President Zuma concludes visit to Australia after participating in the G20 Summit

16 November 2014

President Jacob Zuma has concluded his visit to Brisbane, Australia where he led the South African delegation to the G20 Leaders' Summit, which took place on 15-16 November 2014.

The main outcome of the Leaders' Summit was a commitment to lift the G20's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by at least an additional 2 percent by 2018 with a view to significantly increase job creation and enhance investment and trade, as well as development and inclusive growth. G20 Leaders further pledged to fully implement this growth strategy with the aim of reducing inequality and poverty.

President Zuma stated that: "This year's G20 Summit was organised differently as it focused mainly on measures to achieve economic growth globally and to create jobs by lifting the world's GDP by 2 percent. Australia, as the current chair of the G20, has kept the agenda of the Summit focused on issues related to the global economy, development, growth and trade."

President Zuma added that during the Summit, Leaders from G20 member countries briefed their peers on the current developments in their respective regions and that South Africa provided an African perspective on a number of issues such as the global economy and trade, infrastructure development, inclusive growth, the global financial situation and combating the scourge of Ebola, amongst others.

On addressing the current global economy, President Zuma stated that: "In order to sustain global growth, we need to, amongst others, accelerate infrastructure development, especially in Africa. This will help lift intra - Africa trade and contribute immensely toward enabling our Continent to industrialise and to create jobs in high value sectors, so that Africa can produce value - added manufactured goods."

In this context, South Africa welcomed the establishment of the G20 Global Infrastructure Hub, which will help develop a knowledge-sharing platform and network between governments, the private sector, development banks and other international organisations.

The President has welcomed G20 commitments to modernise the international tax system saying that this was critical to ensuring fairness, and to secure countries’ revenue bases.

“Although the tax loss attributable to Base Erosion and Profit Shifting has not been quantitatively measured, there are indications that developing countries suffer severe tax revenue losses as a result of this practice by some of the multinational corporations. All countries with open economies stand to benefit when multinationals pay their fair share of taxes. We support the work done by the OECD to co-ordinate international efforts to curb base erosion and profit shifting. We have already implemented measures in our domestic tax legislation in relation to Base Erosion and Profit Shifting. We are fully committed to resolve outstanding technical and policy issues and to finalize these by the end of 2015".

Further, South Africa was among 51 countries that signed the Agreement on Automatic Exchange to Financial Information in Berlin, in October 2014.

“We restate our commitment to begin exchanging information in 2017, which will be underpinned by legislation currently before our Parliament. We feel strongly that we must continue to contribute towards strengthening tax administration capacities of developing and low income countries to fully participate in this reform agenda" said President Zuma.

The President has also called for open channels of communication amongst regulators across borders.

“We have called on the Financial Stability Board and other international Standard Setting Bodies to make concerted outreach efforts to consult with and include the experiences of emerging market and developing countries, as well as other non-G20 countries," said the President.

He said South Africa appreciates the increased representation by emerging market economies in the governance structure of the Financial Stability Board.

“As G20 countries we must lead in reviewing our domestic regulatory frameworks to give expression to the good work overseen by the FSB," he said. 

With regard to trade, President Zuma reiterated the fact that trade can no longer be one - sided. "The African Continent wants to move from being a net exporter of raw materials to exporting value-added goods through beneficiation and manufacturing. In this regard, Africa has adopted an ambitious industrialisation, infrastructure development and market integration programme," said the President.

President Zuma also stated that there was a robust discussion during the Summit on the global financial system. It was agreed that the International Financial Institutions (IFIs) needed to be reformed as emerging markets and developing economies now account for the largest share of global growth. "This shift in the structure of the global economy must be reflected in the governance structures of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Trade Organisation (WTO)," he said.

In conclusion, President Zuma announced that South Africa and Senegal made a presentation on the need to work together in addressing the serious challenge posed by the Ebola epidemic. It was agreed that Ebola is a global problem and not only limited to Africa. "The G20 Leaders pledged to contribute more resources in curtailing the outbreak of Ebola and thanked international organisations such as the United Nations, World Bank, IMF and others, for their support and contributions," said the President.

G20 Leaders recognized the need to support international efforts to contain and control the epidemic and adopted a separate, stand-alone statement on Ebola. This is unprecedented in the G20 and reflects the readiness of the Group to respond to such serious challenges.

President Zuma attended a BRICS Leaders Summit and a G20 Leaders' Retreat prior to the official G20 Summit.

The BRICS Leaders met to discuss the agenda of the G20 Summit and to provide input on issues such as economic growth and development and the role that business can play in stimulating economic growth. Infrastructure development in Africa and addressing the Ebola epidemic were also discussed by the BRICS Leaders.

The President was accompanied by Mr Nhlanhla Nene, Minister of Finance, and Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation.

The G20 Leaders' Statement on Ebola and the Summit communiqué can be found under the following links:

https://www.g20.org/sites/default/files/g20_resources/library/brisbane_g20_leaders_summit_communique.pdf

https://www.g20.org/sites/default/files/g20_resources/library/g20_leaders_brisbane_statement_ebola.pdf

Enquires: Enquiries: Mr Clayson Monyela +27 82 884 5974.

Issued by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation

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