Chinese enterprises positive on BRICS investment

Chinese enterprises have positive expectations on investment in BRICS countries.

“The investment in Brazil will reach 70 percent of our company’s overall overseas investment, after the completion of the acquisition,” Ge Junjie, chairman of Hunan Dakang Pasture Farming, said in Shanghai Saturday at a seminar on overseas investment.

Ge, whose company is based in central China’s Hunan province, said that this June the company’s strategic investor, Shanghai Pengxin Group, and its wholly owned subsidiary abroad DKBA, had acquired a 53.99 percent stake in Belagricola, a company specializing in agricultural equipment sales in Brazil.

In 2016, the group bought a 57 percent stake in Fiagril, a Brazilian trading company.

More Chinese companies are seeking investment opportunities in BRICS countries.

Huang Qingfeng, president of Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries, said that the company started investment in Brazil, India, Russia, South Africa in 1996, 2005, 2006 and 2008 respectively, seeking cooperation partners. The company is now negotiating a fully automated wharf project with Indian customers.

Earlier this year, Beijing Gas Group bought a 20 percent stake in a Rosneft subsidiary.

Chinese companies are now investing in more countries and diversified industries, according to Cline Zhang, branch manager of Citibank (China) Shanghai Branch.

Zhang said that Chinese companies are behaving in more robust fashion, focusing on sustainable development and risk aversion.

The potential that BRICS members will expand investment to each other is large. Overall foreign investment by BRICS has reached $200 billion, accounting for 12 percent of total global investment, yet bilateral and mutual investment among BRICS accounted for only 6 percent of their overall investment.

According to Huang Qingfeng, a stable domestic economic policy is a major prerequisite to attract overseas investment. Meanwhile, BRICS countries can improve their standard of service and guarantee for overseas investors.

“Using the renminbi as a settlement currency, as well as providing more convenient tax and visa facilities, can prompt more Chinese companies to invest in BRICS,” Huang said. “More financial and consulting services are needed to help lower risks.”

China Economic Information Service and PricewaterhouseCoopers China published a BRICS Investment Environment Report on Saturday, which provides information on macro-economics, the investment environment and the latest investment policies.

In the future, the upgrading of domestic demand and the industrial complementarity among BRICS will be the main factor driving Chinese companies to invest in BRICS, according to industry insiders.

Ge Junjie said that the future integrated operation of Belagricola and Fiagril would enhance his company’s global competitiveness and lower the risks of overseas operation.

“Agricultural products from Brazil, such as sugar, coffee and fruit juice are expected to enter Chinese market with better quality and lower prices in the future,” Ge said.

– Repubhub/China Daily 


Muralist honours legendary Ndebele artist Esther Mahlangu

A life-sized Ndebele-inspired mural painted across a road in Tribeca is the latest muse of New Yorkers. According to Daily Vox, American muralist Iman Shaklin Roberts painted a two-lane mural, honouring legendary Ndebele artist Esther Mahlangu. The mural marks the collaboration between South African Tourism’s office in the United States, South African Airways and the New York bicycle sharing platform, Citi Bike.

Roberts took to Instagram to share her inspiration behind the mural, explaining that it represents “a feminine energy force that is all encompassing, inclusive and awe-inspiring”.

When I first came to New York to attend @prattinstitute in 2009 I didn’t imagine that this would be a city I would have a child in, create lasting memories in, let alone have success in my artistry in. Creating a mural in honor of an artist I’ve known all my life, in a city that isn’t welcoming to many, feels unreal. It feels like an aligning moment many of us have when the universe cocreates with us and is in agreement with our path. To you NYC,I present Xola, (Stay in Peace) –((A South African Name I named my daughter–*Alignment*))) a piece that is representative of a feminine energy force that is all encompassing, inclusive and awe-inspiring. Xola welcomes you to charge and open your divine feminine here amidst all that tries to stand against you. This is my form of resistance and protest– my expression. #blessed — photo credit (@ericmtownsend )) THANK YOU!!

A post shared by Imani Shanklin Roberts (@imaniniasr) on

In October last year, the 81-year old Ndebele artist was awarded with the 2016 Minister’s Award at the Lilizela Awards which was held at Sandton Convention Centre. The South African Tourism industry paid tribute to Mam’ Esther for being a tourism innovator and pioneer.

