Stage set for BRICS Business Forum

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

The stage is set for the first session of the 10th BRICS Summit with the BRICS Business Forum commencing at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

Shortly before 9am, delegates of the Forum gathered inside Exhibition Hall 1, waiting for the Forum to kick off.

The business forum comprises delegates from the BRICS [Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa] bloc.

Security around and inside the Convention Centre was tight on Wednesday, the first day of the three-day Summit.

South Africa’s Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies and his Deputy Bulelani Magwanishe will make remarks at the opening session of the Forum.

Chairperson of the BRICS Business Council, Dr Iqbal Surve, will also deliver a speech followed by four thematic sessions that cover various topics.

The Heads of State of the BRICS countries - namely Brazilian President Michel Temer, Russian President Vladimir Putin, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chinese President Xi Jinping, as well as President Cyril Ramaphosa are expected to preside over the afternoon session of the Business Forum.

Delegates at the forum comprise captains of industry, heads of state-owned entities and government leaders, who will deliberate on strategic economic matters affecting the future of BRICS. 

“In line with the BRICS Summit theme, BRICS in Africa: Collaboration for Inclusive Growth and Shared Prosperity in the 4th Industrial Revolution, the Business Forum will deliberate on the current global political economy and its implications for BRICS member countries. The implications of the 4th Industrial Revolution on inclusive growth and transformation, facilitating intra-BRICS trade, as well as fostering BRIC-Africa partnerships will also be discussed,” said Davies ahead of the Summit.

The Minister added that the business forum will provide a platform to showcase the economic prowess of the African continent with a particular focus on advanced manufacturing, energy, technology, rail, aviation, information and communication technology, financial services and beneficiation (agro-processing and mining).

The forum is also expected to enhance the flow of foreign direct investments from the BRICS bloc into the continent.

“The Business Forum will also offer an opportunity to facilitate the creation of manufacturing value-chains on the African continent, to stimulate dialogue on the utilisation of financing packages offered by the New Development Bank, and to promote synergies with development finance institutions on the continent.

“The Business Forum is also important because it will create opportunities for partnerships between African and BRICS companies as well as develop concrete measures to address the deficiencies within productive sectors impeding the optimal development of the continent,” said Davies.

The Business Forum was preceded a day before by the Chinese President’s State Visit on Tuesday in Pretoria.

Total trade between South Africa and China has experienced an upward trajectory since 2009, growing from R118 billion to R271 billion by the end of 2013. -