Pushing investment and inclusive economic growth will be high on the agenda as the nine established Working Groups of the BRICS Business Council facilitate interaction among powerful heads of state, captains of business and innovators at the 10th BRICS Summit on July 25 to 27, 2018.
Buoyed by Dr Iqbal Survé, chairperson of the SA chapter of the Brics Business Council’s assertion that Africa is set for a decade of unbelievable growth and prosperity, the Working Groups have over the last few months increased momentum to showcase South Africa as the most diversified economy on the continent.
Dr Survé says the BRICS account for 42percent of the world population and 25percent of the world’s land; and intra-BRICS trade has increased steadily in the decade since its inception.
He has been on the BRICS Business Council since its inception, contributing to the continuity of leadership and understanding of the mechanisms, protocols, logistics, and preparation required for the annual meeting.
Dr Survé, should be commended for his servant leadership and sterling role in the various platforms leading up to the 10th BRICS Summit, culminating in the Working Groups positioning the BRICS as a catalyst for achieving the National Development Goals, sustainable growth, trade and investment.
The main objectives of the nine established Working Groups of the BRICS Business Council is to facilitate interaction among businesses with a view to better understand the market opportunities, to build synergies based on their respective competitive strength and to promote manufacturing and job creation.
These working groups are where investment, trade collaboration and opportunities are established and encouraged to create opportunity and growth among the BRICS nations and the governments of the BRICS countries. The working groups include Infrastructure; Deregulation; Agribusiness; Financial Service; Energy and the Green Economy; Skills Development; Manufacturing; Regional Aviation; and the Digital Economy.
Hosted in Durban and Johannesburg under the theme “BRICS in Africa: Collaboration for Inclusive Growth and Shared Prosperity in the 4th Industrial Revolution,” the 10th Summit provides a strategic platform for South Africa to expose BRICS partners to a dynamic, and diverse experience on the southern tip of the African continent.
Suffice it to say that the themes of the BRICS Business Council gathering on the eve of the Heads of State Summit to be led by chairperson Dr Survé in KwaZulu-Natal, are aligned to this theme.
It is all systems go for the BRICS Business Council meeting in Durban on July 22 and 23, 2018; and the BRICS Business Forum, which will be held in Gauteng on July 25. This is all thanks to the dedication and commitment of the Working Groups. And I fully concur with chairperson Dr Survé that these events present the ideal opportunity to meet the requirements set by President Cyril Ramaphosa to attract significant foreign investment to the country and continent.
South Africa is on an investment drive to improve confidence in the country’s economy and help spur sustainable and inclusive growth. South Africa’s investment drive aims to attract more than R1.3trillion ($1billion) in new investments over five years that will provide a significant boost to the economy.
President Ramaphosa has put in place a team of special envoys on investment, who are setting about meeting with significant businesses and leaders from all over the world to promote investment in South Africa. In 2017 the gap in private investment was about R375bn and the investment envoys have been tasked with closing about 80percent of that gap.
The working groups are working hand in hand with various departments and key stakeholders will use these platforms to call on BRIC partners to further leverage economic opportunities in the country to attain the targets that have been set by the leadership. The BRICS Business Council Pre-Summit events will discuss important issues such as: The digital economy; Skills development for the 4th Industrial Revolution; and Youth-fostering entrepreneurship, agriculture and food security.
South Africa’s membership of the BRICS alliance of nations is a vital element of the country’s international strategy. In recent years BRICS has increasingly been recognised as a new institution of global governance.
What makes it unique is the fact that five developing nations from diverse regions have managed to institutionalise a multi-lateral platform of global governance that aims to provide mutual support for the nations to achieve both their internal/domestic developmental objectives, as well as shared objectives in terms of international relations.
As it takes over the chairpersonship South Africa’s strategic focus will be to intensify intra-BRICS co-operation in diverse fields, as well as its consolidation as a significant player in shaping a new global political and economic order.
The country’s policy orientation has always been geared towards the consolidation of a regional and continental peace and security architecture, focusing primarily on conflict prevention through preventive diplomacy and early warning systems.
South Africa also works with other African states and multilateral organisations like the UN, African Union and Southern African Development Community to promote international respect for human rights, democracy and good governance.
This is our golden opportunity to showcase what the country has to offer and the lessons we can share with the world. We will spare no opportunity to roll out the hospitality and care that South Africans are known the world over for. This is also a chance for our SMMEs and community enterprises to benefit from the thousands of people who will visit our shores.
My dream is to see young entrepreneurs grow and to strengthen South Africa/Africa collaboration when it comes to the aviation sector. This can only move from being a dream into being a reality when we share the same values and work collectively within our respective given mandates. A top priority in this regard is collaboration amongst BRICS nations to increase global safety standards and enhance aviation and efficiency.
The aviation industry is not just about ferrying passengers from one destination to the next, but it contributes immensely to economic growth, investment growth and nation building. The South African aviation industry, for instance, contributes more than R74billion to the economy and supports 350000 jobs within the airlines, airports, grounds and auxiliary levels. A strong and affordable air transport network facilitates domestic growth, tourism, trade job creation and security, whilst expanding local access to foreign supplies and markets.
It also provides invaluable opportunities for cultural and social exchange by bringing people together. As a nation we are known to close ranks and show our best side when it comes to such big international events. We should all work together to ensure the success of the BRICS Summit that will be hosted in Johannesburg this year.
Javed Malik is chairperson of the BRICS Aviation Group and co-founder and chairperson of Cobra Aviation Group.
The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.