South African President Jacob Zuma on Thursday hailed the role of BRICS in addressing world issues and for treating the African continent with respect by giving a seat on the exclusive table to his country.
Addressing a BRICS group conference, the South African President said the member-states had arrived at a consensus on a wide range of issues during the summit.
"From the BRICS, we have a grouping that is bringing to a large extent a fresh angle on tackling the matters of the globe. It is indeed pleasing to note that very complex matters were discussed within a short space of time and agreed on these matters," said Zuma.
Zuma added that the presence of South Africa in the BRICS forum was crucial to safeguard the interests of the African continent in the north-south development agenda.
"The participation in BRICS of South Africa is absolutely important, not just for South Africa as a country, but for Africa as a continent. In BRICS, we have a place wherein we feel that Africa is being treated with respect. Its views are treated equally among the partners," said Zuma.
"We reviewed the global economic situation. We discussed ways to finance and promote sustainable development and address the challenges of energy and food security. We had an in-depth discussion on the situation in West Asia. We agreed that a lasting solution to the problems in Syria and Iran can only be found through dialogue. We agreed that the international community should stay engaged in Afghanistan," he added.
Highlighting the need for BRICS to emerge as a stronger regional group, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh echoed the member-states' commitment to promote and strengthen balanced global economic growth and address key geo-political issues such as the turmoil in West Asia.
"We reviewed the global economic situation. We discussed ways to finance and promote sustainable development and address the challenges of energy and food security. We had an in-depth discussion on the situation in West Asia. We agreed that a lasting solution to the problems in Syria and Iran can only be found through dialogue. We agreed that the international community should stay engaged in Afghanistan," said Singh.
Revealing the progress made towards this end, Singh said the BRICS leaders had directed the respective finance ministers to look into the proposal and submit a report on its viability at the next BRICS summit, which will be held in South Africa.
"We are developing the institutional structures for building these relationships. The agreement signed today by development banks of BRICS countries will boost trade among us by offering credit in our local currencies. A suggestion has been made to set up a BRICS Development Bank. We have directed our Finance Ministers to examine the proposal and report back at the next Summit," said Singh.
The BRICS group of emerging world powerhouses-Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa-met at New Delhi to discuss the global economy and closer coordination amongst the member-states along with boosting bilateral trade and political relations.
Chinese President Hu Jintao, Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, Brazilian President Dilma Vana Rousseff, South African President Jacob Zuma and Russian President Medvedev participated in the summit.
The five BRICS nations, which collectively account for nearly half the world's population and a fifth of its economic output, signed an agreement to extend credit facilities in their local currencies, a step aimed at reducing the role of the dollar in trade between them. (ANI)