BRICS: What South Africa benefits from the bloc? The Black Business Council explains

Chinese President Xi Jinping, President Cyril Ramaphosa and Russian President Vladimir Putin, during a previous BRICS Summit at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg. File Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)

Chinese President Xi Jinping, President Cyril Ramaphosa and Russian President Vladimir Putin, during a previous BRICS Summit at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg. File Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Aug 21, 2023


As South Africa readies to host the highly-anticipated BRICS 15th summit bringing several heads of state and governments to Joburg, the Black Business Council said the spin-offs from the gathering will be multiple.

Heads of State and senior government delegations from the trailblazing BRICS bloc of emerging economies, comprising of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa will be meeting in Joburg, and joined by around 40 other nations which intend to join the bloc.

The 15th BRICS summit will be hosted at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg from Tuesday to Thursday this week, under the theme: “BRICS and Africa: Partnership for mutually accelerated growth, sustainable development, and inclusive multilateralism”.

On the sidelines of the summit, on Tuesday President Cyril Ramaphosa will host Chinese President Xi Jinping on a State Visit at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

President Cyril Ramaphosa with President of China Xi Jinping at the Union Buildings during a previous State Visit. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

Speaking to broadcaster Newzroom Afrika, Kganki Matabane, chief executive officer of the Black Business Council said the almost 40 countries which want to join BRICS realise that power is shift from the traditional Western hegemony.

He said South Africa is in a privileged position where it reaps benefits from trading with the Western nations, and is also a critical part of the BRICS emerging economies led by China, which has been South Africa’s biggest trading partner for more than a decade.

“South is fortunate to be in good terms with the West and also finding itself in this position where it is part of 40 percent of the global population (the BRICS nations) which is very good for business. It tells you that South Africa is part of the market. When we look at 40 percent of the global market being BRICS that is huge from a business point of view,” said Matabane.

“Also, when we look at the economic point of view, BRICS makes a quarter of the global economy. That is economic power. That is very significant. It helps us to be in institutions like Agoa where we are able to do business with the US and other countries in the West, but we are also doing business with other countries in the East like China,” he said.

“China is our biggest trading partner. There is a lot of South African companies - small and medium, black businesses that are exhibiting to business people that are coming from BRICS countries. That is an opportunity for collaboration.”

President Cyril Ramaphosa. File Picture: Presidency

On Sunday night, IOL reported that President Cyril Ramaphosa stressed the importance of playing good hosts to the mass influx of visitors over this week as a number of political and business delegates arrive in the country to attend the 15th BRICS summit,

In a nationally televised address to the nation, Ramaphosa reminded South Africans that the foreign relations the country sought would increase collaboration, secure greater trade opportunities and increased investment, and would result in working closely with partners across the globe to entrench peace and democracy.

“Through stronger relations with other countries, manifested through investment and trade relations, we can grow our economy, create more opportunities for new businesses and create jobs,” he said.

South Africa’s foreign policy aimed to promote the country’s national interest based on the protection and promotion of our national sovereignty and constitutional order.

It is also aimed at improving the well-being, safety and prosperity of its citizens, and the achievement of a better Africa and world.

“The key pillars of our foreign policy include the promotion of human rights, peace and stability and the strengthening of trade and investment ties with other countries,” he said.

Ramaphosa said that South Africa’s foreign policy stance it had taken since the advent of democracy had positioned South Africa as a reliable and influential partner on the continent and in the world.

This, he said, had enabled the country to have friendly and valuable relations with countries around the world at political, diplomatic, trade, investment, sporting, social and many other levels.

It was these principles that guided South Africa’s participation in BRICS, he said.

Together, the members of BRICS make up a quarter of the global economy, they account for a fifth of global trade and are home to more than 40 percent of the world’s population.

Ramaphosa said BRICS as a formation played an important role in the world due to its economic power, market potential, political influence and development cooperation.

He said being a BRICS member had created positive opportunities for South Africa and had further enabled the country to have a strategic relationship with China.

Based on this strategic relationship between South Africa and the People’s Republic of China, the two heads of state would sign several agreements during Xi’s State visit on Tuesday in Pretoria.