Your Excellencies, Honourable BRICS Leaders,
Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Captains of Industry,
Ladies and gentlemen.
Good Morning and a very warm welcome to our BRICS Leaders and our esteemed foreign business delegation here in South Africa.
We are truly pleased to see the level of enthusiasm amongst business leaders from the BRICS countries.
The feedback from the moderators on the outcomes of the Business Forum is most encouraging.
We can see from the remarks of the Chairs of the Business that we have indeed a formidable BRICS Business Council with distinguished Captains of Industry.
Honourable BRICS Leaders,
Three years have passed since South Africa’s inclusion in the BRICS group of fast-growing emerging economies, and we are now starting to see the benefit of mutual cooperation between our countries.
We meet during a critical time where stronger South-South trade is more compelling, with the most dynamic emerging economies leading a structural shift in the global economy.
In this regard, we are convinced that through purposeful engagement we can negotiate new types of mutually beneficial developmental agreements with BRIC countries.
The South African Government has pledged its commitment to continuously engage and support business in South Africa.
We will also work tirelessly in tandem with our BRICS counterparts to forge stronger partnerships to deliver prosperity and progress to the people of South Africa.
These relationships are also viewed as mutually beneficial for our BRICS partners.
An example of such partnerships can be the leveraging of South Africa’s position on the continent as a leading investor through partnering with BRICS companies to explore commercial opportunities in Africa.
Ladies and gentlemen,
This 4th BRICS Business Forum is an important event in helping to cement the business relations between our respective countries.
You have done a lot of work at this session. You have focused on issues ranging from agriculture and agro-processing to energy, the green economy, mineral beneficiation, infrastructure and finance.
These conversations would have contributed significantly to furthering business to business relations between our respective countries.
A number of projects have been considered as part of the deliberations, these include the BRICS Development Bank, BRICS Marine Cable and the BRICS Trade and Development Risk Pool.
The BRICS-led bank is intended to mobilise domestic savings and to co-fund infrastructure in developing regions.
The aim of the Trade and Development Risk Pool is to establish a sustainable and alternative insurance and reinsurance network for the BRICS countries.
The BRICS Cable will focus on a new high capacity of 28 400 km linking the BRICS countries and this will remove the dependency on developed countries as interconnection points by providing a direct route amongst the BRICS countries.
These areas of cooperation also tie in directly with the overarching theme of this BRICS dialogue, namely BRICS and Africa – partnership for development, integration and industrialization.
I am pleased to note the signing of Memorandum of Understanding and Cooperation Agreements during the Business Forum on major projects will enhance the business to business engagements between BRICS nations.
A key measure to further increase intra-BRICS trade and investment is the establishment of the BRICS Business Council which we are launching at today’s session.
The Council will serve as a platform to strengthen and promote economic, trade, business and investment ties between the business communities of the five BRICS countries.
The BRICS Business Council’s objectives include the strengthening of trade relations; promotion of business relations; technology transfer; and cooperation in the areas of skills development, banking, the green economy, manufacturing and industrialization.
Furthermore, the formation of the Business Council this morning reiterates the commitment within the private sector to foster closer collaboration between the BRICS nations. I am sure that this will set the tone for the BRICS Business Council going forward.
The Chairs of the BRICS Business Council and members should play a very active role in carving out an implementation plan to accelerate economic cooperation and partnerships between enterprises of the BRICS nations.
In this regard, we would like to see such tangible and practical projects when we meet at the next Summit in Brazil.
Opportunity is immense. Now is the time for the BRICS Business Council to lead private sector engagements and projects for mutual benefit and cooperation.
We congratulate the Business Council and all business delegates for such fruitful work. We look forward to growing trade and economic cooperation within the BRICS community.
I thank you!