President Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa addressed the media on Friday, sharing his excitement on a very successful BRICS Summit in South Africa.

“BRICS is not a talk shop, now, more than before we have an obligation as the BRICS community to continue the legacy of Nelson Mandela of human solidarity and co-operation in a manner that would ensure that the people of our counties and the world at large are emancipated from the clutches of poverty, unemployment and inequality.

“As we undertake this seemingly insurmountable task, we must forever be inspired by the words of Nelson Mandela when he said: ‘It always seems impossible until it is done’,” Ramaphosa said.

President Ramaphosa’s address was off the hook. “We should have a BRICS football cup, a BRICS music festival and a BRICS rating agency.”

I think we should have a BRICS currency.

I attended the BRICS Summit, and engaged with many captains of industry, ministers and global leaders, across the globe.

I would like to congratulate South Africa on hosting a world class event.

Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies welcomed BRICS leaders, saying: “Allow me to expand on the collaborative opportunities that the content accords you and our partners in our collective growth.

“We have launched the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) that will create a large, integrated market of 1.07billion people with a combined gross domestic product of $3.3trillion (R43trln).

Integration agenda

“The AfCFTA is based on a development integration agenda which aims to promote structural transformation and the development of regional value chains. This agenda offers opportunities for co-operation on industrial development and to boost productive capacity through diversification and beneficiation of resources.”

Davies concluded by saying: “The digital dawn potentially creates enormous opportunities for economic growth, the development of global value chains, industrial upgrading and leapfrogging into a new industrial age.

“We need to work actively to ensure these processes support inclusion and positive transformation of our respective economies. It also becomes critical for us to put in place the infrastructure and regulation required to realise the benefits accruing from such. We wish to see increased collaboration by way of technology transfer and skills exchanges.”

The president of the New Development Bank (NDB), KV Kamath, said: “By year 2020, the total demand for infrastructure investment in BRICS countries is expected to be $1.1trillion, with a funding gap of $134billion, which needs to be mobilised.

“Today’s landscape of infrastructure investment is markedly different, with more opportunities than ever, which are brought about by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, the internet of things, virtual reality, the shared economy, 5G, among others, all driving changes that are shaping the foundation of traditional infrastructure business.”

To date, the NDP has approved 21 projects, aggregating $5.1bn. All of these projects focus on improving sustainability and addressed some of the critical developmental needs of our member countries.

Dr Iqbal Survé, chairperson of the BRICS Business Council, said: “I have a vision, as a South African, African and internationalist, that our continent will thrive, that millions of unemployed youth will be educated with the skills required for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. We are seeing an upswing in investment.

“The BRICS Business Council is driven to improve the lives of people, and one way is through large infrastructure development. It is a fact that Africa has fast fast-growing economies, but it needs massive investment in infrastructure build.

“Development will improve the changes of the continental successes, but it will be meaningless without access to investment, which working within the BRICS framework makes possible”.

Survé said: “There is much that can still be done and it is our hope that the impact and effects of our work will be felt for generations to come.”

Adri Senekal de Wet is executive editor of Business Report and Personal Finance.

– BUSINESS REPORT