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africa|health|security|systems|tourism

Ramaphosa sees more to gain from Brics as he gears up for Leaders’ Summit

Image of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa

20th June 2022

By: Thabi Shomolekae

Creamer Media Senior Writer

     

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President Cyril Ramaphosa will join the virtual fourteenth Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa ) Leaders’ Summit, on Thursday, hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Ramaphosa hopes to strengthen South Africa’s ties with the Brics countries, particularly for job creation.

He highlighted the gains from the partnership in trade, tourism, health and food security.

More than 17% of South Africa’s exports in 2021 were destined for other Brics countries and over 29% of South Africa’s total imports came from these countries.

South African trade with other Brics countries reached R702-billion in 2021 up from R487-billion in 2017.

Pre-pandemic, 65% of tourists travelling on vacation to South Africa were from Brics countries, according to Ramaphosa.

“…these markets will therefore be expected to make an important contribution to the recovery of this sector. It is therefore significant that visitors from India and China can now make use of our new eVisa programme to make it easier and less costly to visit our country,” he said.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Brics countries have collaborated in the health response, which Ramaphosa believes has put South Africa in a good position to deal with future health emergencies.

“After several years of planning, the virtual Brics Vaccine Research and Development Centre was launched in March. This centre will enable Brics countries to engage in joint vaccine research, development and co-production. It will contribute to the equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, strengthen health systems and help our countries to respond to future pandemics,” Ramaphosa said.

Brics Bank, also known as the New Development Bank, has provided $2-billion to each of its member countries to support economic recovery during the pandemic.

Meanwhile, as food prices rise across the world, owing to Russia’s war against Ukraine, Brics has implemented a Food Security Cooperation strategy to maintain agriculture production; maintain an unhindered supply of seeds, fertilisers and other agricultural inputs; and maintain access to markets and the stable functioning of food value chains.

“The value of South Africa’s membership of Brics has grown substantially since we joined this group of emerging economies 12 years ago. As we work to rebuild our country in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, there is much to be gained from our participation in Brics and the relationships we have established with other member countries," Ramaphosa said.

Edited by Sashnee Moodley
Senior Deputy Editor Polity and Multimedia

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