BRICS Strat­egy: To­wards the 2018 Johannesburg

The Sunday Independent - - News - Sanusha Naidu

In six months time, South Africa will host the 10th BRICS Sum­mit. This is a sig­nif­i­cant achieve­ment since the group­ing be­came a for­malised in­ter-state plat­form.

The tim­ing of the Sum­mit could not come at a bet­ter time for Pre­to­ria. The sig­nif­i­cance in chair­ing and host­ing the Sum­mit rep­re­sents a strate­gic mo­ment for the host coun­try to take ad­van­tage of its Chair­per­son in push­ing for key in­sti­tu­tional mech­a­nisms in terms of global devel­op­ment and strate­gic gov­er­nance. It also ex­em­pli­fies the op­por­tu­nity for the South African gov­ern­ment to iden­tify and pur­sue a set of ob­jec­tives aligned to the na­tional po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic in­ter­ests that must ad­dress the triple he­lix chal­lenge of poverty, in­equal­ity and un­em­ploy­ment.

And it is pre­cisely in this con­text that South Africa’s BRICS Pres­i­dency un­der Cyril Ramaphosa gov­ern­ment needs to be un­der­stood.

In the past sev­eral weeks as ANC Pres­i­dent and, now, as Pres­i­dent of the Repub­lic, Cyril Ramaphosa has shown dex­ter­ity in what he sees as crit­i­cal junc­tures for re­cal­i­brat­ing the coun­try’s ail­ing econ­omy. At the World Eco­nomic Fo­rum in Davos, Ramaphosa pursed an agenda of re­brand­ing South Africa as an in­vest­ment des­ti­na­tion. He showed that he is a man on a mis­sion to re­claim the coun­try’s State Owned En­ter­prises (SOEs) as be­ing held hostage to be looted. In­stead un­der his watch he sees the SOEs to­gether with in­ter­na­tional and do­mes­tic in­vestors to be driv­ers of the econ­omy and as­sist in re­build­ing the coun­try’s so­cio-eco­nomic base so that poor and marginalised are pro­vide with ac­cess to their ba­sic hu­man right re­sources. The mes­sage in Davos was loud and clear: SA re­mains open for busi­ness but with pol­icy cer­tainty and sta­bil­ity.

The suave of Ramaphosa in Davos was also about re­tun­ing the de­fault set­ting of our for­eign pol­icy gauge. For some time now South Africa has been at

odds with its di­rec­tion and vi­sion. This is not to sug­gest that the bu­reau­cracy in DIRCO have been sit­ting on their lau­rels; they have shown stel­lar com­mit­ment in ef­fect­ing the coun­try’s for­eign pol­icy pil­lars. But their jobs were made that much harder when it be­came un­clear where and who was im­ple­ment­ing the for­eign pol­icy ob­jec­tives. What is needed now is clar­ity and co­her­ence around our for­eign agenda is.

So what will Cyril Ram­pa­hosa’s BRICS Strat­egy be? It will be one that builds on Davos and ex­tends the charm of­fen­sive to make BRICS an in­deli­ble part of the coun­try’s growth, em­ploy­ment and in­vest­ment path­way. While Pres­i­dent Ramaphosa is seized with recor­rect­ing the do­mes­tic land­scape, and fairly aware of how he will be judged in de­liv­er­ing on the big

prom­ises of grow­ing an econ­omy that cre­ates jobs, the newly elected Pres­i­dent of the Repub­lic is also acutely at­ten­tive that he has to makes the BRICS work for the coun­try’s na­tional devel­op­ment plan and so­cioe­co­nomic pri­or­i­ties. This means chang­ing the com­ple­tion of the trade re­la­tions be­tween the coun­try and the other BRICS’ coun­tries, in­creas­ing the in­vest­ment foot­print and en­sur­ing that South African in­vestors are equally able to ac­cess the BRICS mar­kets.

The stage is set for Pres­i­dent Ramaphosa to in­tro­duce him­self to the BRICS lead­ers in July and present his vi­sion of a re­bal­anced non-aligned vi­sion that en­com­passes more than busi­ness as usual ap­proach but a more prag­matic and in­te­grated tac­tic that en­sures greater eco­nomic trac­tion be­tween South Africa and the BRICS.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.