SA benefits economically from BRICS grouping

Outlining the economic benefits of South Africa’s participation in the BRICS grouping, President Cyril Ramaphosa has informed Members of Parliament that South Africa’s trade with the bloc has increased by an average of 10% every year over the period 2017 to 2021.

“The total South African trade with other BRICS [Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa] countries reached R830 billion in 2022, which represents an increase of more than 70% from R487 billion in 2017,” the President said on Tuesday in Cape Town.

Participating in a Questions for Oral Reply session in the National Assembly, President Ramaphosa explained that BRICS is an important source of foreign direct investment in key areas such as mining, automotive, transportation, clean energy, financial services and information technology (IT).

These investments and projects lead to significant job creation.

“South Africa has experienced significant benefits through its membership as well as its association with the BRICS grouping of countries. South Africa uses its BRICS membership to improve investment, trade, tourism, as well as capacity building, and it also flows into skills acquisition and technological capabilities that we see this relationship yielding for our country.

“Strengthening economic as well as financial ties between BRICS member countries is one of the key pillars of this cooperation that we have forged with all these countries,” the President said.

In 2020, the countries adopted the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership to increase access to each other’s markets, promote mutual trade and investment, and create a business-friendly environment for investors in all BRICS countries.

“Furthermore, the BRICS Business Council and the BRICS Women’s Alliance bring together important commercial networks that promote trade and investment partnerships among BRICS countries. In 2015, BRICS countries launched the New Development Bank to finance and largely support infrastructure and sustainable development projects,” President Ramaphosa said.

To date, the New Development Bank has provided funding to 12 projects in South Africa to the value of over R100 billion.

“Our membership of BRICS makes a valuable contribution to the implementation of our Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan. For example, growing the tourism industry is one of the priorities of the Plan. The BRICS countries are becoming increasingly important tourism markets for South Africa.

“In terms of supporting energy security in South Africa, another pillar of our recovery plan, BRICS countries have the expertise and technologies to support energy cooperation. In 2020, BRICS adopted a Road Map for BRICS Energy Cooperation up to 2025 aimed at building a strategic partnership in energy cooperation,” the President said.

On infrastructure investment, which is another pillar of the recovery plan, South Africa will continue to access funding from the New Development Bank for energy, transport and water.

“The inclusion of Argentina, Ethiopia, Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as new members of the group will strengthen beneficial cooperation with South Africa in political, economic and financial matters.

“These countries will enhance economic partnership in key sectors such as oil and energy, telecommunication and information technology, agriculture, textile, logistics, air transportation and tourism and medicine,” the President said.

Last month’s three-day BRICS Summit wrapped up with several successful outcomes, including the expansion of the six aforementioned countries to become full members of BRICS effective from January 2024.

South Africa hosted the 15th BRICS Summit from 22-24 August in Johannesburg. This year’s summit took place under the theme, ‘BRICS and Africa: Partnership for mutually accelerated growth, sustainable development and inclusive multilateralism’.

The President said South Africa expects that its trade links and investments participation with all the additional countries will increase.

This addition is also expected to contribute to the growth of the country’s tourism industry.

“In economic terms, all these new additional countries are big players and on the horizon are a number of other countries that have indicated their willingness to be part of BRICS and they too will be considered in the next phase.

“We will obviously look at the economic value in terms of participation for all of us as BRICS members. These additional countries will be boosting our Economic Recovery and Reconstruction Plan and we expect great benefits from all this.

“The benefits for our countries has been very clear right from the beginning. It has led to enhanced activity amongst ourselves and all these countries. Being a BRICS member does contribute a great deal to economic growth as well,” the President said.

Source: South African Government News Agency