SA to work with BRICS countries to advance African agenda

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Through its chairship, South Africa will work with its BRICS partners to advance the African agenda for growth, development and integration and to advocate for the needs and concerns of the Global South.

President Cyril Ramaphosa echoed these sentiments while updating Parliament on state capability for economic recovery and the fight against crime on Thursday in Cape Town.

The President was responding to a question on what strategic focus areas will South Africa advance during its tenure as chair of BRICS.

South Africa is chairing the BRICS group of countries in 2023 under the theme: “BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Mutually Accelerated Growth, Sustainable Development and Inclusive Multilateralism”.

South Africa will host the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India and China at the 15th BRICS Summit from 22 to 24 August 2023.

The BRICS group brings together some 3.2 billion people. After the United Nations and the Non-Aligned Movement, BRICS is among the largest bloc of countries by total population.

“As part of our strategic intent to further advance the African development agenda within the BRICS  group, we are inviting several other African leaders to the summit.

“One of the priorities during our chairship is to build a partnership between BRICS and Africa to unlock mutually beneficial opportunities for increased trade, investment and infrastructure development.

“We are focusing in particular on opportunities that will generate economic growth on the continent, particularly through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and infrastructure,” the President said.

The President told Members of Parliament that there are great opportunities for BRICS countries to participate in infrastructure development and the AfCFTA by locating production and services activities in the continent and partnering with local companies and entrepreneurs.

Responding to how South Africa will ensure the advancement of the South-South Agenda, President Ramaphosa said that the country’s priorities are responsive to the needs and concerns of the broader global south.

“Another strategic priority is strengthening multilateralism, including working toward real reform of global governance institutions and strengthening the meaningful participation of women in peace processes.

“Our priorities respond to challenges and opportunities that are shared by South Africa and other BRICS members. They are also responsive to the needs and concerns of the broader global South,” he said.

The President shared that one of the founding values of BRICS is the need to restructure the global political, economic and financial architecture to be more equitable, balanced and representative.

He said that BRICS countries agree that the United Nations must remain at the centre of multilateralism and be reformed to make it more effective, inclusive and representative of the global community.

“This includes reform of the UN Security Council to ensure that African countries and other countries of the Global South are properly represented and that their interests are effectively advanced.

“The BRICS relationship extends beyond the governments. Bodies like the BRICS Business Council, BRICS Women’s Business Alliance, BRICS Think Tanks Council and BRICS Civil Forum ensure that the opportunities of this association are explored across society,” President Rmaphosa said.

He added that the relationship seeks to promote people-to-people contact, including among youth formations. Among other things, he said, this person-to-person contact enhances travel and tourism between BRICS countries.

In all, there are some 190 meetings and events taking place during the course of this year. –