Johannesburg: South Africa on Tuesday indicted that it was ready to host a planned development bank for the BRICS grouping of five emerging economies, including India.

"I cannot say if South Africa will be chosen as the site of this institution, but I can indicate that South Africa will be prepared to host such a bank," Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Ebrahim Ebrahim said.

Officials from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa are working on feasibility studies for the creation of a BRICS bank expected to mobilise resources for infrastructural development projects in developing nations.

"I will discuss South Africa's readiness with my Indian counterpart," Ebrahim said as he indicated that preparations were well under way to host the 5th BRICS Summit in March next year.

He was speaking before leaving for India with a delegation of senior officials from various ministries. The delegation will attend the 12th Meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC) in India over the next five days.

Ebrahim is accompanied by officials from his department as well as the Departments of Tourism, Transport and Higher Education in South Africa.

South Africa is one of the founding member states of IOR-ARC. The association was launched in Mauritius in March 1997 and currently has 19 Indian Ocean Rim Association Member States.

Ebrahim explained that the objective of IOR is to, among other things, promote the sustained growth and balanced development of the region and of the member states and to create common ground for regional economic cooperation.

This also includes formulating and implementing projects for economic cooperation relating to trade facilitation and liberation, promotion of foreign investment, academic, scientific and technological exchanges, tourism and the development of infrastructure and human resources.

"The forthcoming meeting of the Council of Ministers will see India completing its first year as chair of the IOR-ARC," Ebrahim said.


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