President Cyril Ramaphosa said South Africa’s membership of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) has grown significantly since the country joined this group of emerging economies 12 years ago. year.
The president made the remarks in the latest edition of his weekly newsletter on Monday. He and other BRICS heads of state will converge virtually for this year’s Leaders’ Summit. Chinese President Xi Jinping will host the event.
He said that as the government struggles to rebuild the country in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, “there is a lot to be gained from our participation in BRICS and the relationships we have built with other member countries”.
From the beginning, he said, the BRICS countries have identified strengthening economic and financial ties as one of the main pillars of their cooperation.
“The countries adopted the BRICS Economic Partnership Strategy to increase access to their respective markets, promote mutual trade and investment, and create a conducive business environment for investors in all BRICS countries. An important part of this strategy, especially for South Africa, is to diversify trade so that more manufactured goods, rather than raw materials, are traded.
Last year, more than 17% of South Africa’s exports went to other BRICS countries, while more than 29% of our total imports came from these countries.
He said that these countries were therefore important trading partners and that the value of this trade continued to grow. South Africa’s total trade with other BRICS countries reached R702 billion in 2021, up from R487 billion in 2017.
“At a time when we are focused on improving the capacity and competitiveness of our economy, these trade links will prove essential to the growth of local industry. There is therefore a direct relationship between, on the one hand, our reforms in energy, telecommunications and transport, our investments in infrastructure and our efforts to reduce bureaucracy, and, on the other hand, the work underway to increase exports to our BRICS partners.
“These reforms are also important to encourage greater investment from BRICS countries in our economy,” he said.
The president said tourism, which has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, is an area with great potential.
“Tourists from other BRICS countries accounted for 65% of all arrivals to South Africa in 2018, and these markets are therefore expected to make an important contribution to the recovery of this sector. It is therefore important that visitors from India and China can now use our new eVisa program to make it easier and cheaper to visit our country,” he said.
As the government mobilizes finance from different sources to fund the country’s ambitious infrastructure construction program, he said he expects the New Development Bank (BRICS Bank) to play an important role. in the provision of financial support and in the preparation of infrastructure and sustainable development projects.
South Africa received R86 billion from the bank to improve service delivery in critical areas.
The bank also demonstrated its flexibility by quickly approving $2 billion for each BRICS member under the COVID-19 emergency loan program.
Alongside commitments between governments, the BRICS Business Council and the BRICS Women’s Business Alliance build bridges between our respective business communities.
“They looked at developing sectors such as agribusiness, aviation, financial services, energy, manufacturing and infrastructure, while improving regulatory environments and developing skills.
“Collaboration among BRICS members in health and in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in particular has placed South Africa in a better position to respond effectively to current and future health emergencies. After several years of planning, the virtual BRICS vaccine research and development center was launched in March,” he said.
The center was to enable BRICS countries to engage in joint research, development and co-production of vaccines. It will also contribute to the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, strengthen health systems, and help our countries respond to future pandemics.
President Ramaphosa said South Africa views the BRICS Vaccine Research and Development Center as a valuable development in the country’s efforts to boost its vaccine manufacturing capacity.
“We will call on our BRICS partners to support the principle that vaccines for Africa must be produced on the continent.”
Earlier this month, BRICS agriculture ministers adopted a BRICS strategy on food security cooperation. This is particularly important as concerns grow around food security in the wake of COVID-19, the conflict in Ukraine and the growing effects of climate change. The strategy aims to maintain sustainable agricultural production, unhindered supply of seeds, fertilizers and other agricultural inputs, access to markets and stable functioning of food value chains.
More broadly, the president said, this week’s summit aims to usher in a new era for more inclusive, sustainable and equitable global development.
“Through reform of the multilateral system, including the United Nations, and by refocusing the attention and resources of the global community on the sustainable development agenda, the BRICS group can support a sustainable and equitable global recovery,” said- he declared. – SAnews.gov.za
SA’s BRICS Membership Has Grown Significantly, Says President
SourceSA’s BRICS Membership Has Grown Significantly, Says President