South Africa benefits from Brics membership

South Africa has benefited from its membership of the Brics group, says President Zuma. Trade has surged 70% to R382m. And it has had a knock-on effect for the rest of the continent. Africa has doubled its trade with Brics member nations, which is expected to reach $500bn this year.

BRICS leaders
The presidents of the Brics member states during a photo call at the seventh summit in Ufa, Russia on 8 and 9 July 2015. From left: South African President Jacob Zuma, Chinese President Xi Jinping; Russian President Vladimir Putin; Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi; and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Brand South Africa reporter

South Africa and Africa as a whole had benefited from economic co-operation with Brics partners, President Jacob Zuma said yesterday.

He was speaking during the plenary session of the seventh Brics Summit, which was held at Ufa, in Russia on 8 and 9 July.

There had been a 70% increase in South Africa’s total trade with Brics. In 2014, its total trade with Brics was R382-billion, from R268-billion in 2011. Africa had doubled its total trade with Brics since 2007 to $340-billion (R4.2-trillion) in 2012, and this was projected to reach $500-billion this year.

In addition, during the summit’s outreach session, which had the title “Ways to increase the well-being of the peoples of our countries”, he said there were several sectors that were key areas of co-operation between South Africa and the world, namely food production, power generation, petro-chemical industry, mining, tourism, renewable and nuclear energy, trade, transportation, communications and training. These were “hardly exhaustive”, though.

Balance of power

Zuma said the balance of power had progressively shifted towards the Brics regions.

“Our economies are also involved in developing co-operation in high-technology sectors of the economy; modernising various branches of industry; implementing projects aimed at developing transport logistics, information communications and infrastructure; raising the economic competitiveness; and improving the living standards of citizens in our member countries.”

The session was attended by leaders of the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation, the Eurasian Economic Union and other invited leaders.

Business council meeting

Also, speaking during the interaction with the Brics Business Council members, Zuma said socio-economic challenges confronting developing countries must now be addressed within the current dynamics. Challenges facing these countries were similar, and comprised poverty alleviation, creation of sustainable development, reducing inequality in standards of living, and economic growth.

“These challenges are not new. They have long been recognised, and measures have been put in place to deal with them. We must now address them within the current dynamics.

“It is in this regard that we need to continue to vigorously partner each other to advance our shared vision.”

Despite the unfavourable global economic climate characterised by the sluggish economic recovery, the Brics countries had been at the forefront of global recovery, recording favourable export growth with exports to the rest of the world increasing from $1.9-trillion in 2009 to $4.2-trillion in 2013.

The Brics Business Council leaders signed a declaration on investment principles for enhanced investor co-operation between the five Brics member states. Working groups on deregulation and agri-business were also established during the summit.

Russia assumed the rotating presidency of Brics in May, and the seventh summit was hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin, under the theme “Brics Partnership – a Powerful Factor of Global Development”.

Government and business leaders in emerging economies attended.

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