The South African Chapter of the BRICS Business Council has expressed satisfaction about the work it has done to develop new strategies to improve access to financial services and grow the digital economy among member nations.
This comes as the BRICS Business Council, together with the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, will host a trade fair and sectoral business meetings over the weekend in preparation for the 15th BRICS Summit in Johannesburg.
BRICS Business Council’s Financial Services Working Group chairperson David Jarvis yesterday said South Africa could draw lessons from the financial systems of BRICS partners.
Jarvis said the fact that development finance was used to support the government in the implementation of their policies in Brazil and India, was funding informal businesses, were matters they were considering as proposals that could work in a South African setting.
Jarvis said they have been looking at various mechanisms for cooperation to improve financial services within BRICS countries over the last year, such as SME funding, green financing, access to the reinsurance market, as well as stablecoin.
He said a number of their proposals would be appearing in the annual report of the BRICS Business Council which has been tabled with the government.
“We did do a White Paper on stablecoin which we will be discussing over the weekend. There is a proposal for an SME Fund which we, as South Africa, saw as one of our priorities,” Jarvis said.
“We have tabled that proposal and will form a part of our discussions with the other chapters.
“In terms of reinsurance, we've got a Reinsurance Lekgotla on a Saturday where we'll be looking at how we can access reinsurance markets for the African continent as a whole, not just South Africa.
“So those are some of the areas where we made progress during the year. They'll be captured in the annual report, and we'll be talking about them over the course of the next five, six days.”
Meanwhile, BRICS Business Council 4IR and Digital Economy Working Group chairperson Ziaad Suleman also said South Africa could draw significant lessons from BRICS partners on developing new technologies and advancing skills.
Suleman said a platform like Collective X, which trains the youth on digital skills with the aim of increasing employment, can play a meaningful role in making sure that South Africa becomes a digital economy.
“And when you look at South Africa, South Africa is really in the middle because we're not a third world country and neither are we a first world country. But what's important is that our economy is quite diverse,” Suleman said.
“So when you look at, for example, our financial services sector, like our banks, how we trade, our insurance, we are like the best in the world. In fact, a lot of the time we even dictate what other countries should be doing.
“So in different industries, we are ahead of the curve. In other industries, we are behind the curve. And what's important for us is to cooperate and collaborate in the areas where we need to catch up.
“But what we do need to do is we need to learn from other countries where they've done things well, utilise the knowledge, but make our own decisions.
“That's why the BRICS platform is powerful in collaborating and trading and learning and sharing ideas, because South Africa is very good in a number of aspects which they're learning from,” he said.