SA to host Brics summit, adding to Ramaphosa’s 2023

The Herald

South Africa, which is presiding over Brics this year, will host the summit for the bloc during the second half of the year, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation has confirmed.

South Africa assumed its Brics presidency on   January 1, 2022, taking over from its China counterpart which hosted the 14th summit virtually, under the theme “Building a high-quality partnership to usher in a new era of global development”.

The 15th Brics Summit returns to an in-person meeting, following three years of virtual meet-ups as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Although the host city remains unknown, South Africa previously hosted the Brics Summit in Johannesburg (2018) and Durban (2013), with all five heads of state of Brics nations attending.

Brics, the group of five of the world’s largest emerging economies — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — aims to promote development, trade ties and cooperation among member countries, among other objectives.

South Africa’s presidency of Brics this year comes at a time when President Cyril Ramaphosa is already under pressure to address the myriad issues facing the country, including instability at state-owned power utility Eskom, growing the economy, and dealing with unemployment.

Thembisa Fakude, senior researcher for Africa Asia Dialogues (Afrasid), told Moneyweb the Brics presidency is a “pain task” for president Ramaphosa, who has a complex agenda set out for him this year.

President Ramaphosa was reinstated as ANC party president last month, essentially meaning that much of his campaign for a second term as South African president is likely to take place this year, ahead of the 2024 general elections.

Post the ANC elective conference, he came under pressure to reshuffle his cabinet.

“It was a pain to accept this responsibility this time around, given that there is so much going on, particularly with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” says Fakude.

He adds that South Africa may also be forced to pronounce its position on the Russian war in Ukraine which has stretched for almost a year without South Africa choosing a side.

Professor Bonke Dumisa, an independent economic analyst, says the involvement of South Africa in Brics is a “nice to have”, adding that South Africa has benefited very little from its membership.

“Brics was formed with all the idealistic intentions, but it has failed to deliver. So, when you are the president for that year, of the toy telephone, it does not really give you so much joy,” says Dumisa.

He adds that President Ramaphosa will not be able to make a significant impact on the bloc’s New Development Bank, which is on an expansion drive to add new members, since South Africa has no resources to stimulate the collective effort of Brics members. — Moneyweb. 

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