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Africa hopes to become new growth pole through cooperation with BRICS


Africa hopes to become new growth pole through cooperation with BRICS

Africa hopes to become new growth pole through cooperation with BRICS
Photo credit: Marcelo Camargo | Agência Brasil

African leaders said at the BRICS Business Forum that ended in Xiamen on Monday that the continent hopes to become a new growth pole through cooperation with BRICS countries, namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

About 1,200 business elites from more than 600 enterprises gathered in Xiamen of southeast China’s Fujian Province to attend the BRICS Business Forum. The two-day forum that started Sunday is an important side event of the BRICS summit.

South African President Jacob Zuma and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi delivered speeches at the forum, while Guinean President Alpha Conde attended a panel discussion under the theme of interconnectivity.

Sustainable development, robust trade

In a speech delivered Sunday, Zuma said he hopes BRICS countries can enhance cooperation to make their economies more robust and sustainable and bring benefits to their people.

Amid a decrease in global demand for raw materials, South Africa, whose exports are mainly driven by raw materials, are facing great challenges, Zuma said.

Against such a backdrop, South Africa hopes to realize comprehensive and inclusive development through cooperative projects with other BRICS countries, he added.

South Africa is carrying out large-scale economic reform in efforts to spur economic growth, Zuma said, adding that such sectors in mining, agriculture and energy are eying more investment while other areas such as technology and infrastructure construction are also prioritized.

Besides, Zuma expressed the hope that trade with high added value among BRICS countries can be promoted.

As Africa’s main economy and a member of BRICS and the G20 group, South Africa’s trade with the other BRICS countries reached 31.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2016, according to Zuma.

Describing Africa as a new frontline of growth and prosperity, Zuma said the continent enjoys broad prospects and opportunities for investment.

The International Monetary Fund has predicted that Africa will become the continent that sees the second fastest growth in the world in four years and it is the “youngest” continent in terms of the population’s age.

Zuma quoted a McKinsey report as saying that spending by Africa’s consumers and businesses along with household consumption in the continent will exceed 5 trillion U.S. dollars by 2025.

Zuma also mentioned the New Development Bank’s Africa Regional Center that launched in mid-August in Johannesburg, saying that the project highlights BRICS’ commitment to the development of the African continent and emerging markets.

Al-Sisi also said Egypt has adopted a series of policies for reforms in the subsidy system, social security and monetary policies as well as improving the investment and business environment, and expressed the hope that the country can realize sustainable development through BRICS countries” support.

South-South cooperation

During the Xiamen Summit, China held the Dialogue of Emerging Market and Developing Countries, where leaders of Egypt, Guinea, Mexico, Tajikistan and Thailand joined the BRICS leaders in discussing global development cooperation and South-South cooperation.

“BRICS is symbolic of the South, but it really, for its legitimacy, needs to embrace other countries of the South so that their voices can be heard” on the global stage, said Jeremy Stevens, an economist with Standard Bank, Africa’s largest bank headquartered in South Africa.

Conde, the Guinean president, said the attendance of Guinea, which holds the rotating presidency of the African Union, in the Xiamen summit has great significance to Africa.

The development of BRICS cooperation has brought hope to all marginalized countries in the world, Conde said, adding that he expected the partnership between Guinea and BRICS countries will make Africa a new landscape.

Guinea is one of the least developed countries in the world, according to the United Nations. Cooperation with BRICS nations has injected great dynamism into the Guinean economy.

Statistics from the Chinese Customs showed the China-Guinea trade in 2016 reached 1.78 billion U.S. dollars, up 36.2 percent from a year ago.

“Africa is the future of the world,” Conde said, “The future of BRICS is determined by cooperation with Africa... let’s jointly face our challenges.”

Dialogue of the Emerging Markets and Developing Countries on the Margins of the 9th BRICS Summit

Remarks by President Jacob Zuma

I would like to take this opportunity to thank President Xi Jinping for bringing together a new configuration of like-minded partners from amongst the group of Emerging Markets and Developing Countries (EMDCs) with whom the BRICS nations share common aspirations and challenges.

As the unfolding multi-polar world order takes shape, formations such as BRICS are indicative of the shared resolve to assume ownership of our development paths.

Such formations are intended as a conduit for addressing the needs of all global citizens.

Addressing common development challenges is integral to building a better future for all humankind, as evidenced by the collaboration that exists between the BRICS nations and their various international partners.

Our joint efforts were further manifested in the successful adoption of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. Full implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has the potential to eradicate poverty.

Revitalising the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development can only be fully achieved if supported by the concrete policies and actions outlined in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development, also adopted in 2015; and which is an integral part of the 2030 Agenda.

The Means of Implementation is fundamental to the success of countries meeting their developmental needs, and achieving the SDGs, yet it is the one area that has received neither the appropriate attention, nor the requisite priority.

African countries are implementing the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063 of the African Union in an integrated manner.

This is to ensure that we secure and utilise natural resources sustainably.

In the lead up to the 23rd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, we are confident that international solidarity will prevail and that countries will encourage and support each other in the implementation of their various contributions and obligations.

Excellencies, the world has witnessed a number of terror attacks in recent times.

South Africa strongly condemns these horrendous acts and believes that, in order to fight this scourge, it is imperative for the global community to unite as one and to intensify its collective efforts to counter the challenges that this poses to the international community at large.

It remains our conviction that, given terrorism’s global reach, international cooperation in countering this threat is critical. South Africa, therefore, fully supports the global campaign against terrorism within the framework of the United Nations.

BRICS partners have established their first financial institutions to notably address their own needs.

The New Development Bank is supporting its founding members.

Hopefully soon, it will also support our partners through providing development financing for infrastructure and sustainable development projects.

The leadership of the African Union engaged the BRICS leadership at an early stage indicating its strong support for this project and the recent launch of the Africa Regional Centre is a most welcome signal of an intensifying partnership for development.

As the Global South, it remains our collective responsibility to increase our role in agenda setting and rule formulation in relevant fora, notably in the United Nations.

In its current state, the United Nations has been unable to curb unilateral actions by powerful nations. These practices risk the reversal of gains made by the collective and we must continue to address its inherent biases.

This dialogue with our fellow partners from the group of EMDCs has certainly created an opportunity for us to work towards finding solutions for our common challenges.

It provides an opportunity as well to craft a paradigm for mutually beneficial South-South cooperation, to positively impact on the lives of our people, and to constantly strive for justice, equity and development.

Each of the countries present here today enjoys comparative and competitive advantages in specific fields.

Cross fertilisation, the exchange of ideas, joint projects and skills training can go a long way towards promoting economic development and social progress for all. South Africa will continue to explore these mutually beneficial cooperation ties with all our partners.

I thank you.


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