South Africa can gain much from participation in BRICS as it works to rebuild the country in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday in his weekly communication to citizens.
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The value of South Africa's membership of BRICS has grown "substantially" since it joined the group 12 years ago, he wrote ahead of the 14th BRICS Summit scheduled for Thursday. BRICS is the acronym for an emerging-market bloc that groups Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.
The summit will be held in virtual format under the theme of "Foster High-quality BRICS Partnership, Usher in a New Era for Global Development." Ramaphosa outlined the benefits and potentials of BRICS partnership in various fields, including trade, tourism, infrastructure, ties of business communities, health and food security.
He said total trade between South Africa and the other four BRICS countries reached US$43.8 billion in 2021, up from US$30.4 billion in 2017, and that tourists from other BRICS countries accounted for 65 percent of all arrivals in South Africa in 2018.
The summit aims to usher in a "new era" for global development that is more inclusive, sustainable and fair, Ramaphosa said.
"Through the reform of the multilateral system, including the United Nations, and by refocusing the attention and resources of the global community on the sustainable development agenda, the BRICS group can support a sustained and equitable global recovery," he said.
The summit is a valuable platform for South Africa to strengthen ties with its partner countries in support of its own growth and employment creation, and that it provides South Africa an opportunity to contribute to a better world, in which all countries have a better chance to recover from the pandemic and to flourish.