The leaders of the BRICS group of five leading emerging market economies pledged Thursday to strengthen that bloc's multilateral development bank so it can finance a greater number of projects in Asia, Latin America and Africa.

At the close of a two-day summit in Brasilia, the presidents of Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa and India's prime minister agreed to expand the activities of the New Development Bank and increase the number of member countries.

Putin said cooperation was particularly important in the energy sector and in the renewable and clean energy area in particular.

Ramaphosa asked the other partners in the bloc to help promote a friendlier business environment to ensure economic growth with social inclusion, while also adding that South Africa, mainly a raw material exporter, needs to transition to higher value-added trade.