South Africa is committed to the Brics bloc of leading emerging economies and hopes being a member helps address the country’s various challenges, a senior official said on Thursday.

Addressing a seminar here on Thursday, Dave Malcomson, chief director at South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation, said the country was satisfied with the progress achieved by the bloc and wanted to continue using it to address the country’s triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality.

According to Xinhua news agency, Malcomson said Brics will assist the industrialisation process in South Africa and the whole African continent by supporting infrastructure, investment facilitation and an upgrade of the manufacturing sector.

“We want to use Brics to promote South South cooperation, change global architecture, respond to global challenges and bring about peace in the world,” he said.

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Noting that Brics members — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — have coordinated and cooperated in multilateral global bodies over major global issues such as climate change, Malcomson said the bloc will always remain relevant to global affairs.

South African experts also said on Thursday that Brics was relevant to tackling various local and global challenges.

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Institute for Global Dialogue (IGD) Executive Director Philani Mthembu said that for the Brics to be sustainable, it has to expand beyond the economic sphere to include exchanges between think tanks, businesses and people-to-people communication.

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“Brics will remain relevant and will not fizzle out. The onus is on us to sustain the relationship. The government has laid the foundation and it’s an opportunity for us to capitalize on this strategic relationship… Let us not be distracted by many interpretations from the North,” said Mthembu.

China will host the 2017 Brics Summit in September as the current chair. The bloc will discuss global economic growth, promote cooperation and development.

Ashraf Patel, a researcher with South African Brics Think Tank, said there were potential beneficiaries in the New development Bank, a multilateral development bank established by the Brics members, since Breton Wood Institutions like the World Bank and the IMF “were operating like merchant banks and did not serve the purpose they were established for”.