President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Thursday that South Africa will continue to expand trade and investment opportunities with global trade partners to attract investment and financing.
According to the President, who was delivering his State of the Nation Address (SONA), this will be done through participation in multilateral forums such as the G20, or Group of Twenty, which will be hosted in the country in 2025.
The G20 comprises 19 countries and the European Union, with members representing about 85% of the global gross domestic product (GDP) and over 75% of the global trade, and about two-thirds of the world population.
“This year South Africa assumes the Chairship of the BRICS group of countries,” the President said in his address.
The focus will be on collaboration on sustainable development, the Just Energy Transition, industrialisation and the implementation of the (African Continental Free Trade Area) AfCFTA.
In addition, South Africa, together with its neighbours in the Southern African Customs Union, will soon finalise the industrial offer on the AfCFTA.
“Once fully operationalised, the Continental Free Trade will provide an unprecedented opportunity to deepen African economic integration, grow national economies, and open up new frontiers and markets for South African companies,” President Ramaphosa said.
The AfCFTA, which was conceptualised in 2012 to enhance trade integration on the continent, aims to achieve sustainable and inclusive socio-economic development, gender equality and structural transformations within member states.
The goal is to also enhance competitiveness within Africa and in the global market and see industrial development through diversification and regional value chain development, agricultural development and food security and resolve challenges of multiple and overlapping memberships.
“Just as we are committed to improving the fortunes of our countrymen and women and to advancing shared prosperity for all, so too is our commitment to achieving a better Africa and a better world.”
In addition, the President said he was “greatly concerned” at the recent escalation of tensions between Israelis and Palestinians.
He called for an end to hostilities and a resumption of the stalled peace process.
President Ramaphosa also used the opportunity to express the country’s deepest condolences to the government and people of Turkey, following the devastating earthquake earlier this week which has claimed over 20 000 lives.
“As a country, we are immensely proud of the efforts of Gift of the Givers to help those affected by the earthquake.”
Also, he said South Africa remained “deeply concerned” about the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict and urged all parties to cease hostilities and seek a peaceful solution through dialogue.
“South Africa’s fortunes are inextricably linked to those of our continent and the Southern African Development Community in particular,” he explained.
“For the sake of our own stability and prosperity, we are duty-bound to pursue interventions that will bring peace, stability and development in our continent.” – SAnews.gov.za