(PresidencyZA / Twitter)
(PresidencyZA / Twitter)
As the 10th annual Brics summit draws to a close on Friday, South Africa can look back at the event as one of relative success.
Heads of state from Brazil, Russia, India and China all visited Mzansi this week, taking part in policy discussions and hammering out a strategy going forward.
SA perhaps cannot compete with the super-economies of their counterparts, but that hasn’t stopped Cyril Ramaphosa and his team using the summit to their advantage. All things considered, this was a very promising week for South Africa.
We start with perhaps the biggest news of the week, as Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to pump $14 billion (R196 billion) into South Africa over the next few years. The investment deal also featured a loan to Eskom to the tune of R33 billion.
President Ramaphosa stated that sectors due to benefit from the foreign investment include general infrastructure, ocean economy, green economy, agriculture and finance.
The South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (NECSA) and Rusatom Healthcare, the healthcare division of Russian state-owned nuclear corporation Rosatom, have signed an agreement on cooperation in the sphere of non-power related uses of nuclear technology.
The parties also plan to construct a commercial cyclotron in South Africa to further increase the production capacity of nuclear medicine in the region. A cyclotron is another cost-effective method of producing various radiopharmaceuticals.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by all Brics members. The agreement has been put in place to ensure closer collaboration in the promotion of matters related to air quality, water, biodiversity, climate change and waste management
In terms of the MoU, the participants also agreed to additional arrangements that ensure effective implementation of environmental cooperation.
The defining piece of legislation from the summit is the Johannesburg Declaration. It features 102 individual commitments signed by all five countries, that vow to support each other in tackling everything from terrorism to drought.
But it’s perhaps the economic pledges that look the most promising for South Africa. Brics are looking to establish their own credit ratings agency – to rival the likes of Moody’s and provide an alternative that isn’t rooted in the “western world.”
South Africa also retain their access to Brics’ National Development Bank, which acts as an extra source of funding for any projects the five countries multilaterally give the green light to.
The African representation at this year’s summit was the biggest ever seen at a Brics conference. The leadership of Rwanda, Senegal and Gabon were even given their own consultative roles with the group, to develop economic partnerships going forward.
SADC member states such as Mauritius, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Seychelles, Tanzania, Mozambique, Malawi and Madagascar were all able to send their own delegations to the gathering.
A stronger Africa is mutually beneficial for Mzansi and the continent itself. Brics has opened the door and provided profitable opportunities to these countries.
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