Brics brings new dynamic to world system – South African minister

The Brics bloc has introduced a new dynamic to the world’s political and economic systems, International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said on Monday.

“We [Brics] also envision and work to realise a more equitable global political and economic system,” she said at a business breakfast in Johannesburg hosted by The New Age newspaper.

Brics refers to the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa group of large emerging market economies.

South Africa joined Brics to advance the country’s national interests, and promote regional integration and continental development.

Nkoana-Mashabane said Brics allowed South Africa to partner with key global players to advance international governance and reforms.

Brics, with 43 percent of the global population, contributed 20 to 25 percent of global GDP, and 11 percent of annual foreign direct investment in 2012.

Regarding petrol tariffs, the minister said South Africa was not insulated from the changes in the global oil price, controls and speculation that occurred in the market.

The government had taken steps since 1994 to diversify South Africa’s imported oil supply, importing from African countries such as Nigeria and Angola. Other African oil suppliers were also being considered as future import options.

The minister said South Africa’s national interests were intricately linked to the interests of the African continent.

“It’s important that we continue to think globally and act locally.”

South Africa had supported United Nations resolution 1973, allowing for the implementation of a no-fly zone over Libya, because the resolution was about protecting the human rights of Libya’s citizens.

Nkoana-Mashabane said the path to resolving the current conflict in Syria lay in a political solution, and not a military one.

For a political solution to be possible, hostilities within the country must be suspended, she said.

She agreed with the assessment, with disagreements over Syria being an example, that the United Nations Security Council needed to be reformed. – Sapa