Like a wall of BRICS

  • July 26, 2018

It was on December 24, 2010 that South Africa officially became the member of an independent association of major economies – the group was renamed as BRICS to reflect the extended membership.

On July 25, 2018, the newest member of the family hosted the annual gathering in Johannesburg for the second time, and greeted the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India and China with open arms.

“We welcome you to our shores just a week after the world marked the centenary of the birth of the father of our nation and a global icon, President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela,” said South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in his opening remarks at the 10th summit, which is centred on the theme ‘Collaboration for inclusive growth and shared prosperity in the 4th Industrial Revolution’.

He added, “Intra-BRICS cooperation has been gaining momentum in areas such as finance, agriculture, trade, combating transnational crime, science and technology, health, education, security and academic dialogue.

“One of the most important achievements of the first decade of BRICS was the establishment of the New Development Bank, which fills a critical gap in project funding.

“Since its formation, the bank has disbursed loans totalling $5.1 billion, with approvals amounting to $1.7 billion this year alone.

“As we enter the second decade of BRICS cooperation, we are determined to expand the Bank’s role in economic and social development.

“There is great potential for investment in Africa.

“In the past decade, Africa has grown at a rate of 2 to 3 percentage points faster than the global GDP, with regional growth predicted to remain stable above 5 percent in 2018.

“This growth will be supported by increasing foreign direct investment flows, public investment in infrastructure and higher agricultural production.

“In addition to this, Africa’s working age population is expected to double to 1 billion in the next 25 years.

“More opportunities are presented by the agreement to establish the African Continental Free Trade Area, which provides access to a market of over 1 billion people and a combined GDP of over $3 trillion.

“The value of this free trade area will only be fully realised through massive investment in infrastructure and skills development.

“This presents opportunities for BRICS countries, some of whom have extensive experience in infrastructure development and are world leaders in education and skills development.”

Excerpts of the speech of President of China, Xi Jinping

“We are witnessing major changes unfolding in our world, something unseen in a century. This is a world of both opportunities and challenges for us emerging markets and developing countries. We should pursue BRICS cooperation in the historical process of global transformation, and we should promote the development of our own countries in the historical course of promoting the common development of both BRICS countries and other countries in the world, thus making new advances in the next Golden Decade.

“We BRICS countries should keep abreast of the historical trend, seize development opportunities, jointly meet challenges, and play a constructive role in building a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind.

“The business community is the mainstay of BRICS economic cooperation and a dynamic force driving it. As business leaders, you have a great role to play in shaping the second Golden Decade of BRICS cooperation. I hope that you will fully leverage your strengths to enhance win-win cooperation for common development between our five countries. As business leaders, you should take bold steps to explore new ground in pursuing reform and innovation. And working together, you can surely open up new horizon for the development of our five countries and other emerging markets and developing countries. I also hope you will keep in mind the needs of the people and pursue both economic and social returns, so as to increase public support for BRICS cooperation.

“This year marks the centenary of the birth of Nelson Mandela. Let me quote one of his famous sayings, “After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.” Indeed, the history of BRICS cooperation is a journey of our five countries climbing great hills only to reach new heights. I am convinced that when our five countries forge ahead together, we will scale new peaks, reach new heights, and make even greater contribution to peace and development of mankind.”

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