Brics summit to deepen ties between member states - Zuma

President Jacob Zuma takes part in a traditional bread and salt ceremony upon his arrival before attending the Brics summit in Ufa, Russia. (Reuters)

President Jacob Zuma takes part in a traditional bread and salt ceremony upon his arrival before attending the Brics summit in Ufa, Russia. (Reuters)

The leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa will learn how far each had come in ratifying the New Development Bank (NDB) agreement that had given birth to the bank on Tuesday.

“It is expected that, during the summit, the leaders will also receive feedback following their meeting on the margins of the G20 summit in Brisbane on November 15 2014, at which they asked their finance ministers to designate the president and vice-presidents of the New Development Bank, in advance of the next summit,” President Jacob Zuma’s office said.

The summit takes place from Thursday to Friday in the southwestern Russian city of Ufa under the theme “Brics Partnership – A Powerful Factor of Global Development”.

A number of meetings are being held in the run-up, some in Moscow, where Brics ministers of trade and industry were holding talks on Wednesday.

The first meeting of the Brics board of governors of the $50-billion NDB in the Russian capital was also held on Wednesday. The board was expected to report to heads of state in Ufa on the steps they had taken to operationalise the bank, which analysts believe could give impetus to African infrastructure projects.

South Africa, the youngest Brics member, joined the bloc in December 2010. It ratified the NDB agreement last month.

The presidency said heads of state had asked their finance ministers and central bank governors to ensure that by the time they begin meeting in Ufa, the $100-billion Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) working group had finalised the rules and operational guidelines of the governing council and standing committee of the CRA, and to conclude an Inter-Central Bank Agreement.

At the close of the Ufa summit they are expected to adopt an action plan that will reflect the views of Brics member states on key international issues and spell out priority areas of co-operation for the rest of the Russian chairmanship of the bloc.

Analysts say Russian President Vladimir Putin sees the new Brics bank as a counterweight to Western dominance of finance institutions, and co-operation between the world’s five biggest emerging economies would take away some of the sting out of Western sanctions imposed on Moscow over the Ukraine crisis.

Zuma was being accompanied by seven Cabinet ministers and had landed in Ufa, the presidency said.

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