BRICS's Johannesburg Meeting: A Way Forward

By Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan | Gwadar Pro Jul 31, 2023

Editor's Note: The author is Executive Director of the Center for South Asia & International Studies (CSAIS) Islamabad and Regional Expert on China, BRI & CPEC. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of Gwadar Pro.

Most recently, a three day BRICS summit relating meetings had taken place in Johannesburg, South Africa. It is good omen that during this meeting a comprehensive dialogue and discussion on various hot issues including Russia-Ukraine conflict, global security concerns, cyber security concerns, global developmental challenges and food security were properly discussed. 

Top national security advisors, experts and senior diplomats and policy makers from BRICS and developing nations had participated in the meeting. The meeting was also attended by Wang Yi, new foreign minister of China.

While meeting with Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, minister in the Presidency of South Africa and the country's coordinator of BRICS National Security Advisers and High Representatives on National Security, Wang Yi pledged Beijing’s support to South Africa in hosting of BRICS Summit showing the People’s Republic readiness to work with South Africa and other members of BRICS in order to further strengthen and significant.

Wang Yi reiterated support to South Africa in protecting its national sovereignty and dignity. Experts say that the meeting shows the willingness of China to strengthen bilateral ties by deepening inter party exchanges and by expanding cooperation in fields on trade, poverty reduction and food security. In this regard, BRI would be a value addition. 

According to official data, China is already South Africa’s biggest trading partner in Africa, as the trade between both countries was of value US$24.2 Billion during 2022. Therefore further expansion in trade between the two countries would help South Africa’s economy to recover following tortuous post-COVID recovery.

Moreover, South African rand has already started to rise against dollar, and has already risen 6 percent after reaching a new low in June. This is after Wang Yi had pledged that China would act as a catalyst to help boost flailing economy.

Additionally, Wang Yi also announced that China would help South Africa in stimulating its industrial development and further making it capable of independent development. Chinese enterprises (more than 180) that have already been important for South Africa and the African continent at large as they have created hundreds of thousands of jobs, created infrastructure development projects, and have invested a cumulative total of US$6.5 billion are further urged to invest in South Africa in order to create a stable and secure business environment that would promote economic stability in the country.

The Chinese diplomat in his meeting with the president also proclaimed that Beijing wants to enhance its cooperation with South Africa and other African nations and help Africa in the realization of goals of Agenda 2063 which include economic development, eradication of poverty, political integration, establishment of peace and security on the African continent and improvement in democracy and justice. Moreover, he urged that a China-Africa community with a shared future should be built in order to strengthen brotherhood between the two.

To conclude, BRICS countries should further enhance cooperation in macroeconomic policy, food & energy security, banking & finance, monetary & fiscal cooperation, artificial intelligence, climate change, biodiversity, water conservation, agriculture development and last but not least green technologies. Cooperation in lithium battery, hydro-energy generation, smart living, e-commerce, digitalization and poverty eradication should be the way forward. 

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