What the BRICS summit means for SA

Glen Norman
July 26, 2018

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa speaks during his opening of the BRICS Summit in Johannesburg, July 25, 2018.

The investment pledge and loans were announced after a meeting between South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, in Pretoria on Tuesday.

"The global community has reached a new crossroads; and we are facing a choice between cooperation and confrontation, between opening-up and a close-door policy, and between mutual benefit and a beggar-thy-neighbor approach", Xi said. "A global trade war should be rejected because there will be no victor".

Energy Minister Jeff Radebe signed agreements with 27 independent power producers in April, and said last month that bidders would be invited later this year for projects that could amount to investment of as much as 50 billion rand.

"The major discussions of BRICS happen at a national level and Gauteng is not leading in those discussions but Gauteng is playing a significant role as the host. we see this province as an important destination for investment in this country", Tau told the M&G in an interview.

"Unilateralism and protectionism are mounting, dealing a severe blow to multilateralism and the multilateral trading regime", he said.

The BRICS group, comprising more than 40 percent of the global population, represents some of the biggest emerging economies, but it has struggled to find a unified voice - as well as achieving sharply different growth rates.

In a speech aimed largely at the Trump administration in the US, President Xi said there could be no victor in any trade war.

This year's event which is being held under the theme "BRICS in Africa, Collaboration for Inclusive Growth and Shared Prosperity in the 4 Industrial Revolution" is seeking to build on the progress made in advancing the development of the organisation and its member countries.

BRICS is a platform for dialogue and cooperation among emerging markets and developing countries.

"China... and will take active measures to expand imports from South Africa so as to support the government", Xi said.

"South Africa represents only 1% of United States steel imports, but our representations to the Americans to exempt us from the tariffs were unsuccessful".

The other leaders of BRICS countries - Russian President Vladimir Putin, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Brazilian President Michel Temer - are expected to join the three-day meeting in South Africa.

"BRICS has the strategic potential to re-shape world trade".

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