Mahlangu is no stranger to the Lilizela Awards, previously a category winner in the Roots and Culture category. Mahlangu’s bold, colourful and grasping Ndebele designs have landed her deals with global brands like BMW (contributing to the interior of the new BMW 7-Series), British Airways, Fiat and Belvedere luxury vodka.

Additional reporting: Daily Vox

SA Experts to take part in Russia’s Small Business Forum of the SCO and BRICS


A large delegation from South Africa will attend the 3rd Forum on Small Business of the SCO and BRICS Regions, which will take place om 28-29 September in the City of Ufa in Russia. Speakers from RSA will take part in the plenary session and a number of discussion meetings. Representatives of the business society and governmental bodies will participate in the Forum in order to strengthen and widen ties with entrepreneurs from Russia and other countries, as well as to find new business partners.

The Third Forum on Small Business of the SCO and BRICS Regions takes place in Ufa (Russia, Republic of Bashkortostan) on September 28-29, 2017. Over 1,300 delegates are expected to come from over 20 Russian regions and from abroad, including India, China, Brazil, South Africa, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan.

South African experts will speak at the plenary session Peculiarities, Role, and Place of Small Business in the SCO and BRICS Regional Economies. Achievements and Challenge as well as at the sessions Youth Entrepreneurship: A Major Vector of Business Cooperation in the SCO and BRICS, as well as Barrier-Free Cooperation in the SCO and BRICS. Among RSA’s speakers are the following:

  • Тебохо Секлохо Мешак, руководитель молодежной организации Next Generation, координатор молодежной контактной группы БРИКС в ЮАР, представитель Молодежного предпринимательского совета;
  • José Andre,  Managing Director at CAB Capital (PTY) Ltd;
  • Craig Appel, Department of Small Business Development.

The forum is organised by the Government of the Republic of Bashkortostan, State Committee of the Republic of Bashkortostan for Entrepreneurship and Tourism, and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Republic of Bashkortostan. The forum is supported by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation and the SCO Business Council.

The highlight of the forum is the plenary session Peculiarities, Role, and Place of Small Business in the SCO and BRICS Regional Economies. Achievements and Challenges attended by the Head of the Republic of Bashkortostan, heads of relevant federal and regional ministries, representatives of the expert community and international delegations.

The list of the invited speakers includes the First Deputy Chairperson of the Russian Government Igor Shuvalov, Official Secretary – Deputy Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation Oleg Fomichev, Head of the Republic of Bashkortostan Rustem Khamitov, Vice-President of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Elena Dybova, Director General of the SME Corporation Aleksandr Braverman, Director General of the Russian Export Center Petr Fradkov, Director General of the Agency for Strategic Initiatives Svetlana Chupsheva, Vice-President of Business Russia Nonna Kagramanyan, Executive Secretary of the SCO Business Council Sergey Kanavsky, President of the all-Russian NGO for small and medium-sized business OPORA RUSSIA Aleksander Kalinin, as well as the representatives of China and Kyrgyzstan. The session will be moderated by Farkhad Samedov, Deputy Prime-Minister of the Government of the Republic of Bashkortostan.

During the plenary session, the participants will discuss the regional peculiarities of small business development and the most promising market niches for entrepreneurs. The delegates will estimate the role of small business in various economies and analyze incentives for small business in Russian and the SCO and BRICS countries.

The forum will feature sessions on barrier-free cooperation in the SCO and BRICS; financial, legal, and infrastructural support to small business; support to export-oriented business. The participants will touch upon the issues of franchising, youth entrepreneurship, new digital technologies, etc. Special attention will be paid to the best practices of Russian and international small businesses. During the practical session, the participants will discuss the main mistakes of entrepreneurs, investment attraction mechanisms, and solutions to business obstructions.

Additional information support will be provided at the consultation platforms with representatives of the small business supporting organizations: Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation, Corporation on Small Business Development, Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Russian Export Center, Agency for Strategic Initiatives, Business Russia, etc.

Apart from that, both days of the forum the participants will be offered to visit Business Without Borders, an international track of presentations of delegations and individuals. This initiative will help small businesses find interested partners, build relationships with decision makers, negotiate, and conclude promising contracts.

Official website:

BRICS: A Keyplayer in Global Affairs

September 11, 2017
Southern African News Features Harare Tanaka Chitsa
Displayed with permission from

There is need to intensify global efforts to address and close the widening gap between rich and poor countries, which continue to affect sustainable development.

