The 15th BRICS Summit held at the Sandton Convention Centre during August was a success that 'heralded a new chapter' for the group.
This is according to President Cyril Ramaphosa who addressed the nation on Sunday evening.
“It was a historic Summit that heralded a new chapter for BRICS.
“The summit was attended by the five BRICS member countries along with representatives of 61 other countries. Forty-six of the countries that attended were from our continent, Africa. This included 20 Heads of State and Government. We were also honoured by the attendance of the United Nations Secretary-General Mr Antonio Guterres.
“The success of the summit is a credit to our country and its people. It is another demonstration of our ability to host major international gatherings that have a significant impact on the conduct of international affairs far beyond our borders. Overall, many people have said that this was a most successful BRICS Summit,” he said.
The President honed in on key decisions and outcomes that were taken during the summit, including the call for a comprehensive reform of the United Nations, including its Security Council.
“This was a most significant decision in view of the fact that it was supported by two BRICS members who are permanent members of the UN Security Council. The reform of the United Nations is important for South Africa and our continent Africa because we stand to benefit from a world that is more fair and from international institutions that are more democratic and more representative.
“In taking this position, the BRICS leaders recognised the desire of many other countries to contribute to redefining the terms of international relations,” he said.
On the second key outcome of the summit – which was to expand BRICS membership invitations to Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates – President Ramaphosa said: “Through an expanded BRICS, we will be able to better align the voices of those countries that seek a fairer global governance, financial, investment and trading system based on clear rules that apply equally to all countries.
“An expanded BRICS also means that we will be able to export more of our products to major markets and, as a result, we will be able to produce more and create more jobs. While an expanded BRICS will be an important champion for the Global South, South Africa stands to benefit from its relationship with these countries.”
President Cyril Ramaphosa also used his address to reaffirm South Africa’s non-aligned stance in international relations.
“South Africa’s participation in BRICS and its support for the expansion of BRICS does not detract from the good and strategic relations we have with many other countries around the world.
“From the advent of our democracy, we have always sought to develop ties of friendship, cooperation and respect with all nations. We have never aligned ourselves with any one global power or bloc of countries. Our non-aligned approach has enabled us to pursue an independent foreign policy and to forge our own developmental path.
“We have consistently advanced the articles of the United Nations Charter, including the principle that all members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means,” he said.
The President emphasised the importance of South Africa’s relations with our other countries and reflected on its impact on ordinary South Africans.
“[Our] country’s relations with other countries and the conduct of our foreign policy affects our lives as South Africans in many ways, such as in trade and investment, sport, peace and security, technology, education, and many other areas. As we have said before, our international work cannot be separated from our efforts to end poverty, to create jobs and to reduce inequality in South Africa.
“Through stronger investment and trade relations with other countries, we are able to grow our economy, create more opportunities for new businesses and reduce unemployment. By supporting peace and stability on our continent, and by promoting Africa’s development, we are able to improve social cohesion in our own country.
“By encouraging greater cooperation between countries in areas such as investment, financing for development, international crime, fighting terrorism, climate change and vaccine production, we are able to strengthen our efforts to tackle these challenges in our own country,” President Ramaphosa said.
Source: South African Government News Agency