Brics summit starts - 26 March 2013

Durban – All eyes will be on Durban this morning as South Africa hosts the much-anticipated fifth Brics summit at the city's International Convention Centre.

Leaders of Brazil, Russia, India and China will join President Jacob Zuma in hammering out far-reaching finance issues for the bloc, including the discussion on the formation of a new development bank in Brics countries and other emerging markets.

Security has been tightened around the venue, with 3 000 law enforcement officers deployed in Durban for the duration of the event.

More than 5 000 delegates are expected to attend the summit, which South Africa hosts for the first time since joining the group of emerging economies in 2010.

Other finance issues will include the role of Brics to partner with Africa to help the continent in its infrastructure development and industrialisation. At the 2011 Brics summit in Sanya, China, leaders pledged their commitment to Africa's industrialisation.

There will also be the launch of the Brics Business Council, which is expected to promote trade within the bloc.

The Brics bank is expected to start with a capital of $50 billion dollars, with each country contributing $10 billion dollars. South Africa's banking system is highly regarded and is seen as among the best in the world - thanks to the sound regulatory and legal framework in the country's financial services sector.

Ahead of the summit, President Zuma had said Brics fitted well with South Africa's National Development Plan, a policy blue print that seeks to create jobs through development, while addressing pverty and inequality.

"Brics fits in well with our NDP objectives of raising employment through faster economic growth, improving the quality of education, skills development and innovation as well as building the capacity of the state to play a developmental, transformative role," said President Zuma.

For Durban, the two-day summit is expected to inject more than R100 million into the local economy.

Observers have said the summit will also give South Africa an opportunity to flex its diplomatic muscle and seal its position within Brics. -

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