1. September 2017

Zuma hopes that Brics will help SA find ‘innovative approaches, solutions’

President Jacob Zuma is packing for China, where he and a high-profile delegation – from the finance minister to the cooperative governance and traditional affairs minister – will attend the Brics summit in Xiamen City.

China is hosting the annual summit from Sunday till Tuesday, under the theme Brics: Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future.

The summit hopes to deepen cooperation for common development, strengthening global governance to jointly meet challenges, carry out people-to-people exchanges, make institutional improvements, and build broader partnerships.

“South Africa looks forward to meeting with the like-minded Brics countries as it strongly believes that these engagements will contribute to finding innovative approaches and solutions to our identified triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality, as well as the development objectives of the global South,” said presidency spokesperson Bongani Ngqulunga.

Issues of mutual concern such as international conflicts, the fight against terrorism, and reform of the global system of governance, notably the democratisation of the United Nations and the Bretton Woods Institutions will also be discussed.

Leaders will meet with the Brics Business Council, officials from the New Development Bank as well as review economic developments and projects.

There has been substantive progress achieved since South Africa joined Brazil, Russia, India and China to form the bloc in 2011. The formation has created the New Development Bank, and recently launched the Africa Regional Centre in Johannesburg.

Speaking at last month’s official launch of the New Development Bank in Sandton in Johannesburg, Zuma said: “The bank is working on expanding its membership to other countries beyond Brics. We certainly hope that African countries will be among the first to take up membership.” Read: Banker to the emerging world?

Brics leaders will also engage in a dialogue with other emerging markets and developing countries, including Egypt, Guinea, Mexico, Tajikistan and Thailand.

“The dialogue will be reflective of trans-continentalism and bring together nations with a focus on the needs of the Global South in the context of globalisation and future development,” said Ngqulunga.

In 2015, total intra-Brics trade amounted to R3.06 trillion. South Africa’s exports to Brics countries marginally increased from R123 billion in 2011 to R138.2 billion in 2016. Imports from Brics countries also increased from R115 billion to R230 billion.

Meanwhile, Zuma’s trip made headlines last week because the airforce had to rent a plane for his trip to China.
Read: Air force forks out R25m for private Zuma jet rental

City Press reported that Zuma’s trip to China, and one to New York, will cost R25 million in plane rental.

Zuma and his staff have refused to fly with Inkwazi over supposed safety concerns about the jet. (News24, Johannesburg)

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