This was said by the Chinese President, Xi Jinping at the ninth BRICS Summit, held in Xiamen, China on 3-5 September.

The BRICS group comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa is a fast-growing global economic collaboration.

According to recent studies, the combined economies of the BRICS countries could eclipse the combined economies of the current richest countries of the world by the year 2050.

Xi said given the growing status of the BRICS group it is critical that it continues to work with other countries to reform and reconstruct the international order that is biased towards a few countries at the expense of the majority.

He said one of the challenges facing BRICS is to address this old order system and ensure that all countries are equal under international law.

“We need to make the international order more just and equitable,” President Xi said, adding that, “our ever closer ties with the rest of the world require that we play a more active part in global governance.

“Without our participation, many pressing global challenges cannot be effectively resolved. We should speak with one voice and jointly present our solutions to issues concerning international peace and development.”

He said there is need to “make economic globalization open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all, build an open world economy, support the multilateral trading regime and oppose protectionism.”

“We need to advance the reform of global economic governance, increase the representation and voice of emerging market and developing countries, and inject new impetus into the efforts to address the development gap between the North and South and boost global growth.”

At the summit, the BRICS pledged to continue working with developing countries including those in Africa to help unlock the potential.

According to the Xiamen Declaration issued soon after the summit, the BRICS countries reaffirmed commitment to strengthen cooperation with Africa and help the continent to address challenges such as illegal wildlife trade, unemployment, and poor infrastructure.

This will be achieved through strong support for African Union’s implementation of various targets under Agenda 2063 in pursuit of the continental agenda for peace and socio-economic development.

Some of the major aspirations under Agenda 2063 include high-speed railway and interconnected road networks, shipping lines, sea and air transport, as well as well-developed Information Communication Technology (ICT) and a digital economy.

In a move to increase cooperation among BRICS countries, China pledged to launch an Economic and Technical Cooperation Plan for BRICS Countries, with a total of 500 million yuan (approximately US$ 77 million) set aside for the first term to facilitate policy exchange and practical cooperation in the economic and trade fields.

The impact of the BRICS countries is already being felt across the global including in Africa. For example, a regional development bank was recently launched by the BRICS countries to service the African continent.

The Africa Regional Centre of the New Development Bank (NDB) based in Johannesburg, South Africa. The regional bank is expected to unlock the continent’s socio-economic potential through providing resources for infrastructure and other development.

The NDB, formerly known as the BRICS Development Bank, is headquartered in Shanghai, China.

The main aim of the BRICS Development Bank established in February 2016 was to mobilize resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS member states and other emerging economies, as well as in developing countries.

This year’s summit was held under the theme, “BRICS: Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future” The tenth BRICS Summit will be held next year in South Africa.

For the first time in history, the summit saw five non-BRICS countries invited to participate in the deliberations — Egypt, Kenya, Tajikistan, Thailand and Mexico.

Their invitation is part of plans by the BRICS to broaden cooperation with non-members. This development is a welcome development for developing countries in Africa as it provides an opportunity to strengthen partnership with developed and emerging economies.

Promoting Services Trade

By Zhou Xiaoyan

A services trade cooperation roadmap was adopted at the trade ministers’ meeting to boost economic complementarities and diversification. With the trade in services becoming a new driver for global economic and trade growth, the ministers decided to intensify cooperation on information exchange, capacity building and coordination within BRICS to make services trade a new highlight of BRICS trade growth.

Although the group’s combined GDP accounts for nearly one fourth of the global total, its export of services accounted for only 11.3 percent of the world total in 2015, according to data from the World Trade OrganiSation.

“Services trade is not only a strong driving force of global economic and trade cooperation, but also a precious opportunity for countries to balance their trade structure. It will also push forward the development of China’s services industry and supply-side structural reform,” Xu Hongcai, Deputy Chief Economist with China Center for International Economic Exchanges, told Beijing Review.

Zhang Shaogang, Director General of the Department of International Trade and Economic Affairs at China’s Ministry of Commerce, said services trade covers a wide range of sectors and BRICS countries have demand for cooperation in every one of those sectors.

“As the first step in implementing the roadmap, we will carry out cooperation in the prioritized areas,” Zhang said at the press conference on August 1. “The first prioritized area would be tourism, with Russia being a hotspot travel destination for Chinese, and tourist visits to India, South Africa and Brazil gaining more popularity.”

An Yongming, a retiree living in Haikou, capital of south China’s Hainan Province, recently had an eight-day trip to Moscow and Saint Petersburg, which cost him a little more than 10,000 yuan ($1,500).

