Friday, July 27, 2018
We have just completed a successful 10th BRICS Summit that was held from 25 to 27 July 2018 in Sandton, South Africa, hosted by H.E. President Cyril Ramaphosa under the theme: “BRICS in Africa: Collaboration for Inclusive Growth and Shared Prosperity in the 4th Industrial Revolution.” It was attended by the Heads of State and Government of South Africa, Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRICS), Rwanda, Ethiopia, Angola, Zambia, Namibia, Senegal, Gabon, Togo, Uganda, Jamaica, Argentina, Turkey, Botswana, DRC, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.
The BRICS Summit took place during a period when we are commemorating the centenary of the birth of two of South Africa’s struggle icons, Tata Nelson Mandela and Mama Albertina Sisulu. The values they represent served as an inspiration for our discussion on key issues affecting the international community, as well as the rich discussion with our outreach partners.
The agenda of the BRICS Summit was extensive, which is a direct reflection of the diversity and depth of interaction between the five countries. We discussed issues of mutual concern aimed at achieving development, economic growth and prosperity, as well as peace and security. We acknowledged that we have travelled a remarkable path over the course of the last ten years and we remain committed to growing our economies and improving the lives of our peoples. We also highlighted our commitment to building responsive, inclusive and collective solutions to the world’s economic challenges, including poverty, inequality and unemployment.
The BRICS countries are firmly in agreement on the need to safeguard and strengthen multilateralism. In this regard, we support the centrality of the United Nations, as the universal multilateral organisation entrusted with the mandate for maintaining international peace and security, advancing global development and promoting and protecting human rights, so as to build a brighter shared future for the global community.
We reiterated in our discussions the strengthening of multilateral institutions of global governance and the need for comprehensive reform of the United Nations, including the Security Council. We affirmed our commitment to the World Trade Organisation to ensure a rules-based, transparent, non-discriminatory, open and inclusive multilateral trading system.
We are committed to the full implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals to ensure equitable, inclusive, open, all-round, innovation-driven and sustainable development. We emphasise that the three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental – should be addressed in a balanced and integrated manner. We furthermore discussed the importance of strengthening our cooperation to deal with the challenges brought about by climate change and assure the world of our commitment to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
In respect of global security matters, we noted, with concern, the challenges and threats faced by the international community and committed to enhance communication and cooperation amongst BRICS countries in international fora. In this regard, we also highlighted the need for BRICS countries to enhance cooperation on peacekeeping matters.
It was evident from our discussions that we stand united in our condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, wherever committed and by whomsoever. In this regard, we are committed to countering terrorism in accordance with the principles of international law.
We received a positive report from the BRICS Business Council on their activities since September 2017 and we commend them and the BRICS Business Forum for their collective efforts toward strengthening economic cooperation in infrastructure, manufacturing, energy, agriculture, financial services, e-commerce, alignment of technical standards and skills development.
During our deliberations, we also reaffirmed our commitment to BRICS industrial cooperation, including on industrial capacities and policies, new industrial infrastructure and standards, as well as small, micro and medium-sized enterprises (SMMEs).
We noted that the notion of the 4th Industrial Revolution sets us on a path to further development in key sectors of information technology and communication (ICT), digitisation and the growth of small, micro and medium enterprises (SMMEs). We therefore committed to jointly seize the myriad of opportunities presented by the 4th Industrial Revolution. While recognizing the potential positive impact of the 4th Industrial Revolution, we are also aware of the growth of the criminal misuse of ICTs and in this regard reiterated the need to develop an international universal legally binding instrument on combatting criminal use of ICTs within the UN.
In continuation of the BRICS tradition of Outreach first initiated by South Africa during its first tenure as BRICS Chair in 2013, the BRICS Leaders met with African Leaders, including the Chairpersons of the African Union (AU), of the NEPAD Head of States and Government of the recognized regional economic communities (RECs) and of the AU Commission, as well as with the SADC Leaders.
Following the BRICS Plus initiative of China in 2017, we also met with Leaders of the Global South, namely Argentina as G20 Chair, Jamaica as CARICOM Chair and Turkey as Chair of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC). In this regard, our discussions represented a continuation of the 2013 BRICS-Africa discussions, wherein BRICS pledged to support African development, industrialization and infrastructure development, as contained in the NEPAD programmes and the African Union’s Agenda 2063. There was also discussion around the implementation of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the building of broad partnerships for development. The rationale behind this engagement is to create a platform for greater interaction and partnerships amongst countries of the Global South to shape the agenda to effect changes in the global economy, notably for (i) development and economic growth through trade and investment integration, and (ii) cooperation in global governance financial, economic and political institutions.
In seeking to improve the lives of our people, we endorsed the initiative of enhancing BRICS cooperation in health through the establishment of a BRICS Vaccine Centre, which is key in the promotion of research and development of medicines and diagnostic tools to end epidemics and to facilitate access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines.
Having recognised the potential, inherent in the tourism sector for all the BRICS countries, and the need to foster enhanced people-to-people relations amongst our five countries, we have endorsed the establishment of a BRICS Tourism Track within BRICS. The promotion of tourism is essential to addressing the triple challenges of unemployment, inequality and poverty, which are common to all our countries. In this regard, we welcomed the establishment of the BRICS Tourism Track as it is key to fostering inclusive and sustainable development.
Women must play an integral role in society, and we dedicated ourselves to ensuring their full participation in the economy and society. The BRICS Members are in agreement on the important economic benefit to be derived from the socio-economic empowerment of women, particularly in developing countries. In support of this ideal, we agreed on the establishment of a BRICS Women’s Forum. The following agreements were signed during the course of the Summit:
- Memorandum of Understanding on Collaborative Research on Distributed Ledger and Blockchain Technology in the Context of the Development of the Digital Economy;
- Memorandum of Understanding on BRICS Regional Aviation Partnership; and
- Agreement for Establishment of the Regional Office of the New Development Bank (NDB) for the Americas in the City of Sao Paulo, Brazil;
We concluded our deliberations with the adoption of the Johannesburg Declaration and Action Plan, which highlight the great strides that BRICS has made in terms of establishing institutional mechanisms for tangible cooperation. We look forward to strengthening our collaboration as we usher in the Second Decade of BRICS Strategic Cooperation.