As South Africa prepares to host the next BRICS Summit later this year, local businesses want to reap more benefits from the country’s position as the grouping’s Chair. The South African Chapter of the BRICS Business Council hosted its Indaba to outline a roadmap as Chair.
South Africa is on a mission to ensure all economic opportunities that come with chairing the BRICS group this year are seized.
The SA chapter of the BRICS business council marks 10 years in existence this year and believes the country must deliberate and come up with a common approach that will benefit local enterprises and give meaning to the BRICS chairmanship.
BRICS Business Council Chairperson Busi Mabuza says, “Today marks a significant milestone for us as we put foot on the pedal to accelerate the programme of work, this year of SA Chairship. Theme: BRICS and Africa, partnership for mutually accelerated growth, sustainable development and inclusive multilateralism. We’ve convened to share information on the multitudes of platforms and projects that SA businesses may wish to participate in during the chairmanship. Sharing of ideas, perspectives and viewpoints likely to inform our product of work.”
The Trade Industry and Competition Department is leading the BRICS planning and says there are potential areas that if tapped into could see South Africa and the continent’s economies strengthened.
Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel delivers a keynote address.
“It is not only what we sell that we should focus on it’s also the investments we can attract. Together with the technological know-how and transfer arrangements that we require. Significant potential investment opportunities lie in energy for the grid, water declination technology, electric vehicle production and the 4IR as well as in the green economy.”
Patel also touched on the need to increase industrial cooperation within the grouping to promote the country’s localisation drive.
“Industrialisation is the means by which our society can become wealthier, grow faster and do so inclusively. Africa serves as the key driver of industrialisation in other countries so it is time that we use these resources to drive our own industrialisation. increased industrial cooperation could be achieved through knowledge sharing and deepening commercial and trade relations.”
Organised businesses say the summit has the potential to create a huge economic spinoff for small local businesses.
Africa Free Continental Trade
CEO of the Black Business Council Kganki Matabane says, “To us, the BRICS chairmanship presents a huge opportunity for South Africa to grow the economy and create much-needed jobs. We’ve got challenges of unemployment and we need to look at how do we utilise this opportunity to implement some of the aspirations of the national development plan and one of them is the support of small businesses. We need to work with BRICS countries to utilise small businesses in the creation of jobs. We need to find a way for our members to also participate in the Africa Free Continental Trade Space through this Brics chairpersonship opportunities.”
Other delegates highlighted the importance of BRICS in the global economic space and the importance of getting the best out of the BRICS bloc.
DIRCO’s Prof Anil Sooklal says, “All of our BRICS countries have tremendous markets. Populations of 1,5 1,4 billion China and India respectively, Brazil a little bit over 200 billion, Russia 150 million and these are tremendous markets for us. Why is it that they are selling more into our market a small market of 60 million people and we can’t flood their markets with our products be it raw materials or manufactured products we keep complaining about the balance of Trade but what are we doing as a collective between government and the private sector to seriously address this issue because the opportunities are there and this markets will continue to grow.”
Delegates believe other areas that should be looked into must include strengthening trade flows and attracting new investments to ensure the BRICS nations that will be visiting South Africa in August for the annual summit get the best out of the 4th Industrial Revolution and the Africa Free Continental Trade Agreement.