Brics Summit no 'talkshop'

The 10th Brics Summit, to be held in Johannesburg this week, will not be a mere talkshop, according to South Africa’s Brics ambassador, Anil Sooklal.

The summit is set to be a turning point in the targeted developmental sector of its member economies, and its impressive implementation rate bodes well for regional economies.

Speaking to the media during a roundtable event, Sooklal said he was confident the summit would deliver much-needed hope to the member economies and beyond.

He said the summit had proven to be a very valuable platform for the bloc and, since its establishment, more than 70% of its resolutions had been implemented, proving it is more than a talkshop.

The Brics Research Group found that Brics members (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) implement 70% of summit decisions, and there is a high level of commitment to increased and deepened interactions between member states.

Sooklal said the Brics credit rating agency was not yet finalised, but milestones had been achieved.

Sooklal also said the summit, which will be held from Wednesday to Friday, will produce the Johannesburg declaration, a document negotiated by high-level officials of member states and including outcomes of all the meetings held among stakeholders.

“The declaration will typically include the outcomes of meetings on politics, security, finance and economics, social and development as well as people-to-people interactions,” he said.

South Africa joined the Brics in 2011. Following the subsequent establishment of the Brics Bank, it received two loans from the bank.

The first loan was for Eskom, granted in 2013 for just over R2 billion. The second loan, granted in May this year for R2.7 billion, was to finance Transnet’s Durban container terminal berth reconstruction project.

The current chairperson of the bank’s board of governors, which is its highest decision-making structure, is South Africa’s finance minister Nhlanhla Nene.

The bloc established the Contingent Reserve Agreement (CRA) in 2015, when Brazil hosted the summit, as a framework for providing protection against global liquidity pressures. In line with the CRA, South Africa contributed $5 billion, China $40 billion and India, Brazil and Russia $18 billion each.

The Brics Business Council, chaired by Iqbal Survé, consists of nine multisector working groups that will be meeting in Durban today and tomorrow to consolidate final recommendations to the council’s annual report, which will be tabled and adopted on Thursday.

The working groups are: infrastructure, manufacturing, financial services, energy and green economy, skills development, agribusiness, digital economy and deregulation.

This week, the Brics Business Forum will commence at the Sandton Convention Centre.

Among the dignitaries expected to attend the summit are heads of state from Angola, Ethiopia, Zambia, Egypt, Uganda, Rwanda and Gabon.

Among the objectives of the summit is to facilitate dialogue on the fourth industrial revolution, provide a platform to showcase affordable financing mechanisms in tandem with the National Development Bank, Africa Development Bank and Development Bank of Southern Africa for industrial and infrastructure development in Africa, and increased the volume of value-added intra-Brics trade.

The summit will also look into increased exports of value-added products and awareness of the trade and investment opportunities on the African continent.

Although South Africa only joined in 2011, the Brics bloc has invested $17.8 billion in the country through 189 projects and created 36 852 jobs since 2003. However, more than half of that, or 56%, of the capital investment was in Gauteng alone, and China was the biggest contributor in that province. China has a significant investment footprint across the country, except in Free State.

Gauteng also proved to be the key investment destination for Brics member economies as 40% of foreign direct investment projects and 31% of total job creation is in that province.

KwaZulu-Natal was the investment destination of choice for India. It also benefited the most from job creation stemming from Indian investments.

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