“People of my generation have a very deep fascination with Russia and deep memories of the former Soviet Union. We grew up listening to stories about the Soviet Union and reading Russian novels. Russian, instead of English, was the foreign language some of the people of my generation acquired,” An told Beijing Review. “Our minds are full of Russian names and places. I’d always wanted to visit the country.”

However, An thinks the local government has much to do to improve the tourist experience in Russia.

“Most Russians don’t serve their customers. Drivers don’t help passengers carry their luggage. There’s no Chinese language service on the flight, although the plane is full of Chinese. There are no Chinese signs or even English signs in most tourist spots,” An said. While he would still recommend people of his age to visit Russia, he thinks younger generations should visit countries with better tourist services.

In addition to the tourism industry, Zhang said other prioritized areas include healthcare, computer and related services, research and development, business services, construction services, distribution and education.

As the first achievement of the trade ministers’ meeting, China and Brazil signed a two-year action plan on August 1, pledging to bolster collaboration in services trade. It would include project consultation, project construction, information technology, automation of banking services, travel, culture and traditional Chinese medicine.

Read more about strengthening e-commerce cooperation within BRICS here.

This article was originally posted on Beijing Review.

BRICS Gets More Byte

By Zhou Xiaoyan

Wang Kexiang, a 65-year-old retiree living in Beijing, is addicted to nuts. Since he has a heart problem and the doctor has told him eating nuts is good for his heart, he eats them every day. What’s more, he has also persuaded his entire family to join him in his munching habit. Now the household spends almost 500 yuan ($75) a month on nuts, around one sixth of his monthly pension.

Among the various kinds of nuts available, Wang loves pine nuts imported from Brazil the most, saying they are bigger and better-tasting than domestic ones. That’s why Wang was excited when he heard the news that there would be closer e-commerce cooperation among BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

“Currently, Brazilian pine nuts are sold here at a very high price. A very small bag could easily cost up to 50 yuan ($7.5). I am hoping I can buy more cheaper types in the future,” Wang told Beijing Review. “That would be one of the concrete benefits for us ordinary people from closer ties among BRICS nations.”

Strengthening e-commerce cooperation was one of the eight major consensuses reached at the Seventh Meeting of the BRICS Trade Ministers in Shanghai on 1-2August. Others included more cooperation on digital networks at ports, services trade, intellectual property rights, investment facilitation and opposing protectionism.

The consensuses cover every aspect of BRICS economic and trade ties, said Bai Ming, Deputy Director of the International Market Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation. “They are interconnected and support each other, opening the next decade of BRICS cooperation,” Bai told Beijing Review.

A virtual feast

As more and more consumers choose to make purchases online, e-commerce is enjoying mushrooming growth around the world.

In China, cross-border e-commerce imports reached 1.2 trillion yuan ($179.3 billion) in 2016, up 33.3 percent from 2015, and the figure is expected to reach 1.85 trillion yuan ($276.4 billion) this year. The number of cross-border online shoppers surged 82.6 percent to 42 million in 2016, and is anticipated to hit 59 million this year, according to data from, an e-commerce research institute.

“E-commerce offers small and medium-sized enterprises an opportunity to directly participate in global trade with more diverse customers and tailored products,” Bai said.

“Presently, China’s cross-border e-commerce platforms are growing by building warehouses as well as collection and distribution centers in foreign countries. But that’s far from enough in terms of BRICS e-commerce cooperation,” Bai said. “The domestic cross-border e-commerce network should be linked with the networks of other BRICS nations to create a larger cross-border network. China could use its experience to help them build their own cross-border e-commerce networks and then realise network linkage.”

Zhong Shan, China’s Minister of Commerce, said Chinese people will soon see more food on their dining tables from Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa, following the e-commerce cooperation initiative adopted at the Seventh Meeting of the BRICS Trade Ministers.

“BRICS ministers all think strengthening cooperation on e-commerce will boost trade, promote industrial upgrading, create jobs and help developing countries as well as small and medium-sized companies integrate into the global value chain,” Zhong said at a press conference following the meeting. “Therefore, we decided to establish the BRICS e-commerce work group to start comprehensive cooperation and strengthen pragmatic cooperation in policy sharing and capacity building. It’s expected that e-commerce will become the new momentum for BRICS trade and economic cooperation.”

