President Cyril Ramaphosa will lead a South Africa delegation to the 11th BRICS Summit to be held in Brasilia, Brazil, from 13 – 14 November 2019.
BRICS is the association of the five major emerging countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, which together represent about 42% of the global population, 23% of GDP, 30% of world territory and 18% of global trade.
The 11th BRICS Summit is hosted by the Federative Republic of Brazil, led by President Jair Messias Bolsonaro as the 2019 BRICS Chair. The summit is convened under the theme ‘BRICS: Economic Growth for an Innovative Future’.
Brazil’s priorities for its 2019 BRICS chairship are innovation, fighting transnational crime, health and promoting trade and investment, with a focus on infrastructure development and possible public-private partnerships.
The summit will be preceded by the BRICS Business Forum, where President Ramaphosa and other BRICS leaders will interact with the BRICS Business Council to strengthen dialogue between the BRICS Business Council and BRICS leaders to strengthen and promote economic, trade, business and investment ties amongst BRICS members.
South Africa’s membership of BRICS enables the country to employ additional and powerful tools in its fight to address the triple challenge of unemployment, poverty and inequality through increased trade, investment, tourism, capacity building, skills and technology transfers.
These objectives are further realised through BRICS’ financial institutions like the New Development Bank (NDB) and the Africa Regional Centre (ARC).
The Johannesburg-based ARC is playing a catalytic role in providing financial and project preparation support for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in South Africa and Africa.
At an institutional development level, South Africa derives crucial benefits through Track II institutions such as the BRICS Business Council and the BRICS Think-Tank Council, as well as the creation of the BRICS Inter-Bank Cooperation Mechanism.
In 2016, the BRICS STI (Science, Technology & Innovation) funding mechanism and framework programme were established to support capacity building, as well as skills and technology transfer.
The objective of President Ramaphosa’s engagement in the BRICS Summit is to contribute to the future direction of BRICS, to strengthen intra-BRICS relations and mutually beneficial cooperation across the four pillars of cooperation, particularly in intra-BRICS trade and investment, as well as to ensure the ongoing implementation of the outcomes of the 10th BRICS Summit hosted in South Africa in 2018.
The summit will welcome the adoption of the Terms of Reference and Work Plan for the Advisory Group on the BRICS Partnership on the New Industrial Revolution (PartNIR), which is in line with South Africa’s theme of its BRICS chairship in 2018 — ‘BRICS in Africa: Collaboration for Inclusive Growth and Shared Prosperity in the 4th Industrial Revolution’.
Benefits for Africa
South Africa has made concerted efforts to place the African continent and the Global South on the agenda of BRICS and to harmonise policies adopted at regional and international fora with those pursued in BRICS, namely Africa’s Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The exponential institutional development of BRICS has yielded institutions, including the NDB and ARC and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA), among others, all of which are intended to make tangible and meaningful contributions toward the development objectives of South Africa and BRICS.
President Ramaphosa will use the opportunity to highlight to BRICS partners South Africa’s priorities for chairing the African Union (AU) in 2020 and the commencement of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area.
President Ramaphosa will be accompanied by his spouse Dr Tshepo Motsepe; International Relations and Cooperation Minister Dr Naledi Pandor; Finance Minister Tito Mboweni; Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel; Health Minister Dr Zwelini Mkhize and State Security Minister Ayanda Dlodlo.
Due to simultaneous working visits out of the country by the President and the Deputy President, President Ramaphosa has in terms of Section 90(1)(b) of the Constitution designated the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, to serve as Acting President from 12 – 15 November 2019.