The development bank planned by BRICS member states could help SA fast-track its multibillion-rand infrastructure programme, Nomaxabiso Majokweni, Business Unity SA (Busa) CEO, told an African National Congress business forum on Monday.
"An immediate benefit for SA will be a massive injection in our infrastructure development plan, which could help government to meet some of its very ambitious growth targets," Majokweni said.
It is hoped the bank will be launched in 2013, which would coincide with SA’s hosting of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and SA) summit.
Busa said once operational, the bank would translate the political vision of a new world order into practical action.
"The BRICS bank will promote growth and investment in its member states and other emerging markets, and will be a strong voice in the lobbying for the reform of international financial institutions," Majokweni said.
SA had the ability to double its trade with Brazil, Russia, India, and China to US$500-billion by 2015, but only if barriers to trade and investment within the bloc were addressed by business and government.
"The balancing act is to ease business transactions while protecting the interests of industry and manufacturing. We are not seeking preferential or free trade agreements. Rather, we should be driving for more transparency from our partners, especially on tariff schedules and hidden internal taxes," she said.
Other barriers Busa highlighted included what it called onerous labelling requirements and sanitary provisions.
"SA should lobby for a permanent business structure that can help to simplify, clarify and overcome these trading obstacles. We have to bring down the cost and complexity of doing business in the BRICS countries."
Majokweni told the forum that while SA was the smallest of the BRICS bloc, it had a noteworthy "asset" in the transparency of its corporate world and the strong international reputation of its financial sector.
The World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2011 placed SA sixth in the world for bank soundness, and first for regulation of securities exchanges.
"I think it’s important to emphasise this strength, so that we can safeguard this valuable asset and continue SA’s excellent legacy," Majokweni said.