This article was originally posted on Beijing Review.


Alternative Ratings

International credit-rating agencies are products of economic globalisation, especially the liberalisation and integration of financial and investment activities. As borrowers and bond issuers could be geographically remote from one another, lenders were unable to assess borrowers’ creditworthiness or possibility of default. However, they needed to know the likelihood of borrowers paying back debts so that they could limit the risks of their investments. Against this backdrop, influential international rating agencies emerged to assign credit ratings to debt issuers.

Since 1860, when Henry Poor started the rating agency Standard & Poor’s, the business of rating major companies and governments has become gradually dominated by three big agencies—Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch, which still remain the industry standard-bearers and take up 95 percent of the global rating business.

In 1975, U.S. financial watchdog, the Securities and Exchange Commission, acknowledged these three as nationally recognized statistical rating organizations. As an economic superpower that had material influence on international financial markets, the United States, in effect, reinforced the monopoly of these agencies by granting such an endorsement.

Discontentment arises

This history shows that the currently dominant rating agencies have Western attributes. They represent the unchallengeable impact Western nations exert on the global economy. Such a condition results in a biased approach when the agencies assign ratings to bond issuers from emerging nations like BRICS members—Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

Over the past decades, emerging economies have impressed the world with rapid economic progress. With their GDP shares declining from a global perspective, Western countries’ endorsement has become less persuasive to emerging nations. While these rating agencies spare no efforts to maintain their monopoly, BRICS nations are looking for favorable rating assessments to scale up economic growth. Conflicts between them have,therefore, become unavoidable.

This can be seen from the recent moves to downgrade the credit ratings of BRICS nations. Fitch lowered Brazil’s sovereign credit rating to BB+ from BBB- in December 2015, and further downgraded it in May 2016. Since 2016, only Fitch among the big three has assigned an investment-grade rating to Russia. In April, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch successively labeled South Africa’s state debt as junk following the nation’s domestic political reshuffle. Even China’s stable outlook was changed to negative by Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s during the past year. India’s ranking was even worse, resulting in its domestic media widely criticizing the agencies for bias. In fact, all five members of BRICS have questioned the way in which the three agencies operate with double standard and entrenched political bias.

Reasonable response

Although BRICS states may be irritated by the downgrades that may potentially cause market upheaval, they should look at the rating agencies with a cool head.

Admittedly, as well-established organizations, the agencies have developed complete and effective assessment models and approaches. Their professionalism deserves full recognition. It is also debatable whether the agencies deliberately targeted emerging nations by lowering their sovereign credit ratings, as developed nations have also had their ratings lowered. Besides, the plummeting oil prices, domestic instability, international sanctions and shrinking foreign investment all contributed to poor economic performance in Brazil and Russia, thus leading to the downgrades. China, South Africa and India face financial risks of a different nature. A reduction in credit rating more importantly reflects international investors’ widespread concerns. Also, the rating calculation is a dynamic process with ups and downs.

Of course, there are problems with the agencies’ rating approaches. For example, as they may not have full access to first-hand information on countries they are rating, the agencies may come up with totally different rating results for the same country. During the European debt crisis, the financial condition of some European countries was worse than those of BRICS nations. However, they still obtained positive ratings. It is suspected that such results were reached through double standard. Free elections or the state of “democracy” is also one of the key factors in deciding sovereign credit ratings. This is an evident ideological bias.

No intention to overturn

Believing the current rating agencies are assigning them unfair credit scores, BRICS members have been in discussion to support the establishment of their own rating service. During the 2016 BRICS Summit in Goa, India, they reached a consensus in this regard. They further discussed the possibility of such an independent agency this June when the Second BRICS Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting was held in Shanghai.

To further push forward BRICS cooperation and play a greater role in global financial markets, BRICS members should establish a trustworthy rating agency independent of the dominating big three. To this end, they should stick to some basic principles and have a clear objective.

First, the ultimate goal is not to overturn current incumbents, but to offer a better and fairer credit rating service alternative.

Second, the new rating agency, co-founded by BRICS nations, can learn from the mature practices of the big three and develop innovations to surpass them. Over the past decades, the growth rates of BRICS countries have outpaced those of developed nations. Their global GDP share is also on the rise. But it will still take time for them to catch up with developed economies, which are expected to dominate the international financial markets in the long term. Developed nations still spearhead finance and investment theories and innovation as well as manpower resources. It is not realistic or smart to try to bypass the big three, whose accumulated experience exceeds 100 years. Learning, reforming and then innovating is a more feasible and practical path.

