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Need to build 'South-South cooperation': Anand Sharma

May 6, 2011 - Cape Town

Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma led a high-level business delegation to participate in the 21st meeting of the World Economic Forum on Africa under the theme "From Vision to Action, Africa's Next Chapter".

The meeting held in Cape Town, South Africa, concluded today.

During the forum meeting, Sharma participated in two key sessions on climate change and South-South cooperation along with President Jacob Zuma.

"Sharma while participating in a TV debate with South African Foreign Minister Maite E. Nkoana-Mashabane deliberated on building and deepening South-South relations, which addressed the issues of trade and investment, skills, knowledge and technology transfer, alternative development models and BRICSA," a Commerce and Industry statement said.

The session dealt with the main challenges and opportunities behind deeper South-South interaction and collaboration; economic and political implications of BRICSA for South Africa; and ways to accelerate the South-South trade and investment ties.

Sharma during the debate informed that exports from developing countries now constitute 37 percent of global trade, of which about half relates to south-south trade.

He later emphasized the need for deeper South-South interaction and collaboration which will help in having commonality of approaches on the major issues of international importance including climate change, UN reforms, reform of the international financial system, dealing with the global financial crisis, WTO etc.

Sharma also took this opportunity to hold bilateral meetings with key South African Ministers, including his counterpart, Rob Davies, Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and discussed matters of common interest.

During the visit, he also called on President Zuma and the Speaker of the National Assembly Max Sisulu.

Sharma while highlighting on the India's effort to strengthen mutual cooperation said: "Our Ministerial-level participation in the Forum underlined India's long-standing commitment to partner and share best practices with African countries in their socio-economic development, human resource development and capacity-building."

"The institutional mechanism of the India-Africa Forum Summit meetings has enabled us to further develop mutually beneficial partnerships aimed at the overall progress of the continent," he added.

Over 900 participants from 60 countries, including several African heads of state and government, cabinet ministers, heads of international organizations and captains of industry attended the event which provided a platform for interaction among key stakeholders on how to advance Africa's socio-economic development.

The underlying theme for the meeting focused on how African countries, communities and companies could move the continent forward in view of the unfolding global transformation.


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