Recapping the highlights of the week, the news making headlines is the expansion of Brics, which is now welcoming six new countries into its fold: Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Argentina, Iran, Ethiopia, and Egypt.
Announcing the outcomes of the 15th Brics Summit that ended in Johannesburg yesterday, Ramaphosa said this decision is set to provide the African continent with greater influence in shaping the trade and geopolitical policies of the group, marking a significant development in regional co-operation and global affairs.
“This signals that Brics has embarked on a new chapter in its effort to build a world that is fair, a world that is just, inclusive and prosperous,” Ramaphosa remarked.
Ramaphosa highlighted that the summit had actively urged multilateral financial institutions and international organisations to contribute constructively towards establishing a worldwide agreement on economic policies.
He praised the adoption of the Johannesburg II Declaration, which encompasses essential Brics perspectives on issues of global economic, financial, and political significance, marking a noteworthy step in addressing these global concerns collaboratively.
The Johannesburg II Declaration looks to unlock trade opportunities within the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) - a trade agreement among African Union (AU) member states that has the goal of creating a single market for goods and services across the African continent.
SA’s Minister of Trade and Industry said in his keynote address at the summit, that the accord aims to portray Africa no longer as just a raw material supplier but an emerging force of innovation and industrialisation in the global arena.
�� HE President @CyrilRamaphosa in a pull-aside meeting with UN Secretary General HE António Guterres on the margins of the BRICS-Africa Outreach and BRICS Plus Dialogue taking place at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg#BRICSSummit2023 #BetterAfricaBetterWorld �� pic.twitter.com/GKUtqhrWnI— Presidency | South Africa ���� (@PresidencyZA) August 24, 2023
A standout moment at the summit was the commemoration of the Brics Business Council's 10th anniversary and the inaugural participation of the Brics Women's Business Alliance in face-to-face discussions with Brics leaders. This historic event unfolded during the Africa WBA Trade Conference, held from 20 August to 21 August in Durban.
The gathering welcomed 500 women-led small and medium enterprises from 18 nations, including Zambia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Saudi Arabia, Ghana, Tanzania, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, and various other African countries.
It underscored the pivotal role of cross-border trade and strategic investment partnerships in promoting global economic growth, empowering women in business, and driving job creation worldwide.
Moreover, Brics also warmly welcomed the participation of youth representatives: while speaking at the summit, Asanda Luwaca, the chairperson of the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), announced that the 9th Brics Youth Summit held recently had agreed to create a youth council.
By and large, the 15th Brics Summit vividly showcased the shared values and mutual interests that form the bedrock of collaboration among Brics nations, reinforcing the notion of mutually advantageous co-operation.
“The importance of Brics people-to-people exchanges in enhancing mutual understanding, friendship and co-operation was affirmed,” Ramaphosa noted. He welcomed the news of Brics expanding to 11 countries with enthusiasm, emphasising it as a moment for all developing nations to celebrate.
A diverse group of nations, Brics will now represent 46% of the world’s population and an even greater share of its economic output.