Johannesburg - Foreign policy experts say South Africa needs to be more focused now in maximising relations with its BRICS partners to realise rapid growth in all sectors.
“The biggest thing that needs to be done post this summit is that Pretoria must put its house in order so it builds pragmatic policies that will maximise on various benefits. In other words, we need to search deeper and find what we can extract from India, Brazil, Russia and China,” said David Monyae, a political analyst and co-director at the University of Johannesburg’s Confucius Institute.
The gathering of the five presidents - Brazil’s Michele Temer, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, India’s Narendra Modi, China’s Xi Jinping and Cyril Ramaphosa - in Joburg this past week has been considered by many as South Africa’s chance to increase its influence on the global stage and strengthen the country’s ailing economy.
While the 10th Summit took place at a critical juncture in which China found itself at odds with the US over trade policies, Monyae said the trade spat between the two countries made the BRICS bloc more relevant than ever as it sought to assist developing countries.
Asked whether South Africa was concerned about aligning itself with countries that were in conflict with the US, Ramaphosa, addressing the media on Friday after the summit, said the BRICS countries were independent sovereign states who were not dictated to on who they should be friends with.