President Cyril Ramaphosa explains why BRICS and SA's foreign policy is vital to the nation’s progress

President Cyril Ramaphosa said South Africa’s Foreign Policy was important to the country’s growth and hosting the 15th BRICS Summit would increase collaboration and investment opportunities for the country. Image: GCIS

President Cyril Ramaphosa said South Africa’s Foreign Policy was important to the country’s growth and hosting the 15th BRICS Summit would increase collaboration and investment opportunities for the country. Image: GCIS

Published Aug 20, 2023


President Cyril Ramaphosa has stressed the importance of playing good hosts to the mass influx of visitors over the next week or so as a number of political and business delegates arrive in the country to attend the 15th BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) summit which will be held in Johannesburg.

In a nationally televised address to the nation, Ramaphosa reminded South Africans that the foreign relations the country sought would increase collaboration, secure greater trade opportunities and increased investment, and would result in working closely with partners across the globe to entrench peace and democracy.

“Through stronger relations with other countries, manifested through investment and trade relations, we can grow our economy, create more opportunities for new businesses and create jobs,” he said.

South Africa’s foreign policy aimed to promote the country’s national interest based on the protection and promotion of our national sovereignty and constitutional order.

It is also aimed at improving the well-being, safety and prosperity of its citizens, and the achievement of a better Africa and world.

“The key pillars of our foreign policy include the promotion of human rights, peace and stability and the strengthening of trade and investment ties with other countries,” he said.

Ramaphosa said that South Africa’s foreign policy stance it had taken since the advent of democracy had positioned South Africa as a reliable and influential partner on the continent and in the world.

This, he said, had enabled the country to have friendly and valuable relations with countries around the world at political, diplomatic, trade, investment, sporting, social and many other levels.

It was these principles that guided South Africa’s participation in BRICS, he said.

Together, the members of BRICS make up a quarter of the global economy, they account for a fifth of global trade and are home to more than 40% of the world’s population.

He said BRICS as a formation played an important role in the world due to its economic power, market potential, political influence and development cooperation.

“Yet the value of BRICS extends beyond its sheer size.

“BRICS countries can collectively shape global dynamics, and acting together, have the potential to drive significant changes in the world economy and international relations.

“Together, the BRICS members have used their collective voice to call for a world that is more equitable, balanced and governed by an inclusive system of global governance,” he said.

Ramaphosa said that being a BRICS member had created positive opportunities for South Africa and had further enabled the country to have a strategic relationship with China.

Based on this strategic relationship between South Africa and the People’s Republic of China, the two heads of state would sign several agreements during President Xi Jinping’s State visit on Tuesday in Pretoria.

“We have steadily strengthened trade and investment ties with other BRICS countries alongside collaboration in areas like development, skills, technology, security and innovation,” he said.

South Africa has benefited from the New Development Bank, which was established by the BRICS countries in 2015.

South Africa country has been funded by the bank in several infrastructure projects to the value of R100 billion in sectors such as roads, water and energy.

“South Africa has always championed the interests of Africa within BRICS. To further advance the African development agenda, more than 30 Heads of State and Government from across Africa will be attending the summit.

“We want to build a partnership between BRICS and Africa so that our continent can unlock opportunities for increased trade, investment and infrastructure development,” he said.

Ramaphosa added that there were great opportunities for other BRICS countries to participate in the African Continental Free Trade Area by locating production and services in various countries on the African continent, including South Africa’s own, by partnering with local companies and entrepreneurs.

The 15th BRICS Summit, taking place this week in Sandton, is expected to discuss a number of issues including the important issue of the possible expansion of the membership of BRICS.

More than 20 countries have formally applied to join BRICS and several others have expressed an interest in becoming part of the BRICS family.

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