The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) in partnership with the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) held a media briefing on Monday evening to talk about BRICS in Africa. The event was themed ‘Working towards the Realisation of the African Aspirations.”
Key speakers for the meeting were DIRCO’s deputy Minister Luwellyn Landers and India’s Former Commerce Minister Anand Sharma.
Deputy Minister Landers stated that South Africa’s membership of BRICS will further demonstrate tangible achievements and benefits for the country and the African continent.
Landers noted that 2018 is a very important year for South Africa, being the host nation of the 10th BRICS Summit in July, while simultaneously commemorating Nelson Mandela’s birth centenary.
“This is an opportune time to again reflect on the important pillars of our foreign policy that Nelson Mandela identified in 1993 when he penned an article title South Africa’s Future Foreign Policy: New Pillars for a New World. He added that “economic development depends on growing regional and international economic cooperation in an interdependent world.”
The deputy Minister believes that South Africa’s foreign policy outlook is predicated on African history and identity.
“We are Africans by birth and therefore our country belongs to this continent and not as a result of geographical composition. In the same vein you will appreciate that Africans are part of the Global South comprising in the main by countries which were colonised and citizens who we subjugated for a long time.” Landers said.
He added that these shifts and changes on the global sphere is in line with the African Agenda.
“The unity and renewal of our African continent must be pursued together with efforts to transform the global system. Humanity can thrive when their collective and individual interests and aspirations are responded to and the BRICS formation is titling the balance of forces to ensure exactly that.”
Landers also mentioned that the country’s most grave and pressing challenge is youth unemployment.
During his State of the Nation address, President Cyril Ramaphosa pointed out that young South Africans will be moved to the centre of the country’s economic agenda.
“I am certain that this can be achieved within the ambit of the intra-BRICS cooperation work programme, as contained in the BRICS Action Plan. Similarly, we want to see deepened engagements with the South African BRICS Business Council, the BRICS Civil society, and Academic community.” Landers added.