NEW YORK CITY, USA – SEPTEMBER 21, 2017: South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane at a BRICS Foreign Ministers Meeting on the sidelines of the 72nd session of United Nations (UN) General Assembly. Alexander Shcherbak/TASS (Photo by Alexander Shcherbak / TASS via Getty Images)
South Africa, which took over the rotational chairship of the emerging economies grouping Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS), is set to host the 10th summit in July.
The summit, which is scheduled from 25 – 27 July at the Sandton Convention Centre, will see South Africa building on the programme of development and prosperity for partner countries.
South Africa says the summit, which will be attended by Heads of State from the grouping, will be an important milestone towards building stronger solidarity and cooperation among emerging markets.
South Africa to host BRICS counterparts
“BRICS is an important global formation and South Africa is privileged to host the summit the second time around, as we enter the second decade cooperation. We have been meeting in summit form for nine years now and this will be the 10th session.
“The first summit we hosted in 2013 was very successful with very tangible outcomes and the results of that summit are visible in the work of the BRICS and the global community and we are confident that this summit will also follow suit,” DIRCO DDG of Asia, Middle East and BRICS Sous-Sherpa, Anil Sooklal, said on Monday.
He was speaking in Tshwane where the GCIS, Dirco and Brand SA hosted a communications roundtable discussion session on awareness around the importance of BRICS to South Africa.
The session was imperative as South Africa assumed the rotational chairship from China from 1 January to 31 December 2018.
Sooklal said the summit will showcase the cooperation that the countries enjoy, as well as its impact globally as they address key challenges faced by emerging countries such as developmental challenges, growing the economy, and addressing poverty and unemployment.
According to Sooklal, within the BRICS context, South Africa has four primary goals which are to see development and inclusive economic growth; promote value-added trade among BRICS countries and to promote investment into the productive sector.
The five BRICS countries account for 26 percent of the world’s landmass and are home to 43 percent of the world’s population. The bloc is composed of emerging markets and the developing world.
There has been substantive progress achieved since South Africa joined in 2011, as seen for example in the launch of the Africa Regional Centre of the New Development Bank (NDB) in South Africa.
The formation has strengthened its cooperative mechanism for institutional development, most notably witnessed in the creation of the New Development Bank and the recently launched Africa Regional Centre in Johannesburg.
Trade between the countries
In 2015, total intra-BRICS trade amounted to R3.06 trillion.
South Africa’s exports to BRICS countries marginally increased from R123 billion in 2011 to R138.2 billion in 2016, while in the same period, imports from these countries also increased from R115 billion to R230 billion.
However, despite the depended relations within BRICS, Sooklal said there needs room for better coordination between countries in other areas.
“We need to get your academics, think tanks, the private sector, and our people to people dimension to work and organise themselves better and embrace the opportunities presented to them by being part of this formation.”
Already the South African government has been engaging the BRICS Think Tank Council in order to identify concrete areas of cooperation that South Africa can take forward during the country’s BRICS presidency in 2018.
A Network of Smart Manufacturing Hubs has been recommended and it is expected to pool together knowledge, technology and new ideas on the identification of new and interconnected value chains.