Many nations across the globe are showing interest in joining the BRICS, a clear indication that the bloc has remained true to its values of strengthening multilateralism, driving reform as well as boosting global economic growth, South Africa’s foreign minister Naledi Pandor has said.
BRICS, an economic bloc that includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, was formed on June 16, 2009. South Africa joined BRICS in December 2010.
Pandor, the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation addressed delegates on Tuesday at the first BRICS Sherpa and Sous-Sherpa meeting of 2023 in the Limpopo province of South Africa.
South Africa took over the chair of BRICS from China at the beginning of this year and will host the 15th BRICS Summit from August 22 to 24.
“The significant interest in joining BRICS by many is a clear sign that BRICS has remained true to its values of strengthening multilateralism, driving reform as well as boosting global economic growth and stability,” Pandor said, adding that these characteristics are of great attractiveness to many nations in different parts of the world.
South Africa, thus, selected the theme for 2023 as ‘BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Mutually Accelerated Growth, Sustainable Development and Inclusive Multilateralism’.
Congratulating China for its leadership of BRICS in 2022, Pandor said it had been “a challenging year on many fronts.” “Yet we saw our BRICS partnership overcome differences to provide global leadership, particularly in matters of interest to the global South, as these issues are increasingly neglected by our other international partners,” Pandor said.
“As we Chair BRICS, we do so in a world with hidden fault lines revealing themselves,” she said, adding that the world has not been as fragmented as it is today in many decades.
Pandor said that with the pandemic eroding decades of development and the world facing geopolitical contestation, attention from global challenges that should be collectively addressed is diverting.
“We need to combat the effects of climate change. We need to help the African continent finally silence the guns. These are the challenges of the most desperate in the world,” she said.
Pandor said there were predictions that the economic impacts of the pandemic, the conflicts across the globe, and unilateral fiscal measures would only worsen this year and that there would be deepened social and political consequences.
“Of course, as BRICs, we must find ways of addressing these emerging problems. I believe that not all is doom and gloom,” she said.
“Renewed hope is something that BRICS can offer to the world (and) the international community, particularly the global South,” she added.
“BRICS can provide the leadership necessary to strengthen multilateralism, bring about meaningful reform and can also work together to drive a sustainable global economic recovery that benefits not only us but the broader global South,” the minister said.
Pandor emphasised that BRICS seeks to address conflicts through diplomatic means, through negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations, with the intent of creating a peaceful and harmonious world focused on cooperation rather than confrontation and conflict.
“We intend to build on the momentum of 15 years of BRICS cooperation,” she said, adding that the momentum expanded the narrow focus which brought the member countries together and now includes cooperation across the three pillars of political and security, economic and financial, and social and people-to-people cooperation.
“As BRICS, we will also build on our shared commitment to improving the lives and livelihoods of our people, of advancing the interests and developmental goals of the global South, and our founding vision of a more just, equitable and fair global political, economic, and financial landscape with increased representation and voice,” Pandor said.
The minister added that the establishment of the BRICS Business Council a decade ago and the BRICS Think Tanks Council had both added significant value to the partnership and had much more to offer in aligning policies and cooperation to the needs of the people, communities and business sectors of the BRICS countries.
Pandor commended the commitment and effort of the Sherpas and Sous-Sherpas, senior officials of the BRICS partners, calling them the “engine that drives our BRICS cooperation”.
“The spirit of solidarity, respect and friendship that clearly prevails in your meetings lays a solid foundation for our cooperation at the political level and it allows our cooperation to stand the test of time and holds us together when the storms inevitably pass by,” Pandor concluded.
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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)