Brics agenda marches on
ON JANUARY 1, 2018, South Africa assumed the rotational chairship of the Brics forum and will host the 10th Brics summit in Johannesburg from July 25 to 27.
The 10th Brics summit holds a special significance in the Brics historical trajectory as it concludes the first decade of the Brics engagement at the highest diplomatic level and commences the second “golden decade”.
Brics (the acronym for the association of five major emerging national economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) forms an integral part of our foreign policy and builds upon international relations developed since the dawn of democracy under president Nelson Mandela.
We are honoured to be hosting the 10th Brics summit during the same year in which we celebrate the centenary of the father of our nation and an international icon.
Cooperation within the Brics forum is founded upon the “Sanya Principles” of openness, solidarity and mutual assistance as adopted at the 2011 Brics summit in Sanya.
South Africa views Brics as a platform that serves as an amplified voice to advocate the shared interests of emerging markets and developing countries, in particular to advance the reform of the United Nations and the Bretton Woods institutions. Brics subscribes to shared core principles, notably upholding the principle of multilateralism and the central role of the UN.
Since South Africa’s accession to the group in December 2010 the developmental needs and aspirations of the Global South, as well as those of Africa as contained in the AU’s Agenda 2063, have been fully incorporated into the Brics agenda. These needs and aspirations continue to be carried forward into other fora, such as the G20 and the UN.
South Africa hosted the fifth Brics summit (eThekwini summit) in 2013 and the notable deliverables of that summit include the establishment of the Brics Think Tanks Council and the Brics Business Council. Brics has subsequently intensified its programme of institution-building as evidenced by the launch of the New Development Bank in Shanghai and the Africa Regional Centre in Johannesburg and the establishment of the Contingent Reserve Arrangement.
On the occasion of the eThekwini summit, South Africa also took the initiative to host a Brics dialogue with partners from Africa on Africa’s industrialisation and infrastructure development agenda, thus initiating an outreach mechanism in accordance with the provision made in the Sanya Declaration that: “We are open to increasing engagement and co-operation with non-Brics countries, in particular emerging and developing countries, and relevant international and regional organisations.”
This practice has subsequently been further developed by successive Brics chairs and South Africa will continue this initiative during its tenure as Brics chair in 2018.
In celebration of the second decade of Brics cooperation, the Johannesburg summit will be focused on areas relating to developing countries; namely inclusive growth and shared prosperity.
In pursuance of national, continental and global interests, South Africa during its Brics chairship will prioritise developmental initiatives such as women and gender empowerment, peace for development, economic cooperation for greater industrialisation and continued institution-building in Brics.
In advancing these objectives it will be vital not only to review past achievements of Brics but also to commit to the consolidation of strategic and practical cooperation and to further foster institutional development.
As we move forward, we do so with the intention of solidifying our bonds of cooperation within Brics and with our partners in Africa and the developing world.
We remain firm in our commitment to continue to strive for the creation of a better life and better world for all mankind.