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The BRICS Summit’s eight remarkable outcomes for the benefit of Africa

Chinese President Xi Jinping

Chinese President Xi Jinping

Published Jun 29, 2022

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Chen Xiaodong

Five years since the previous BRICS Summit, China has, once again, become the rotating chair presiding over this year’s summit.

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On June 23, President Xi Jinping, President Cyril Ramaphosa and other heads of state of the BRICS countries gathered to steer the BRICS cooperation and build consensus on promoting enduring peace and common development of the world. Among many highlights of the Summit, eight practical outcomes will, in particular, benefit South Africa and bring new opportunities for the development and rejuvenation of the African continent.

First, build a new platform to bridge the vaccine divide. The BRICS Vaccine R&D Centre will be launched to serve as a comprehensive platform for joint R&D and production of vaccines for developing countries. Support will be provided to different countries, especially developing countries, to strengthen their capacity building in the local production of vaccines and other health tools. International institutions and philanthropists are appealed to procure vaccines and booster shots from developing countries, including African countries, to help preserve their vaccine production capacity. This is critical to building the resilience of Africa's health systems and improving their capacity to respond to new variants and future health emergencies, including pandemics.

Second, introduce a new plan to ensure food security. The BRICS reached for the first time a food security cooperation strategy and established a forum on agricultural and rural development, which is a practical action taken by the five countries to stabilise global food production and a positive contribution to global food security governance. The total grain output of BRICS countries accounts for about one-third of the world’s total. To strengthen agricultural cooperation among BRICS countries and promote sustainable agricultural and rural development in our five countries, we will lay a solid foundation for solving world food security issues and ease the possible food crisis in some African countries.

Third, manage new forms of business in the era of the digital economy. The BRICS countries have reached a digital economy partnership framework and put forth a cooperation initiative on the digital transformation of the manufacturing industry. Sub-Saharan Africa is the world's fastest-growing region in terms of the communications industry. South Africa has integrated the digital economy into its national development strategy, and many African governments are actively creating an enabling environment for the development of e-commerce and the digital economy. The BRICS countries and African countries will work hand in hand to embrace the Fourth Industrial Revolution and realise leapfrog development.

Fourth, tap new potential for technological transformation and upgrading. We will establish the BRICS Technology Transfer Center Network, hold the Big Data Forum for Sustainable Development, and establish the BRICS Aerospace Cooperation Mechanism, to expand new frontiers in science and technology cooperation among the five countries and jointly build a science and technology " toolbox" to address the current global risks and challenges. Africa, with its pressing need and huge potential for sustainable development, can work with BRICS countries to make full use of scientific and technological innovation and big data technologies to advance the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and achieve national economic transformation and upgrading and high-quality development.

Fifth, inject more impetus to economic recovery and growth. The BRICS countries have issued a joint statement in support of multilateral trading system and WTO reform, put forward an initiative on strengthening cooperation on supply chains, signed an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation and mutual administrative assistance in customs matters, and launched an initiative on trade, investment and sustainable development. These efforts are to build the BRICS consensus on upholding the multilateral trading system and improving the formulation of international trade rules to create new growth points for promoting world trade facilitation and economic recovery.

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Sixth, launch new initiatives to win the fight against corruption. The BRICS countries will further strengthen anti-corruption capacity building through education and training programs under the BRICS Initiative on Denial of Safe Haven to Corruption and strengthen anti-corruption exchanges and cooperation within multilateral frameworks. The first BRICS ministerial meeting on anti-corruption will be held to deepen practical cooperation among BRICS countries in combating cross-border corruption and recovering fugitives and illicit assets. The establishment of a new global anti-corruption governance system by BRICS countries will lay a solid foundation for South Africa and other African countries to eliminate corruption and foster a clean political environment.

Seventh, create a new racetrack for cultivating senior talents. The BRICS countries will set up a vocational education alliance, hold vocational skills contests, BRICS Solutions for SDGs Awards, women innovation contests, and promote the convergence of talent chain, industry chain and innovation chain in five countries, to jointly make positive contributions to coping with challenges in the education field, boosting economic transformation and industrial upgrading, and creating a new era of global development.

Eighth, put forward new proposals on improving global governance. The BRICS countries have reiterated commitment to multi-lateralism and made it clear that global governance should be more inclusive, representative and participatory so as to facilitate deeper and more meaningful participation of developing countries and least developed countries, especially African countries, in the global decision-making process and architecture, and make global governance more in line with reality. The BRICS appreciates the efforts made by African countries, the African Union and sub-regional organisations in addressing regional challenges, including maintaining peace and security, post-war reconstruction and pursuing development, and calls on the international community to provide continuous support.

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We will remain true to our original aspiration and keep our mission firmly in mind, no matter how many thousand miles we have to travel. It is cooperation and development that has given life and prosperity to the BRICS mechanism. And as its institutional building continues to deepen, the BRICS has become the most influential platform for South-South cooperation. After a journey of 16 years featuring fruitful results, BRICS cooperation is now entering a stage of high-quality development, charting a right path of win-win cooperation for BRICS countries, Africa and other developing countries, and the development and progress of mankind.

We have every reason to expect that, as South Africa assumes the BRICS rotating chair next year, with concerted efforts and strong support of China and other BRICS members, South Africa will continue the sound momentum of BRICS cooperation, deliver more substantial results in various areas and usher in an even brighter future for the BRICS cooperation mechanism.

Chen is the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to South Africa.

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