Brics countries to provide financial and political support to curb future pandemics: Ramaphosa
President Cyril Ramaphosa says Brics countries have agreed to mobilise political and financial resources needed to respond to future pandemic preparedness.
This follows SA's participation in the 13th Brics summit last week.
Ramaphosa, writing in his Monday weekly newsletter, hailed the partnership, which he said has reaped the benefits of economic co-operation and continues to do so, 11 years on.
“Bilateral trade has grown, particularly with China and India, with commodity exports and manufactured goods imports featuring strongly,” he said.
“The Brics countries continue to be important sources of foreign direct investment in key areas such as mining, automotive, transportation, clean energy, financial services and IT.”
Ramaphosa made reference to Deloitte’s 2018 review of SA’s membership in the partnership which found that Brics partners “invested three times more capital in the country compared to the seven years prior to 2011”.
He said these investments and projects have led to significant job creation, despite unemployment reaching a record high of 7.8-million in the second quarter of 2021.
The countries are said to have also agreed on the need for mutual recognition of national documents of vaccination and systems of Covid-19 testing — something vital to cross-border travel in the future, Ramaphosa said.
As part of future pandemic preparedness, he said the partners had agreed to establish a virtual Brics vaccine research & development centre and a Brics integrated early-warning system to forecast future outbreaks of infectious diseases.
“In support of economic recovery, Brics partners agreed to strengthen collaboration in catalytic sectors such as energy, IT, science, technology and innovation, agriculture and the green economy. These are all important sectors identified in our economic reconstruction and recovery plan announced last year,” Ramaphosa said.
The partnership was also expected to accelerate the country’s move towards low-carbon development in the fight against climate change.
“This is particularly important within the context of climate action. Like most countries, SA seeks to move towards a low-carbon development path that is inclusive, sustainable and takes into account our status as a developing country. The Brics energy research co-operation platform will be valuable as we move to diversify our energy sources.”
The partnership was of immense strategic importance, he added.
“In the 11 years since we joined Brics, our membership has substantially advanced our national interest.
“Being a member has enhanced our position as an important emerging economy. It has given us access to policy and technical expertise of larger and established economies, as well as access to the support of the development bank. It has strengthened our activism on the global stage, particularly around reform of multilateral institutions.”