The BRICS Business Forum kicked off on Tuesday, in Sandton, Johannesburg, together with delegates from the different countries meeting to discuss ways to increase collaboration.
In a panel discussion titled “Collaboration and Cooperation: Unlocking BRICS Trade and Investment Opportunities”, each of the representatives spoke about what they wish the economic bloc should focus on.
Busi Mabuza, chairperson of the BRICS Business Council in South Africa, said the opportunities ahead for the group are much bigger, which makes the conversations taking place within the three days of the conference crucial.
“I was looking at the statistics, and in 2000, the BRIC nations accounted for seven percent of global trade. Now with South Africa, BRICS accounts for close to 30%. Intra-BRICS trade has grown by an average of seven percent over the past 10 years,” said Mabuza.
“These are very compelling numbers. However, for me, the even more important success of the BRICS formation has been that we have now created a model for the world that moves us away from a restrictive approach in terms of economic engagement towards a collaborative one,” she said.
Her Brazilian contemporary, Jose Serrador commented on how trade can be increased within the economic bloc. He said that the BRICS Business Council is strong and that profound work has been done so far.
“We have promoted trade relations within the group as well as investment. This is part of the task that we undertook to bring us where we are. We have adopted a trade and investment statement which is a plan of action for the next 10 years,” said Serrador.
Sergey Katyrin, chair of the Russian Chapter of the BRICS Business Council, said 10 years ago he had never thought he would meet individuals from different parts of the planet and form such strong bonds that have the opportunity to change the global economy.
“Opportunities like this where we meet in person, look each other eye-to-eye strengthen our ties ... When it comes to the economy, we hope to reach 50% of the global GDP by 2050 and that would be a completely different picture on the global scene,” Katyrin added.