Johannesburg: South Africa and other BRICS members should prioritize the development of small and medium enterprises as a way of quick job creation to benefit communities and people, an Indian diplomat said here.

"There is nothing more effective than the smaller and medium enterprises when it comes to job creation. Small businesses generate effective and real economic empowerment," said India's High Commissioner to South Africa Virendra Gupta.

"At one time, particular items could only be made by medium and smaller enterprises with large industries prohibited from entering certain sectors. The government nursed these businesses by giving them support in marketing, funding as well as aiding their technological needs," a news agency quoted Gupta as saying Tuesday.

BRICS grouping comprises Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The Indian diplomat said his country has been able to reap massively from the resources spent on developing small and medium businesses.

"Small and medium enterprises today contribute close to 50 percent of our industrial output and between 50 and 60 percent of our exports. They also contribute a great deal to our gross domestic product as well as to the industrial and manufacturing activities," he said.

The high commissioner said his country is ready to share its experiences with other BRICS members in terms of the kind of industries suited to small and medium enterprises and the required policy framework. Gupta hailed the economic and social cooperation between India and South Africa. He said:

"Despite the economic down-turn which is affecting all countries including India, South Africa and other BRICS countries, India and South Africa economic exchanges have seen very robust expansion." He revealed that tourism between the two countries has increased by nearly 20 percent, and added that social cooperation has also followed the historic route characterised by strong cultural exchanges enhanced by a large presence of the Indian community in South Africa.

"I can't think of any other two countries that enjoy the kind of a special relationship that exists between India and South Africa. We are constantly striving to promote a better and more comprehensive relationship," the high commissioner added.

He said India is sourcing large amounts of coal from South Africa while providing high quality but cheaper and more competitive pharmaceuticals to South Africa.

Gupta said that nearly 70 Indian companies will take part in this year's South African international trade exhibition, which will take place near Johannesburg July 15-17.

The Indian diplomat hoped the exhibition will improve its trade relations with South Africa and other fellow BRICS members, especially in the area of small and medium enterprises.


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