South Africa president hails his country’s membership of BRICS
South Africa president Cyril Ramaphosa (Photo by PAVEL GOLOVKIN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
LEADERS of the member states of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) are set to meet at the 14th summit of the grouping in Beijing on June 23. All of them were looking forward to the occasion, including South African president Cyril Ramaphosa, who said the five-nation bloc could support a sustained and equitable global recovery through reforming the multilateral system and refocusing the global community’s attention and resources on the sustainable development agenda.
In his weekly newsletter, Ramaphosa said, “Later this week, I will join the leaders of China, Brazil, Russia and India at the 14th BRICS Leaders’ Summit, which will be hosted virtually by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
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The value of South Africa’s membership of BRICS has grown substantially since we joined this group of emerging economies 12 years ago. As we work to rebuild our country in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, there is much to be gained from our participation in BRICS and the relationships we have established with other member countries.”
He said the BRICS nations at the outset had identified the strengthening of economic and financial ties as one of its key pillars of cooperation.
“The countries have adopted the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership to increase access to each other’s markets, promote mutual trade and investment and create a business-friendly environment for investors in all BRICS countries. An important part of this strategy, particularly for South Africa, is to diversify trade so that more manufactured goods, rather than raw commodities, are traded,” Ramaphosa said.
“Last year, over 17% of South Africa’s exports were destined for other BRICS countries, while over 29% of our total imports came from these countries. These countries are therefore significant trading partners, and the value of this trade is continuing to grow. Total South African trade with other BRICS countries reached R702 billion in 2021 up from R487 billion in 2017,” he added.
The South African president also said that besides engagements between the governments, the BRICS Business Council and the BRICS Women’s Business Alliance are building ties between the member countries’ respective business communities.
They are also looking at development sectors, such as agribusiness, aviation, energy, manufacturing, etc., besides bettering regulatory environments and development skills, Ramaphosa added.
Prior to South Africa’s joining the bloc in December 2010, the bloc had four members and was called the BRIC.