With the full-blown US-China trade war under way, Transnet chief executive Siyabonga Gama has called on the BRICS bloc to work together to improve infrastructure, promote innovation and reduce policy uncertainty.

He said this would attract private investment, raise economic productivity, promote job creation and reduce barriers to market entry.

He was speaking at the launch of the BRICS Business Council Infrastructure Working Group’s Infrastructure Working Group Project Portal at Kempton Park in Johannesburg yesterday (CORR: 11 June).

Gama is also on the South Africa Chapter of the BRICS Business Council.

On the trade war, which resulted in the Trump administration announcing on Friday that it would impose a 25 percent tariff on up to US$50 billion in Chinese goods, Gama called on the BRICS countries to be a barricade against forces wishing to take them backward.

The announcement by the US led to China saying it would introduce taxation measures of the same scale and strength.

“On the trade front, things are just as bad,” is how Gama described the trade war between the two economic powerhouses.

“Now, more than ever therefore, it has become imperative, therefore that we hold on to our ideals, especially ideals such as BRICS, which allow us to work together for the common good of all our people,” he said.

“It is vitally important imperative that the family of nations that comprise BRICS … remain sentient to the enormous potential that the association has – both to deliver to its people and to ensure that it remains a bulwark against those forces that wish to drive us backwards.”

Gama commended the aims and ambitions of the BRICS Business Council, chaired by Dr. Iqbal Survé, saying they were in concurrence with what Transnet wanted to achieve.

“The 4th Industrial Revolution is transforming the way we do business, how we respond to our stakeholders and the impact we have on society. The 4th industrial revolution affects those living in the present,” he said.

“On this note, the BRICS Infrastructure Working Group has conducted desktop research outlining how BRICS member states are getting ready for the 4th Industrial Revolution.”

Gama said: “This covers technological advancement in enabling transport networks, skills development, innovations to enhance access to information and infrastructure development. Digitalisation in the BRICS countries can easily be the propeller shaft driving economic growth.”

Gama called for the harnessing of a shared vision for the future, saying: “This shared future must continuously be debated and defended, amidst constant debate and new ways of thinking.”

-BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE