Leaders from Brazil, Russia, China, India and South Africa are meeting in the South African port city of Durban for a summit of the five emerging economies known as BRICS.
The forum is focusing on plans to establish a joint development bank to rival the World Bank and IMF.
Ahead of the official summit opening, finance ministers from China and Brazil signed an agreement to use their own currencies in bilateral trade. The two countries do tens of billions of dollars in trade each year.
Meanwhile, South African President Jacob Zuma met with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to sign bilateral agreements focusing on trade, tourism, education and social cooperation.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.