by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG – SOUTH African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, has hailed the importance of the Brazil, Russia, India, and South Africa (BRICS) bloc.
He said this was testament of the country’s foreign policy priorities.
These, he said, are regional political and economic integration, pursuing African development, multilateral engagement and the promotion of democracy, peace and human rights.
Ramaphosa made the sentiments on Monday, through his weekly letter.
He said joining the BRICS group of countries in 2010 was a milestone in the quest to advance national development priorities by forging stronger ties with the important emerging economies.
BRICS countries comprise 41 percent of the world’s population and account for around 24 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP) and some 16 percent of global trade.
“We have reaped the benefits of membership of this important bloc, most notably in the area of economic cooperation,” Ramaphosa stated.
“Bilateral trade has grown, particularly with China and India, with commodity exports and manufactured goods imports featuring strongly,” he said,
Ramaphsa said the BRICS countries continue to be important sources of foreign direct investment in key such as mining, automotive, transportation, clean energy, financial services and technology.
A 2018 review of South Afria’s BRICS membership by professional services firm Deloitte noted that BRICS partners “invested three times more capital in the country compared to the seven years prior to 2011”.
He said these investments and projects have in turn led to significant job creation.
Since the formation of the New Development Bank, whose regional office is located in Johannesburg, South Africa has been a beneficiary of financing and technical support for projects in transportation, clean energy, environmental protection, water infrastructure and greenhouse gas emissions reduction.
Following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, South Africa has received $2 billion in funding from the bank under the COVID-19 Emergency Loan Programme to fight the pandemic and to support the country’s economic recovery.
“There has also been substantial cooperation with our BRICS partners in securing personal protective equipment and cooperation around vaccine access and distribution,” Ramaphosa stated.
Last week South Africa participated in the 13th BRICS Summit.
BRICS countries agreed to deepen cooperation to fight COVID-19 and mobilise the political support and financial resources needed to respond to future pandemic preparedness.
This includes the establishment of a virtual BRICS Vaccine Research and Development Centre and a BRICS Integrated Early Warning System to forecast future outbreaks of infectious diseases.
– CAJ News