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Brics Summit to advance cause of common prosperity: S Africa Prez Ramaphosa

Underlining that BRICS stands for solidarity, progress, sustainable development, inclusiveness and a "more just, equitable world order", the president said

Cyril Ramaphosa

Cyril Ramaphosa

Press Trust of India Johannesburg

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The BRICS Summit will advance the cause of common prosperity and progress, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Wednesday afternoon as he welcomed the leaders from Brazil, Russia, India and China at the opening of the 15th BRICS Summit.
Ramaphosa said the BRICS partnership that straddles four continents and five countries that are home to almost three-and-a-half billion people has over the past decades been a major driver of global growth, trade and investment.
We are confident that this 15th BRICS Summit will advance the cause of common prosperity and progress. We are confident that (it) will enrich and inspire our work towards the achievement of a more humane global community, he said.
Underlining that BRICS stands for solidarity, progress, sustainable development, inclusiveness and a "more just, equitable world order", the president said, We are an inclusive formation of developing and emerging economies that are working together to benefit from our rich histories, cultures and systems to advance common prosperity.
Ramaphosa said the BRICS partners know that poverty, inequality and underdevelopment are the biggest challenges facing humankind and are, therefore, determined that the "partnership must be harnessed to drive an inclusive global economic recovery".
He reaffirmed that the African agenda is a strategic priority for South Africa during its Chairship of BRICS this year.
It is for this reason that we have chosen as the theme of this year's Summit: 'BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Mutually Accelerated Growth, Sustainable Development and Inclusive Multilateralism'. We welcome the ongoing engagement of BRICS countries with Africa in the spirit of partnership and mutual respect, Ramaphosa said as he highlighted that the objective was reciprocal trade and investment.
We want the goods, products and services from Africa to compete on an equal footing in the global economy. The African Continental Free Trade Area, once fully operational, will unlock the benefits of the continental market and generate mutually beneficial opportunities for both African and BRICS countries, he said.
On climate change, Ramaphosa said the BRICS partners must ensure that the transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient future is just, fair and takes into account differing national circumstances.
In line with this objective, BRICS nations need to advance the interests of the Global South and call for industrialised countries to honour their commitments to support climate actions by developing economy countries, he said.
Expressing concern over global conflicts, Ramaphosa said peace and stability are preconditions for a better and more equitable world.
"We are deeply concerned about conflicts across the world that continue to cause great suffering and hardship. As South Africa, our position remains that diplomacy, dialogue, negotiation and adherence to the principles of the United Nations Charter are necessary for the peaceful and just resolution of conflicts, he said.
The president said the increasing use of global financial and payment systems as instruments of geopolitical contestation was a matter of concern.
Global economic recovery relies on predictable global payment systems and the smooth operation of banking, supply chains, trade, tourism and financial flows. We will continue discussions on practical measures to facilitate trade and investment flows through the increased use of local currencies," he said.
While there has been a great deal of speculation about the BRICS partners reaching an agreement on local currency trading, none of the other leaders mentioned this in their addresses.
Ramaphosa concluded his opening address with a call for fundamental reform of the institutions of global governance so that they may be more representative and better able to respond to the challenges that confront humanity.
The world is changing. New economic, political, social and technological realities call for greater cooperation between nations. While firmly committed to advancing the interests of the Global South, BRICS stands ready to collaborate with all countries that aspire to create a more inclusive international order, he said.

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First Published: Aug 23 2023 | 6:18 PM IST

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