Innovation key to thriving in a changing world, says Minister Patel

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Business as usual is no longer an option, and the ability to innovate and adapt in a world characterised by volatility and fractiousness is the key to thriving, says Trade, Industry and Competition Minister, Ebrahim Patel.

"Today, the world is more polarised, climate change is more pressing and the speed of technological innovation is increasing rapidly.

“These trends in turn are reshaping our economies and societies in more profound ways than many could project," Patel said on Tuesday.

The Minister officially opened the BRICS Business Forum as South Africa hosts the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India and China at the 15th BRICS Summit.

The event, which kicked off on Tuesday, will wrap up on Thursday. The summit brings together 1 200 delegates from South Africa, Brazil, Russia, India, China, and several African nations.

Patel used the platform to draw attention to the collective economic might of the BRICS nations, which together account for over a quarter of the world's economic output.

Highlighting South Africa's remarkable achievements in exports, Patel acknowledged the large contingent of exporting firms, noting that South Africa exported goods worth R2 trillion last year, constituting nearly one third of the nation's gross domestic product.

He praised the establishment of significant institutions like the New Development Bank, emphasising the importance of networks for policy exchanges and knowledge-sharing.

He underscored the BRICS countries’ commitment to a worldview founded on the right to develop independently without relying on others.

Acknowledging the transformative power of industrialisation, trade and technological development, Patel hailed the African Continental Free Trade Area, which unites 54 nations and offers a platform to spur African industrialisation and innovation.

He stressed that Africa is no longer just a raw material supplier but an “emerging force of innovation and industrialisation in the global arena”.

He called on the BRICS Business Forum to explore how companies and firms in BRICS economies can grow and prosper through collaboration and partnership.

He urged investment and trade practices that support the industrialisation and welfare enhancement of developing nations.

This forum meeting, Patel said, provides the framework for forging valuable business-to-business partnerships and contributing to the world's shared prosperity.

Notable figures such as Dilma Rousseff, the President of the New Development Bank; Fernando Haddad, the Minister of Finance of Brazil; Mozambican Industry and Commerce Minister Silvino Augusto José Moreno, and the leaders of the respective BRICS Business Council Chapters attended the meeting. –