New Delhi April 28 :
South Africa is keen to host the proposed BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) Development Bank and is lobbying for it with other members of the grouping, South Africa’s envoy here said.
“We are lobbying our friends and allies from India, of course accepting India’s right to host the bank, that India should reconsider its position and support that of South Africa for hosting the bank,” South Africa’s High Commissioner to India, France Morule, said Sunday at South Africa’s National Day celebrations here.
“President Jacob Zuma has written to all other BRICS heads of states, indicating South Africa’s wish to host the bank. This position has the full backing of the African Union,” the envoy added.
Morule recalled the eThekwini Declaration of the 5th BRICS Summit held in Durban last year with the theme of ‘BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Development, Integration and Industrialisation’, which includes plans for a BRICS Development Bank.
He said President Zuma hosted the BRICS and African leaders dialogue on the margins of the Durban summit under the theme ‘Unlocking Africa’s potential: BRICS and Africa Cooperation on Infrastructurea’, and the BRICS pledged its support for infrastructure development in Africa.
The forum participants included, apart from the BRICS leaders, the chairpersons of the African Union (AU) and the AU Commission, African leaders representing eight Regional Economic Communities (RECs), as well as the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Presidential Infrastructure Championing Initiative (PICI).
Speaking on the occasion, the first National Day celebrations since the passing away of former president Nelson Mandela, India’s Commerce Minister Anand Sharma said: “While Mahatma Gandhi, for whom we owe a debt of gratitude to South Africa, dominated the intellectual and moral landscape of the first half of the 20th century, the second half belongs to none other than Nelson Mandela.”
Vikramjit Singh Sahney, president of Sun Group, which is working in Africa, announced that plans were afoot to install a statue of Nelson Mandela at a major thoroughfare in the capital named after him.
A volume of photographs and illustrations titled ‘Expressions of Freedom – A Tribute to Nelson Mandela’ brought out by INDIAFRICA: A Shared Future, a project supported by India’s external affairs ministry, was released on the occasion.