BRICS Summit an important milestone to building cooperation

Friday, September 15, 2017

Cabinet says the recent 9th Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) Summit has set an important milestone towards building stronger solidarity and cooperation among emerging markets.

“The summit sets an important milestone towards building stronger solidarity and cooperation among emerging markets and developing countries to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” said Cabinet in a statement following its fortnightly meeting in Cape Town.

The summit was held in Xiamen, China, from 3 to 5 September 2017 under the theme: “BRICS: Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future”.

In its statement on Thursday, Cabinet said South Africa’s partnership in BRICS is premised on advancing the country’s national interests, promoting regional integration and advocating a more inclusive global governance system.

President Jacob Zuma attended the summit accompanied by several Cabinet Ministers including International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba, State Security Minister David Mahlobo and Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu, among others.

Cabinet said total bilateral trade between South Africa and other BRICS countries amounted to US$29 billion last year.

Meanwhile, South Africa’s biggest export destination within BRICS remains China, followed by India, Brazil and Russia.

“The same pattern is also evident in imports, with China remaining the biggest source of South African imports. Even though South Africa has abundant natural resources, it is critical to implement beneficiation programmes to support our industrialisation policy,” it said.

Cabinet said the adoption of the BRICS Xiamen Declaration and Action Plan highlighted the strong foundation that BRICS has made in terms of establishing institutional mechanisms for tangible cooperation.

“Cabinet is honoured that South Africa is the incoming Chair of BRICS and entrenches its aim at the forefront to build on the BRICS programme of development and prosperity for partner countries, as it prepares to host the 10th BRICS Summit in 2018.”

SA, Russia agreement

Cabinet welcomed the agreement signed between South Africa and Russia at the summit which will yield US$400 million being invested in the development of South Africa’s oil and gas sector.

The country’s national oil company, PetroSA, and the Russian Federation geological exploration company, Rosgeo, have agreed to develop the exploration areas of blocks 9 and 11a off the south coast of South Africa.

“The search for oil and gas resources in South Africa is highly strategic for the country’s energy security.”

South African export markets

Cabinet further congratulated the Department of Trade and Industry in leading a group of 20 South African companies to the World Food Moscow 2017 exhibition. The exhibition is expected to conclude today.

“While promoting South Africa’s agro-processing industry, the participation of these local companies from the agro-processing sector, consolidates and establishes market presence of South Africa in Russia,” said Cabinet.

The companies’ participation in the exhibition was made possible through the department’s Export Marketing and Investment Assistance Scheme. The scheme is instrumental in developing export markets for South African products and services, as well as recruiting new foreign direct investment into the country.

Trade between South Africa and Russia increased significantly from R5 billion in 2012 to almost R8 billion in 2016. Major South African exports include fruits and nuts, manganese ores, beverages, spirits and vinegar, wine, electrical machinery and

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