BRICS expansion a big boost for business in South Africa: CEO

 ·28 Aug 2023

Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) CEO Busisiwe Maviso says the expansion of BRICS could substantially boost South Africa’s trade.

Mavuso said that she was pleased that the BRICS members mainly focused on how they could help each other’s development instead of expressing anti-West rhetoric, with many nations focusing on trade and the regulations surrounding it.

Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition Ebrahim Patel said there is a need to enhance trade to accelerate growth, with the minister noting that Africa’s young and growing population, the African Continental Free Trade Agreement and entrepreneurship on the continent should see Africa as the next destination of global growth.

“This was a strong positioning for South Africa as an enabler and gateway to the growth of Africa,” Mavuso said.

“These themes are exactly the right ones to have focused on. The fast-growing economies of BRICS – leaving aside Russia, whose fate is bound up in its own geopolitical issues – do have a great deal to gain from trade with each other.

“We also have a lot to learn from each other, particularly on how to transition our energy systems and create the infrastructure we need.”

She added that South Africa will benefit from this increased cooperation within the expanded bloc, enabling capacity to grow.

She said this would not be seen as a threat to the West as a booming South African economy would welcome investment, trade, tourism and more.

To achieve growth, South Africa must also leverage its trading relationship with the West – which imports large amounts of South African manufactured goods – to grow in fast-growing markets like India and China.

An important focus was on having fair trade rules to stop imbalanced relationships within an expanded BRICS, with countries requiring guidelines for their relations.

She also commended President Cyril Ramaphosa for reinforcing the commitment to multilateralism and the United States Charter, which carefully balanced BRICS aspirations and engagement with the West.

Mavuso noted that BRICS could do much to support and promote business opportunities that the bloc presents, with the expanded BRICS holding over 47% of the world’s population and 37% of the world’s GDP on a purchasing power parity basis.

“Given the respective rates of growth, member countries will account for the majority of the world’s population soon and likely the majority of economic activity in the medium run. That shows its importance as a trade opportunity for South African business,” she said.

“The New Development Bank is well established and already funding infrastructure projects, which will boost economic development in member countries.”

Read: China signs deal to help South Africa’s state-owned companies

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