Government, business join hands ahead of BRICS

Friday, July 6, 2018

President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on South African business heavyweights to join government in singing from the same hymn sheet at the upcoming BRICS Summit.

“We would like to see leadership not only being provided by government alone but by the rest of us. We need to speak with one voice and all of us must see ourselves as investment envoys, that duty cannot be left to the four special envoys only,” said President Ramaphosa.

The President made the remarks at the Presidential Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) bloc business roundtable breakfast held at the Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guest House, in Pretoria, on Friday morning.

This, as South Africa gears up to play host for the upcoming 10th BRICS summit from 25 to 27 July 2018, at the Sandton Convention Centre in Gauteng.

Ministers, leaders of business and policy makers engaged on South Africa’s primary pursuits within the BRICS which are aimed at achieving developmental outcomes, ensuring inclusive economic growth; promoting value-added trade among BRICS countries, promoting investment into the productive sectors amongst others.

The Summit will take place under the theme, “BRICS in Africa: Collaboration for Inclusive Growth and Shared Prosperity in the 4th Industrial Revolution”, BRICS members will reflect on the creation of an inclusive society and global partnerships. 

In preparation for the Summit, President Ramaphosa called on the business delegation at the breakfast to reflect and ask the tough questions about the country’s visa-regime and whether it stifles investment. He also asked delegates to interrogate whether the country’s investment promotion was effective.

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies briefed delegates about the country’s state of readiness and the key policy considerations for the BRICS trade and investment agenda.  

Davies said as BRICS members are part of a region, South Africa would use its membership to advance the interests of the continent especially in light of the recent signing of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) agreement.

BRICS Business Council Chairman Iqbal Surve said it was high time that business and government strengthened cooperation, adding that the council will use the summit to push for infrastructure investment into the country.

“It’s time that we speak in one voice. We need to increase access we must start exporting manufactured goods and use the opportunity to skill up our young people. We have put a strong emphasis on the fourth industrial revolution and skills development for technology both in terms of technology transfer and to use technology to expand our trade into BRICS countries.  

“Secondly there is a huge need for infrastructure investment into South Africa and Africa. With the MOU (memorandum of understanding) of the BRICS Business Council and the New Development Bank, we want to make sure that Africa gets its fair share of the investment by the New Development Bank,” said Surve. –