President Cyril Ramaphosa has used the occasion of the 15th BRICS Summit Open Plenary to reiterate the bloc’s commitment to the principles of solidarity, sustainable development and an equitable world order.
Joined by his counterparts from the grouping’s member countries – the President of Brazil Lula Da Silva; Russian President Vladimir Putin; Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and the People’s Republic of China President, Xi Jinping – President Ramaphosa said the BRICS partnership must be harnessed to drive inclusive global economic recovery.
The South African Statesman said it remains a matter of concern that global financial and payment systems are “increasingly being used as instruments of geopolitical contestation”.
“Global economic recovery relies on predictable global payment systems and the smooth operation of banking, supply chains, trade, tourism and financial flows.
“We will continue discussions on practical measures to facilitate trade and investment flows through the increased use of local currencies,” President Ramaphosa said on the second day of the summit.
President Ramaphosa also said the bloc was “‘deeply concerned about conflicts across the world that continue to cause great suffering and hardship”.
“As South Africa, our position remains that diplomacy, dialogue, negotiation and adherence to the principles of the United Nations Charter are necessary for the peaceful and just resolution of conflicts.
With the BRICS partnership straddling four continents and five countries that are home to almost three and a half billion people, President Ramaphosa said the bloc has, over the years, been a major driver of global growth, trade and investment.
It is for this reason, the President said, that the agenda of peace and stability ought to be supported, as it is the precondition for a better and more equitable world.
“The world is changing. New economic, political, social and technological realities call for greater cooperation between nations.
“These realities call for a fundamental reform of the institutions of global governance so that they may be more representative and better able to respond to the challenges that confront humanity,” the President said.
This year’s edition of the BRICS Summit is a significant one, not only because it is the first to be hosted in person since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent global restrictions, but because of the interest is has attracted from other countries, with over 20 countries having applied to join the bloc of developing nations.
President Ramaphosa said while BRICS is firmly committed to advancing the interests of the Global South, BRICS stands ready to collaborate with all countries that aspire to create a more inclusive international order.
“BRICS stands for solidarity and for progress. It stands for inclusivity and a more just, equitable world order. It stands for sustainable development.
“We are an inclusive formation of developing and emerging economies that are working together to benefit from our rich histories, cultures and systems to advance common prosperity. We do so because we know that poverty, inequality and underdevelopment are the biggest challenges facing humankind.”
Advancing the African agenda
The theme for this year’s summit – ‘BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Mutually Accelerated Growth, Sustainable Development and Inclusive Multilateralism’ – is testament to the group’s realisation that Africa is pivotal to the world’s sustained development, something that President Ramaphosa says is a strategic priority for South Africa during its chairship of BRICS.
The President has welcomed the ongoing engagement of BRICS countries with Africa in the spirit of partnership and mutual respect.
The objectives of reciprocal trade and investment, he said, are some of the pillars in building an Africa that is able to compete on an equal footing in the global economy.
“The African Continental Free Trade Area, once fully operational, will unlock the benefits of the continental market and generate mutually beneficial opportunities for both African and BRICS countries,” President Ramaphosa said.
As the world grapples with climate change, the President said it has become crucial to ensure that the transition to a low-carbon, climate resilient future is just, fair and takes into account differing national circumstances.
In line with this objective, BRICS nations need to advance the interests of the Global South and call for industrialised countries to honour their commitments to support climate actions by developing economy countries.
President Ramaphosa expressed his full confidence that the 15th BRICS Summit will advance the cause of common prosperity and progress.
“We are confident that this 15th BRICS Summit will enrich and inspire our work towards the achievement of a more humane global community,” he said.
The summit, which will wrap up on Thursday, has already seen the hosting of the BRICS Business Council and the signing of a joint memorandum of cooperation, which will see China helping South Africa to power critical institutions as the country continues to work on a plan to deal conclusively with load shedding. – SAnews.gov.za