," he added.

VOR quoted experts as saying that Brazil, Russia, India and China "do not try to enforce their political values in underdeveloped countries and build relations on the basis of mutually advantageous partnership".

This is how the new centers of influence are being formed, Andrei Suzdaltsev, a professor with the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, was quoted as saying.

South Africa's membership will "provide an ideal platform for South Africa to further champion its stance on the necessity of the reform of the UNSC (United Nations Security Council) and other related bodies", the ambassador said.