South African President: BRICS partnership is of great value to South Africa
- BRICS Bank plays an important role in financing South African infrastructure and sustainable development projects
The value of BRICS membership has grown significantly since South Africa joined the group of emerging economies 12 years ago. South Africa has benefited a lot from the BRICS cooperation mechanism and the relationship it has built with other member countries as it struggles to rebuild the country in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the beginning of its establishment, the BRICS cooperation mechanism took strengthening economic and financial ties as one of the important pillars of cooperation. The BRICS countries have adopted the BRICS Economic Partnership Strategy, which aims to expand market access to each other, promote mutual trade and investment, and create a friendly business environment for investors from all BRICS countries. For South Africa, an important part of this strategy is promoting trade diversification and increasing exports of manufactured goods rather than raw materials. South Africa's trade with other BRICS countries continues to climb. In 2021, more than 17% of South Africa's exports will go to the BRICS countries, and more than 29% of its imports will come from the BRICS countries. South Africa’s total trade with other BRICS countries will reach R702 billion in 2021, up from R487 billion in 2017.
Trade links with other BRICS countries are critical to improving the competitiveness of South Africa's economy, boosting the growth of local industries, and driving reforms in energy, telecommunications and transport, and investment in infrastructure. In the tourism sector, in 2018, tourists from other BRICS countries accounted for 65% of the total number of tourists in South Africa and are expected to make an important contribution to the recovery of the industry. Now, tourists from India and China will enjoy the visa convenience brought by the new eVisa program.
South Africa looks to the New Development Bank (the BRICS Bank) to play an important role in funding and project support for infrastructure and sustainable development projects. South Africa has received $5.4 billion from the New Development Bank to improve services in key areas. The NDB also demonstrated its flexibility, quickly approving $2 billion in funding to each BRICS country under the COVID-19 emergency loan program to fight the pandemic and support economic recovery.
In addition to government-to-government contacts, the BRICS Business Council and the BRICS Women in Business Alliance are building links between the BRICS business community, focusing on developments in sectors such as agriculture, aviation, financial services, energy, manufacturing and infrastructure, Improve the regulatory environment and build skills.
BRICS cooperation in the field of health, especially in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, enables South Africa to respond more effectively to current and future health emergencies. After several years of planning, the BRICS Vaccine R&D Center was launched in March 2022, which will facilitate the development and production of joint vaccines in the BRICS countries. It will help distribute vaccines equitably, strengthen health systems, and help countries deal with future infectious diseases. South Africa believes that the BRICS Vaccine R&D Center is a valuable advance in strengthening vaccine production capacity in South Africa and the African continent. South Africa will call on BRICS partners to support the principle that "African vaccines should be produced on the African continent".
Earlier, the BRICS Agriculture Ministers Meeting adopted the BRICS Food Security Cooperation Strategy, which aims to maintain sustainable agricultural production, provide unhindered supply of agricultural inputs such as seeds and fertilizers, and ensure market access and food value stable operation of the chain.
The summit aims to usher in a new era of more inclusive, sustainable and equitable global development. By reforming the United Nations and other multilateral systems, it will push the international community to refocus on the sustainable development agenda and support a sustainable and equitable global recovery.
The BRICS Summit provides a valuable platform for South Africa to strengthen ties with partner countries, support its own economic growth and create jobs. More importantly, this summit is an opportunity for South Africa to contribute to a better world in which all countries have a better chance of recovering from this pandemic and prospering. Editor / Xu Shengpeng