President Jacob Zuma will travel to Goa, in the Republic of India to attend the 8th BRICS Summit.
South Africa is eager to once again meet with the like-minded BRICS partners to discuss issues of mutual concern aimed at achieving economic growth and prosperity.
The 8th BRICS Summit theme is “Building Responsive, Inclusive and Collective Solutions”.
The BRICS countries will consult on intra-BRICS Cooperation and on global issues such as international conflicts, the fight against terrorism, and reform of global system of governance, notably the democratisation of the United Nations and the Bretton Woods Institutions.
Leaders will also meet with the BRICS Business Council. The BRICS Business Council focuses on the areas of infrastructure, manufacturing, financial services, energy and the green economy, skills development, agribusiness and deregulation. The Council comprises of five members from each country and is further supported by Working Group Chairs, namely Dr Iqbal Surve, ICT; Mr Siyabonga Gama, Infrastructure; Ms Slauzy Mogami, Agri-Business; Mr Sunil Genesis, Deregulation; Mr Stavros Nicolau, Manufacturing; Mr Brian Dames, Energy, and Mr Bhabhalazi Bulunga for Skills Development as well as Dr Danisa Baloyi and Ms Khanyisile Kweyama as leaders of the Black Business Council and BUSA respectively.
Ahead of the BRICS Summit, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies is leading a South African delegation in New Delhi attending the BRICS Trade Fair and also the Meeting of BRICS Trade Ministers and the BRICS Business Forum.
On the Sports and Recreation front, the BRICS Under 17s Football Cup Tournament has been played throughout the week, with South Africa having lost 3-0 to Brazil and played a goal-less draw with China.
The economic ties between and among BRICS countries are being strengthened through the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership that was adopted the previous Summit. In 2015, total intra-BRICS trade amounted to R3.1 trillion.
South Africa’s exports to BRICS countries increased from R123 billion in 2011 to R147 billion in 2015. In the same period, SA imports from BRICS countries also increased from R115 billion to R270 billion. Total Intra-BRICS FDI was R554 trillion at the end of February 2016.
In 2014, the BRICS countries agreed to establish the New Development Bank and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement. It was agreed that member states would contribute the equivalent of US$100 billion which would be used to promote BRICS cooperation, strengthen the global financial safety net and complement existing international arrangements.
To date, the Bank can count the following amongst its achievements:
* All major operational policies and procedures of the NDB have been finalised.
* The Board has approved the first set of projects with a total commitment of US $811 million and another project for another $100 million is currently under consideration.
* All of these projects are broadly in the area of renewable energy. Through its first set of loans, the Bank has begun the process of establishing its credentials as an institution that supports green and sustainable infrastructure.
* SA received a loan to the value of USD 180 m for an ESKOM project.
The leadership of the Bank has also established a range of partnerships with key national and global institutions, such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) so that it would be possible to provide the best possible products and services to members.
The Bank will complement the efforts of other existing financial institutions to realise the common goal of global growth and cater for specific needs of the Global South, also by utilising its own means
In addition to the issuing of the Goa Declaration and Action Plan, various Memoranda of Understanding will also be announced and signed, aimed at expanding the BRICS institution-building agenda and sectoral cooperation initiatives.
BRICS Leaders will also engage once again in an Outreach Summit, together with the Leaders of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC). The group comprises Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
The regional organisation brings together 1.5 billion people in the region with a combined GDP of over US$ 2.5 trillion.
President Zuma will be accompanied by the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane; Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies; Minister of Science and Technology, Ms Naledi Pandor; Minister of State Security, Mr David Mahlobo, Minister of Small Business Development, Ms Lindiwe Zulu and the Deputy Minister of Finance, Mr Mcebisi Jonas.
Distributed by APO on behalf of Republic of South Africa: Department of Government Communication and Information.