JOHANNESBURG, March 19 (Xinhua) --- The fifth BRICS summit should focus on finding ways of enhancing relations between BRICS members and the African continent, a South Africa government minister said on Tuesday.
"This will be the first time that the summit takes place on African soil, and it is therefore apt that we will also focus on ways of enhancing relations between BRICS members and the African continent," South African Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said in a statement.
BRICS is an acronym for the world's leading emerging market economies -- namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. South Africa will host the fifth BRICS summit on March 26-27 in Durban. Van Schalkwyk said important issues related to the establishment of a BRICS Development Bank and the launch of a BRICS Business Council to boost trade and investment will be finalized during the summit.
He said the BRICS grouping should not underestimate its collective influence globally.
"As the BRICS bloc, we should not underestimate our collective influence. We represent 43 percent of the world's population and approximately a fifth of global gross domestic product (GDP), and we have combined foreign reserves estimated at 4,4 trillion U. S. dollars," he said. Van Schalkwyk said the summit is an annual meeting where BRICS members will meet to discuss how the group we can build on each other's strengths in advancing mutually beneficial development, and how to restructure the global political, economic and financial architecture into one that is more equitable, balanced and based on multilateralism.
The minister said economic cooperation in the BRICS forum also holds potential for tourism growth and BRICS tourism minister will meet ahead of the summit to discuss ways of "broadening and intensifying our cooperation on tourism issues -- both bilaterally and as BRICS partners."