South Africa continues to cooperate with other BRICS members to enhance economic engagement and development
Since South Africa became part of the BRICS group in 2010, BRICS has developed strategic cooperation mechanisms on numerous issues, some of which have been implemented already while others are part of ongoing discussions during BRICS meetings. The BRICS flagship initiative is the New Development Bank (NDB) which was operationalized on July 21, 2015 with its headquarters in Shanghai.
It is very significant to note that this proposal was only endorsed by the leaders at the Fifth BRICS Summit in 2013 hosted by South Africa. In just over two years, the NDB has had functional offices.
In April 2016, the NDB announced its first set of approved loans involving financial assistance of $811 million, to be disbursed in tranches, supporting preparation, but will also, in consultation with BRICS partners, respond to the infrastructure cooperation proposals received from the African leadership when they met the BRICS leadership in 2013.
The ARC will be a vehicle through which the African continent will benefit from funding of its infrastructure projects. The medium-term vision for the ARC is that it will become a continental center of excellence specializing in capacity building and technical assistance.
The BRICS group is cooperating in a multitude of fields, which has enhanced BRICS intra-trade as well as security and social areas, especially in the sectors of health, population matters and education. BRICS countries have frequent exchanges on issues related to the United Nations (UN) as well as in the context of other multilateral forums. A recent example is the BRICS Leaders’ Informal Meeting on the Margins of the G20 Summit in Hangzhou.
BRICS is an important group where issues affecting the developing world, or Global South, can be discussed. We are particularly interested in the comprehensive reform of global economic and financial architectures. This is a focus area for BRICS finance ministers who meet on the margins of the annual and other meetings of the Bretton Woods Institutions. BRICS ministers of foreign affairs hold an annual meeting on the margins of the UN General Assembly to exchange views on pertinent issues of mutual interest. One such issue for example is the position for the UN Secretary General. BRICS has two permanent members of the UN Security Council of the current five and for South Africa it would be important that the elected candidate will promote the African Union’s continental agenda.
The core of the BRICS agenda is to enhance intracooperation amongst its members. In BRICS, there is increased synergy on major positions and this is reflected in the leaders’ summit declaration. This is