Africa’s economic agenda to be discussed at BRICS summit


Durban – The BRICS Business Council (BBC) wants to make more full trade opportunities within the bloc ahead of the summit which takes place later this month.

Stavros Nicolaou, head of the SA BBC, said overall trade within the BRICS bloc had grown and between 2017 to 2021 there had been a 44% growth within the bloc and this outstripped the average global growth over the corresponding period.

The African economic agenda for mutually accelerated growth is one of the key issues that will be discussed by the South African chapter of the BBC at the annual general meeting.

The business council AGM will precede the BRICS summit, which is expected to take place at the Sandton Convention Centre and has already seen the heads of state of the BRICS countries accepting the in-person invite from President Cyril Ramaphosa.

South Africa is set to host the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India and China at the 15th BRICS Summit from August 22 to 24.

“There is no doubt that trade has grown within BRICS, but we have noticed that South Africa’s exports have grown within the bloc.

“The analysis we have done is we have to look at the type of exports and we are still top heavy in exporting raw material and importing the finished value added or manufactured products from the other partner countries,” Nicolaou said.

Nicolaou said the country needed to become more focused on what products, outside of raw materials, could be exported to the four BRICS markets.

“BRICS as a bloc represents 31.5% of globalised GDP, it has eclipsed the G7 in terms of global GDP size, so it is a significant opportunity, but we need to get the right products there.”

He said exports had grown, but there was an opportunity to identify, on a complimentary basis, and to look at how to open up routes to market for some of the manufactured goods that were produced in the country and exported.

“Agribusiness is a big opportunity for us and if I have a look at the trade patterns on agriculture, they vary among the four BRICS countries and that in itself presents an opportunity”

“The biggest deficit is with China because China imports a significant amount of manufactured products into South Africa and we have to look at a Chinese buying mission that is coming to the country in the next few days and how do we best utilise those buying missions to even out the trade a little.”

South Africa’s overall trade with its BRICS partners has increased by an average growth of 10% between 2017 and 2021. BRICS now accounts for 21% of South Africa’s global trade in 2022, with trade with China accounting for about 15% of South Africa’s global trade with a total trade of R556 billion. India now accounts for 6% of the total trade, increasing from R140bn in 2021 to R225bn in 2022.


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