President Cyril Ramaphosa speaking during the 10th BRICS summit at the Sandton Conversion Centre, Gauyrng. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)
JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa has said that Brics countries were increasingly recognised as an influential formation in reinforcing the principles of transparency, inclusiveness and compatibility within the multilateral trading system. 

Ramaphosa said Brics had much scope to expand the value of trade among themselves. 

He told the 10th summit of the group that the agreement to establish the African Continental Free Trade Area, which provides access to a market of more than 1 billion people and a combined GDP of more than $3 trillion (R40.12trln), presented opportunities for Brics countries, some of whom had extensive experience in infrastructure development and were leaders in education and skills development. 

“Intra-Brics co-operation has been gaining momentum in areas such as finance, agriculture, trade, combating transnational crime, science and technology, health, education, security and academic dialogue,” Ramaphosa said.

But while trade among the Brics partners had expanded exponentially over the last 10 years, member countries needed to advance to a new level of industrial co-operation, he added. Ramaphosa cited one of the most important achievements of the first decade of Brics as the establishment of the New Development Bank, which filled a critical gap in project funding. 

“Since its formation, the bank has disbursed loans totalling $5.1bn, with approvals amounting to $1.7bn this year alone,” he said. “As we enter the second decade of Brics co-operation, we are determined to expand the bank’s role in economic and social development.” Ramaphosa said as a country that primarily exported commodities to its Brics partners, South Africa supported a shift towards complementary and value-added trade. 

“Linked to the trade agenda, we need to increase investment between Brics countries, particularly in the productive sectors of our economy,” he said.