Brics sum­mit gives SA a boost

Vuk'uzenzele - - Gryeonluaetrihaonlfsoc/ Uafsrica - Sihle Manda

FIVE OF THE WORLD'S big­gest emerg­ing economies main­tained con­fi­dence in the mul­ti­lat­eral sys­tem and fur­ther com­mit­ting to strength­en­ing eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion

When the cur­tain fell on the 10th BRICS Sum­mit held in Sand­ton re­cently a clear man­date of so­lid­i­fy­ing trade co­op­er­a­tion and part­ner­ship be­tween the five mem­ber coun­tries was reaf­firmed.

Over 1 000 del­e­gates from the mem­ber coun­tries - South Africa, Brazil, China and Rus­sia de­scended on the Sand­ton Con­ven­tion Cen­tre in Jo­han­nes­burg over three days. Among the del­e­gates were cap­tains of in­dus­try and govern­ment lead­ers.

Clos­ing the sum­mit Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa de­clared the gath­er­ing a ma­jor suc­cess.

“We as South Africa are very pleased with the way the BRICS sum­mit suc­ceeded in achiev­ing the many ob­jec­tives we had in mind. It was one of the most well or­gan­ised sum­mits as ar­tic­u­lated by the heads of state from the BRICS coun­tries,” he said.

This much was ev­i­dent in the list of trade agree­ments and mem­o­randa en­tered into over the three days. Among the burn­ing topics that the lead­ers grap­pled with was the on­go­ing trade war wag­ing be­tween the United States (US) and China, which threat­ened to claim strug­gling emerg­ing economies as its ca­su­al­ties.

Five of the world's big­gest emerg­ing economies main­tained con­fi­dence in the mul­ti­lat­eral sys­tem, and fur­ther com­mit­ting to strength­en­ing eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion in the face of US tar­iff threats and uni­lat­er­al­ism.

“We should stay com­mit­ted to mul­ti­lat­er­al­ism,” said China's Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping adding that trade wars should be re­jected.

BRICS seal the deal

Among the deals sealed was the BRICS Avi­a­tion me­moran­dum of un­der­stand­ing be­tween the five coun­tries. The agree­ment sought to ex­pand and deepen co­op­er­a­tion among com­pe­tent au­thor­i­ties in the field from the BRICS coun­tries. Among other things, the co­op­er­a­tion will see the coun­tries share pub­lic poli­cies and best prac­tice, with keen fo­cus on air­ports man­age­ment, in­fra­struc­ture, nav­i­ga­tion ser­vices, in­no­va­tion as well as pi­lot train­ing

This agree­ment will en­sure that our coun­try con­tin­ues to have ad­e­quate and highly skilled avi­a­tion pro­fes­sion­als.

An en­vi­ron­men­tal agree­ment was also en­tered into, with each mem­ber coun­try com­mit­ting to the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the 2030 Agenda for Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment and the 17 Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals on air qual­ity, wa­ter, bio­di­ver­sity, cli­mate change, waste man­age­ment.

South Africa’s role of big brother for the rest of the con­ti­nent was ce­mented dur­ing the Sum­mit with var­i­ous African lead­ers mak­ing guest ap­pear­ances as well as trade deals that would ben­e­fit some coun­tries. Rus­sia sig­nalled its in­ten­tion when it penned a me­moran­dum of un­der­stand­ing with Zim­babwe for the pro­duc­tion of plat­inum group met­als. Projects are al­ready un­fold­ing in the coun­try.

Trade be­tween the five coun­tries in­creased sig­nif­i­cantly over seven years, in­creas­ing from R203 bil­lion to R462 bil­lion be­tween 2010 and 2017.

The African Union, the East African Com­mu­nity (EAC), Com­mon Mar­ket for Eastern and South­ern Africa (COMESA); the South­ern African De­vel­op­ment Com­mu­nity (SADC); Com­mon Mar­ket of the South (MER­CO­SUR ), South Africa and in­flu­en­tial As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions (ASEAN), the Caribbean Com­mu­nity (CARICOM), as well as the Or­gan­i­sa­tion of Islamic Co­op­er­a­tion (OIC) were just some of or­gan­i­sa­tions in­vited to var­i­ous ses­sions held dur­ing the sum­mit and in­ter­acted with BRICS.

China state visit

Mean­while the South African govern­ment signed sev­eral agree­ments with China, in­clud­ing an in­vest­ment com­mit­ment from China to the tune of $14.7 bil­lion.

This was dur­ing China’s State visit where Pres­i­dent Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan vis­ited Pre­to­ria with the idea of boost­ing bi­lat­eral re­la­tions and co­op­er­a­tion.

Re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries date back to Jan­uary 1998 when ties were first es­tab­lished. Over the past two decades, re­la­tions have con­tin­ued to blos­som.

“Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping has in­di­cated that China was ready to in­vest and work with South Africa in var­i­ous sec­tors, such as in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment, the ocean econ­omy, the green econ­omy, sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy, agri­cul­ture, en­vi­ron­ment and fi­nance,” Pres­i­dent Ramaphosa said.

The to­tal trade be­tween South Africa and China has been grow­ing since 2009, mov­ing in­creas­ing R118 bil­lion to R271 bil­lion by the end of 2013.

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