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Seifsa attends Brics Summit

6th October 2023

     

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The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) has commended South Africa and the South African segment of the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (Brics) Business Council on its successful hosting of the Brics Summit – held from August 22 to 24 – and Business Forum.

“The world has stood to take notice that the Brics pact is not simply a loose agreement, but a formidable platform on which tangible traction is being registered. South Africa has done a phenomenal job to showcase this and encouragingly brought the entire African continent along.”

On matters of economic policy, Seifsa contends that cooperation is always critical, and cooperation between a group of countries that constitutes 30% of global gross domestic product, 42% of total population and 20% of international trade, presents a good opportunity for economic progress among these countries.

“The global South has historically been fragmented in its approach to economic cooperation and the Brics platform is a key and strategic avenue to [rectifying] this,” Seifsa notes.

More than 40 countries have expressed interest in joining Brics and of them, nearly two dozen have formally asked to be admitted.

“Expanding the bloc with additional countries will only serve to strengthen the reach, clout and influence of the cooperation.”

Seifsa welcomes the report released in September that Chinese investors view South Africa as one of the most attractive investment destinations on the continent.

“This underscores Seifsa’s view that, despite the headwinds that the economy has faced in the recent past, opportunities abound. ”

At the Brics Manufacturing Forum hosted on Monday, August 21 – an event in which Seifsa participated – a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition and the China African Development Fund; and a second between the Bank of China and the Industrial Development Cooperation.

The

MoU focused primarily on deepening industrialisation and collaborating with development funding institutions to allocate funding for special projects in South Africa.

Seifsa notes that Brics economies accounted for about 21.3% of South Africa’s trade in 2022. It was suggested that South Africa might be able to improve the balance of trade by increasing exports to the other Brics members.

“However, talking up our potential is not good enough. We need policies to be [implemented] with speed and urgency [. . .] to enable companies to become globally competitive in areas where we have competitive advantages.”

Further, Seifsa argues that South Africa must push for the accelerated implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement to boost Africa’s economic growth.

“South African companies are the largest trading partners in Africa – Brics and AfCFTA offer huge opportunities to grow our economy and address the unacceptably high level of unemployment,” Seifsa concluded.

Edited by Nadine James
Features Deputy Editor

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