President Jacob Zuma is back in the country after his successful working visit to Xiamen, China, where he attended the ninth BRICS Summit.
President Zuma, who arrived in the country this morning, had joined other BRICS leaders for the summit, which was held under the theme ‘BRICS: Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future’.
They discussed issues of mutual concern aimed at achieving development, economic growth and prosperity, as well as peace and security – matters that have brought them together over the past 10 years.
The leaders acknowledged that they have traversed a remarkable journey together on their respective development paths tailored to their national circumstances, devoted to growing their economies and improving people’s livelihoods.
To take the bloc forward, they committed to building responsive, inclusive and collective solutions to the world economic challenges, including poverty and unemployment.
The BRICS leaders met with the BRICS Business Council. They discussed the efforts and the contribution of the business council and Business Forum to strengthening economic cooperation in infrastructure, manufacturing, energy, agriculture, financial services, e-commerce, alignment of technical standards and skills development.
“This year, we had the biggest business delegation, which indicates the amount of interest BRICS has aroused,” said President Zuma.
The council and the leaders reaffirmed their commitment to BRICS industrial cooperation, including industrial capacities and policies, new industrial infrastructure and standards, as well as small, micro and medium-sized enterprises (SMMEs). This is all part of the efforts to jointly seize the opportunities brought about by the 4th Industrial Revolution and expedite respective industrialisation processes. The leaders agreed to explore the establishment of a BRICS Institute of Future Networks.
Working towards common prosperity
The summit also resolved to promote the development of BRICS Local Currency Bond Markets and jointly establish a BRICS Local Currency Bond Fund as a means of contribution to the capital sustainability of financing in BRICS countries, while boosting the development of BRICS domestic and regional bond markets.
President Zuma and the BRICS leaders noted with satisfaction the launch of the Africa Regional Centre of the New Development Bank (NDB), which was launched in Johannesburg last month.
The launch was welcomed and lauded as a major milestone for Africa as a whole, as it underlines BRICS’ commitment to the development of the African continent and emerging markets.
“The launch of the Bank in Johannesburg recently is indeed momentous. The idea of having our own BRICS Bank is historic and a game changer because it will handle matters of finance in a friendly way to the developing world.
“The Bank will first work with member countries and with time, will extend to the rest of Africa and other countries. The Umzimvubu Water Project and the Moloto Corridor are just two examples of the projects the New Development Bank will work on immediately. We are also glad that the Bank has gained acceptance globally,” said President Zuma.
In terms of global security, the BRICS leaders noted the challenges and threats faced by the international community and committed to enhance communication and cooperation in international fora on issues concerning international peace and security.
“That is why we have considered urgent that the BRICS Security Cluster of Ministers meet to discuss these current threats to our security and that of the globe,” said President Zuma.
Support for emerging markets
In continuation of the BRICS tradition of outreach, the leaders held a Dialogue of Emerging Markets and Developing Countries on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the building of broad partnerships for development.
The dialogue was held under the theme: ‘Strengthening Mutually Beneficial Cooperation for Common Development’.
President Zuma said being members of BRICS represents not only South Africa but the African continent as a whole.
“We are therefore glad to have introduced the BRICS Outreach aspect of the programme, wherein we invite the African Union Commission Chairperson, leaders of NEPAD structures and regions to participate for the well-being and development of Africa. BRICS is becoming the hope of the globe and is charting a way forward for a better future for developing countries,” said President Zuma.
South Africa is the incoming Chair of BRICS and will host the 10th BRICS Summit in 2018.
“We look forward to hosting the BRICS Leaders’ Summit in South Africa to take further our programme of development and prosperity for our countries. We have taken from China in this summit their incredible sense of organisation, the discipline as well as clear programmes and intended outcomes. We will build on these as South Africa next year,” said President Zuma.
The 9th BRICS Summit concluded with the adoption of the Xiamen Declaration and Action Plan, which highlighted the strong foundation that BRICS has laid in terms of establishing institutional mechanisms for tangible cooperation.
Meanwhile, on the sidelines of the summit, President Zuma held bilateral meetings with President Xi Jinping of China, President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation, as well as President of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who attended the Dialogue of Emerging Markets and Developing Countries.
President Zuma also met with President Emomali Rahmon of Tajikistan, whose country shares a border with China. Tajikistan also forms part of the Emerging Markets and Developing Countries.
President Zuma was accompanied by International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba, State Security Minister David Mahlobo, Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu, Energy Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi, Water and Sanitation Nomvula Mokonyane, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Des Van Rooyen and Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Gratitude Magwanishe