dtic hosts business editors ahead of BRICS

South Africa intends to bring the African agenda to the fore at the upcoming 15th BRICS Summit, which will take place in Johannesburg from 22 – 24 August.

The Deputy Director-General of Exports at the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (dtic), Lerato Mataboge, said at the BRICS [Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa] Business Editors’ Breakfast, which was held in Johannesburg on Monday, that the summit is an opportune platform to have a robust conversation on “issues of diversifying exports towards value added trade, increasing productive capacities, increasing entrepreneurial opportunities and the skills dividend”.

All these are areas that bear relevance to the theme of the highly-anticipated summit, which is ‘BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Mutually Accelerated Growth, Sustainable Development and Inclusive Multilateralism’.

Mataboge said in addition to infrastructure and industrial development and market integration, attention must be given to accelerating growth and accruing value on the African continent; increasing investment flows to Africa, technology transfer, employment opportunities, and improved incomes and economic inclusion and transformation.

South Africa, as the current chair of BRICS, will be chairing the summit soon after its fruitful participation in the 2nd Russia-Africa Summit, which was held in St. Petersburg last week. The summit came after South Africa successfully held a Friends of BRICS National Security Advisors’ Meeting and the BRICS Urbanisation Forum in Durban last week.

The business editors’ session formed part of activities in the road leading to the 15th BRICS Summit. The session was a high-level engagement with the editorial heads of agenda-setting media titles, with the objective of outlining the trade and investment posture of the BRICS Business Council, programme of work of the economic work stream of BRICS in South Africa, as well as the tangible economic opportunities that emerge for South Africa and the African continent.


In outlining South Africa’s stance on driving the continent’s agenda at the BRICS Summit, Mataboge outlined the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), saying it creates a legal framework that aims to remove barriers and unlock opportunities for trade and investment for local and global businesses, especially in the creation of regional value chains in Africa.

Notably, she said women and youth-owned businesses are poised to benefit from the AfCFTA, with the necessary financial and non-financial support.

“The AfCFTA creates a single market projected to grow to 1.7 billion people and $6.7 trillion in consumer and business spending by 2030. By 2050, the population would have grown to 2.5 billion people, with combined business and consumer spending reaching $16.12 trillion,” Mataboge said.

Highlighting the AfCFTA’s industrialisation opportunities, Mataboge said the AfCFTA Private Sector Engagement Strategy is set to capture value into the continent. She pointed out four sectors including automotive, agriculture and agro-processing, pharmaceuticals and transport and logistics as having high potential for investment, with “potential to meet African demand through local production and potential value as exports to the rest of the world”.

Mataboge said together, these four sectors represent R2.6 billion in goods and services’ imports per annum.

South Africa became a member of BRICS in 2010 and attended its first Summit in 2011. BRICS was established as a forum of like-minded, progressive emerging market and developing countries committed to the need to restructure the global political, economic and financial architecture to be more equitable, balanced and resting on the important pillars of multilateralism and international law.

Over time, BRICS extended its cooperation to three pillars: political and security, economic and financial, and social/people-to-people.

At the initiative of South Africa, BRICS also expanded its reach beyond the BRICS members through the BRICS Outreach and BRICS Plus initiatives.

Source: South African Government News Agency