The fifth BRICS summit opened in Durban, South Africa, Tuesday night with President Jacob Zuma hosting a banquet for his counterparts of the five-member grouping and African heads of state and government at the special invitation.
The theme of the summit is: BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Development, Integration and Industrialization.
Chairpersons of all African regional economic blocs and the New Partnership for African Development are expected to participate in the BRICS leaders-Africa Dialogue Forum on Wednesday under the auspices of the African Union, amid greater recognition of and greater interaction with regional institutions on the continent.
They will join Zuma and Presidents Dilma Roussef of Brazil, Vladmir Putin of Russia and Xi Jinping of China and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India.
Among other things, BRICS leaders will endorse an agreement by their finance ministers to establish a BRICS development bank, which will finance infrastructural development within the five emerging economies. If it expands to include other nations, it will provide an alternative source of funding from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.
The summit is expected to assert BRICS as a growing but already influential force in global economics, governance, peace and security, which it will tackle in the face of political problems in countries like Syria, which has since asked BRICS to assist find a political solution.
Earlier on Tuesday, businesspeople from BRICS nations held a Business Forum and came up with recommendations which they will present to their leaders during a breakfast session on Wednesday.
Two agreements between China and Brazil and 10 between South Africa and Russia were signed Tuesday.
The first between China and Brazil were a Memorandum of Understanding on Bilateral Cooperation in Macroeconomic, Fiscal and Financial Policies and the second one was a currency swap agreement to broaden access to financial resources between the two countries whenever the need arises.
One of the agreements South Africa and Russia signed enables the former to service hundreds of Russian-made helicopters operating in sub-Saharan Africa at a facility in Johannesburg run by state-owned Denel Aviation Company.
The service center will also train helicopter technicians and pilots, thus helping increase helicopter engineering talent in Africa.
Other agreements were on air safety, education, arts and culture, fishing, mining, transport, energy and science and technology.
The deal was a result of deepening Russia-South Africa relations in the context of their membership in BRICS.
The summit ends Wednesday with the signing of agreements on green economy cooperation co-financing and on infrastructure co- financing for Africa, the launch of a BRICS Business Council and the announcement of the declaration on the establishment of the BRICS Think-Tanks Council that was signed on March 11.
(CNTV.cn, Xinhua News Agency March 26, 2013)