Ramaphosa leads delegation to BRICS Summit in Brazil
Pretoria - President Cyril Ramaphosa will lead the South Africa delegation to the 11th BRICS Summit to be held in Brasilia, Brazil on Wednesday and Thursday.
BRICS is an association of five major emerging countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa-, which together represent about 42% of the global population, 23% of GDP, 30% of the territory and 18% of the global trade.
The 11th BRICS Summit is hosted by the Federative Republic of Brazil, as led by President Jair Bolsonaro, as the 2019 BRICS chair and is convened under the theme “BRICS: Economic Growth for an Innovative Future.”
Brazil’s priorities for its 2019 BRICS chairship are innovation, fighting transnational crime, health and promoting trade and investment with a focus on infrastructure development and possible Public Private Partnerships.
Presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko said the summit will be preceded by the BRICS Business Forum where President Ramaphosa and other BRICS leaders will interact with the BRICS Business Council to strengthen dialogue between the BRICS Business Council and BRICS leaders to strengthen and promote economic, trade, business and investment ties amongst the BRICS members.
She said South Africa’s membership of BRICS enables the country to employ additional and powerful tools in its fight to address the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality through increased trade, investment, tourism, capacity building, skills and technology transfers.
“These objectives are further realised through BRICS’ Financial Institutions like the New Development Bank (NDB) and the Africa Regional Centre (ARC). The Johannesburg-based ARC, notably, is playing a catalytic role in providing financial and project preparation support for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in South Africa and Africa.
“At an Institutional Development level, South Africa derives crucial benefits through the Track II institutions such as the BRICS Business Council and the BRICS Think-Tank Council, as well as the creation of the BRICS Inter-Bank Cooperation Mechanism. Furthermore, the establishment in 2016 of the BRICS STI (Science, Technology & Innovation) funding mechanism and framework programme, is an example of the vital support for capacity building, as well as skills and technology transfer,” Diko said.
She said the objective of the President’s engagement in the BRICS Summit is to contribute to the future direction of BRICS, to strengthen intra-BRICS relations and mutually beneficial cooperation across the four pillars of cooperation, particularly in intra-BRICS trade and investment, as well as to ensure the ongoing implementation of the outcomes of the 10th BRICS Summit hosted in South Africa in 2018.
The Summit will welcome the adoption of the Terms of Reference and Work Plan for the Advisory Group on the BRICS Partnership on the New Industrial Revolution (PartNIR), which is in line with South Africa’s theme of the BRICS Chairship in 2018, namely “BRICS in Africa: Collaboration for Inclusive Growth and Shared Prosperity in the 4th Industrial Revolution”.
South Africa has made concerted efforts to place the African Continent and the Global South on the agenda of BRICS and to harmonise policies adopted in regional and international fora with those pursued in BRICS, i.e. Africa’s Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
She said the exponential institutional development of BRICS has yielded institutions, including the New Development Bank (NDB), and its’ Africa Regional Centre (ARC) and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA), amongst others, all of which are intended to make tangible and impactful contributions toward the development objectives of South Africa and BRICS.
Diko said Ramaphosa will utilise the opportunity to highlight to BRICS partners South Africa’s priorities for chairing the African Union (AU) in 2020 and the commencement of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area.
Ramaphosa will be accompanied by the First Lady Dr Tshepo Motsepe, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Dr Naledi Pandor, Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni, Minister of Trade and Industry Ebrahim Patel, Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize and Minister of State Security Ayanda Dlodlo.
Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is acting president from Tuesday until Friday.
Deputy President David Mabuza is also on a working visit out of the country.