South Africa launches road show to promote BRICS summit

2013-02-23 17:36:25 GMT2013-02-24 01:36:25(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

JOHANNESBURG, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) -- As part of their preparations to host the BRICS Summit next month, the South African government on Saturday launched a road show to educate its citizens about the importance of the summit and the country's BRICS membership.

South Africa's BRICS membership will assist the country to address their challenges, Minister of Science and Technology Derek Hanekom said at the launch in Johannesburg.

"BRICS membership is not an event but a movement. They are long term achievements and not things which have to be achieved overnight. The membership will help us as a country to address unemployment, poverty and inequality."

It will also assist the country in meeting the Millennium Development Goals, Hanekom said.

South Africa will host the 5th BRICS Summit in Durban on March 26 and 27. BRICS is an economic bloc representing five of the world's leading emerging economies, namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

The government has organized similar road shows in all the other provinces to promote the BRICS Summit.

Hanekom said the BRICS countries are also trying to do good to humanity and improve governance and it is imperative for South Africa to be part of shaping global development.

"The BRICS Summit will allow member states to review progress, achievements and challenges. They will provide guidelines to build a better world. Just like the World Cup it gives the country pride to host such an event."

Nomvula Makonyane, the premier of Gauteng province, said the friendship with BRICS countries have assisted the countries in various sectors like renewable energy and employment creation.

"We joined BRICS in the best interest of the country and we continue to engage one another to empower each other," Makonyane said. "We are learning how countries like China managed to redress hunger and poverty. We also took our Heads of Departments to China to learn how the China Public Servant Management operates. They learnt how to put the people first and be patriotic servants. We have learnt a lot from China like working 24 hours a day to finish the construction in time."

South Africans have benefited a lot from the skills of the Chinese people in various sectors like information and technology, she added.

She noted that South Africa has also learnt how to run small scale business from Brazil.

The Director-General in the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, Jerry Matjila, stated that the public education about BRICS is an attempt to make them understand the rationale of joining BRICS.

"We want to take the people along with us in this BRICS movement. We joined BRICS because we wanted to interconnect the markets after interrogating the global shift in economies," Matjila said.

"We had to identify opportunities and take them. We are reconstructing a new world order as BRICS. Already we are a force to be reckoned with if your check our Gross Domestic Products," Matjila said.

Bongani Masuku, an officer for international relations at the Congress of South African Trade Unions, said it's important to strengthen people-to-people relations outside governments.

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