Last but not least, the new rating agency should seek a higher and broader vision and focus more on communication and cooperation with various international and regional organizations and non-BRICS nations. After all, the purpose of a new rating agency is not just to support business between BRICS nations, but also to break the current monopoly and offer a trustworthy credit rating service alternative for developing nations as a whole, as well as developed ones.

Copyedited by Chris Surtees

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#BRICSSummit2017: Highlights from President Xi Jinping’s keynote address

President Xi Jinping delivered his keynote address at the opening ceremony of the BRICS Business Forum on Sunday 3 September 2017 in Xiamen, China.

Under the theme, Working Together to Usher in the Second “Golden Decade” of BRICS Cooperation, Jinping made remarks about Xiamen’s history as a trading port and also spoke about China’s external cooperation.

“On a personal note, Xiamen is where I started off when I came to Fujian Province to take up a new post in 1985. Back then, being one of the earliest special economic zones in China, the city was at the forefront of China’s reform and opening up endeavour and was brimming with development opportunities. Three decades later, Xiamen has become well known for its innovation and entrepreneurship, with burgeoning new economic forms and new industries, robust trade and investment and easy access to the world with air, land and sea links. Today, Xiamen is a beautiful garden city with perfect harmony between man and nature.”

Jinping also commented on the current status of BRICS cooperation, saying that it has “reached a crucial stage of development”.  “The historical course of global development and evolving international landscape and the historical process of development of the BRICS countries, both individually and collectively, in the context of which BRICS cooperation is pursued.

We are in a great era of development, transformation and adjustment. Although conflict and poverty are yet to be eliminated globally, the trend toward peace and development has grown ever stronger. Our world today is becoming increasingly multipolar; the economy has become globalised; there is growing cultural diversity; and the society has become digitised. The law of the jungle where the strong prey on the weak and the zero-sum game are rejected, and peace, development and win-win cooperation have become the shared aspiration of all peoples.”

Amidst all the developments, many emerging market and developing countries have increased their visibility within  international affairs.

Speaking on global GDP, Jinping said that over the last decade, the combined BRICS GDP as grown by 179%, trade by 94% and urban population by 28% in a bid to stabilise the global economy and delivering tangible benefits to three billion plus people.


President Zuma to attend the 9th BRICS Summit in China

President Jacob Zuma will travel to the Xiamen City, in the People’s Republic of China to attend the 9th Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa (BRICS) Summit, to be hosted by China from 3 – 5 September 2017.

The 9th BRICS Summit in Xiamen will be held under the theme: “BRICS: Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future“.

There has been substantive progress achieved since South Africa joined BRICS in 2011. The formation has strengthened its cooperative mechanism for institutional development, most notably witnessed in the creation of the New Development Bank and the recently launched Africa Regional Centre in Johannesburg.

The Summit will build on the past achievements of BRICS, by deepening BRICS cooperation for common development, strengthening global governance to jointly meet challenges, carry out people-to-people exchanges to support BRICS cooperation and 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 further 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 as embodied in the Bandung spirit, notably its core principles of solidarity, friendship and cooperation, which continue to be a relevant and effective foundation for resolving global issues of common concern and fostering better relations among nations.

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, the President of the New Development Bank as well as review salient economic developments and projects.

In addition to the issuing of the Xiamen Declaration and Action Plan, new proposals will be explored to further deepen cooperation and to expand the BRICS institution-building agenda.

BRICS Leaders will also engage in a Dialogue with Emerging Markets and Developing Countries; the invited countries being 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.

The economic ties between and among BRICS countries are being strengthened through the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership that was adopted during the Ufa Summit in Russia in 2015. In this regard, several agreements in support of the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership will be signed in the presence of BRICS Leaders.

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 while in the same period, imports from BRICS countries also increased from R115 billion to R230 billion. Total Intra-BRICS FDI was R554 trillion at the end of February 2016.

President Zuma will be accompanied by Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation; Mr Malusi Gigaba, Minister of Finance; Mr David Mahlobo, Minister of State Security; Ms Lindiwe Zulu, Minister of Small Business Development; Ms Mmamoloko Kubayi, Minister of Energy; Ms Nomvula Mokonyane, Minister of Water and Sanitation; Mr Des Van Rooyen, Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Gratitude Magwanishe.

Issued by: The Presidency