President Ramaphosa shared key outcomes from the 15th Brics Summit, including proposed UN reforms and expanded bloc membership.
President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation on Sunday to share major outcomes and their implications of the 15th Brics Summit, held in Johannesburg last month.
Ramaphosa said the summit saw an overwhelming presence of international delegates, drawing leaders from the five Brics nations as well as representatives from 61 other countries.
15th Brics Summit outcome
Ramaphosa commended the positive participation from African nations, noting that delegates from 46 countries were present, as were 20 African heads of state.
He also commended the effort that went into organising the summit and the hospitality shown to guests and delegates.
“I want to thank the people of South Africa for welcoming these guests from across the African continent and the world. Delegations from some countries consisted of up to 600 people and all our visitors were warmly received and were able to experience the best of South African hospitality.”
The president said the attendance of United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres further elevated the summit’s importance.
Brics ripple effect on South Africa
Since foreign policy is essential in addressing eradicating poverty, creating jobs and reducing inequality, these international relations are of paramount importance to South Africa.
Ramaphosa also highlighted how stronger international relations boost the economy and social cohesion within South Africa.
He said the Brics Summit focused on collaboration in several areas including trade, combating international crime, climate change, and vaccine production.
United Nations reform
Ramaphosa said a key decision at the summit was the collective call for reforms within the United Nations, particularly its Security Council.
Ramahposa said Brics leaders agreed the UN should be more democratic and representative, particularly when it comes to Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
“The Brics Summit made several decisions to take forward the struggle for a fairer and more inclusive world order that is focused on the equal development of all peoples.”
He said it also counts in the bloc’s favour that this call was backed by two permanent Security Council members from the Brics nations.
Expanding Brics membership in 2024
Another major development was the decision to expand the Brics bloc by approving the membership requests of Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
This expansion – effective from January 2024 – aims to make Brics more effective and inclusive. It also represents a broader range of perspectives from the Global South.
Ramaphosa said this brings significant economic and strategic benefits for South Africa as the new members collectively account for nearly a third of the world’s economy.
“Together, these countries make up nearly a third of the global economy and are together home to 46% of the world’s population”, he said.
Strengthening economic ties
Ramaphosa further highlighted the achievements of the Brics Business Council and the Brics Women’s Business Alliance in fostering trade relations.
“We have regular interaction at many levels, among our business people, our scientists, our professionals, our cultural workers, our sports men and women, our academics, our public servants and our young people. This extends to interactions between political parties in Brics countries”, Ramaphosa said.
The interactions across various levels – including between business professionals to academics – will result in more opportunities for the South African market, he said.
Lastly, the establishment of the Brics Youth Council will sustain and guide these multi-level interactions, aiming to shape future relations and provide a platform for younger generations.
“Through these interactions, we exchange information, skills, technology and experience. The engagements between our respective business people at this Summit resulted in several opportunities for the export of South African products to large countries with big markets.
“All this enhances our progress as a country”, Ramaphosa concluded.
During the same speech, Ramaphosa also addressed allegations involving the Russian ship Lady R which docked at Simonstown Naval Base in 2022.