BRICS Business Council chairperson Dr Iqbal Survé is seen at the opening of the 10th BRICS Summit at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg. Pictures: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency (ANA)
Johannesburg - Crucial sectors of the economy - including the manufacturing sector - will significantly benefit from a more than $14billion investment in the economy by the Chinese government.

This was the commitment made by Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies after Energy Minister Jeff Radebe told delegates at the BRICS Summit - which got underway in Sandton on Wednesday - that his portfolio wanted a quarter of the Chinese investment to be set aside for energy projects in the country.

Responding at a media briefing, Davies said all crucial sectors of the South African economy would benefit from this investment, particularly manufacturing and infrastructure development.

He also announced that the television and household appliance manufacturer Hisense was expanding its investment in South Africa, which was considered the second best-performing Hisense branch outside of China.

Davies emphasised the need for all five BRICS countries to work towards investment-led trade to produce industrial products.

“This is what we do in Africa to produce a regional value chain in the Southern African Development Community and the continent at large."

He also expressed concern over the current trade war, which was affecting South African industry, especially the export of steel.

Davies added that the trade war was impacting other African countries as well, but that their partnership with some of the BRICS countries had allowed them to raise their concerns with the G20 countries and at the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

BRICS Business Council chairperson Dr Iqbal Survé came out in support of the South African government to protect the investment interests of its citizens.

“It is a fact that restrictive trade barriers kill business. Whether complex visa systems, digital infrastructure restrictions or laborious payment systems, barriers kill business.

"They are harmful to our citizens," he said.

“The promise of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which is incorporated into the theme of our BRICS rotating presidency, will thrive in more open societies and open economies.

“BRICS represents a movement that has turned globalisation on its head by contesting the dominant paradigms of global political, economic and financial interaction, and placed a more inclusive framework on the table.

“Let us make that framework work for business,” Survé urged.

He said the Business Council had suggested that consultations among the relevant authorities in the BRICS countries should take place on the following key issues: long-term, multiple-entry visas for bona-fide frequent business travellers, and further simplification of visa procedures among the BRICS countries for short-term tourism and other non-business purposes.

He also mentioned streamlining the procedures of mutual granting by the BRICS countries for each other’s nationals for study and work permits, harmonising professional standards, and mutual recognition of the BRICS countries’ qualification licences;

“It is a tribute to our political principals who have shepherded this global organisation, which represents 41% of the world’s population, into a fighting force," Survé added.

“It is also a tribute to our business community in the BRICS Business Council that we have seen the value in working together and that we have the tough conversations required."

He said his council would today present to the heads of state their working committee report on how the BRICS countries can work together.

Political Bureau