Opening Remarks by the Acting Director General of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), Adv Yolisa Maya, on the occasion of the BRICS-National Youth Consultative Forum, DIRCO, 01 November 2013.

Programme Director- Director of Youth in the Presidency
Dr Bernice Hlagala;
Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane;
Ambassador Sooklal;
Speakers from all BRICS Work Streams;
Chairperson of the NYDA Mr. Yeshen Pillay,
President of the South African Youth Council (SAYC), Mr. Thulani Tshefutha;
Government Delegates;
Members of Civil Society Organisations;
Members of the Business Community;
Men and Women of Media;
Ladies and Gentlemen

Let me first take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for having made time out of your very hectic schedules to join us here this morning. Today, we are gathered here to begin a new chapter, engage and resolve on how to carry forward our ideals of youth development within BRICS arrangement. But most importantly, what brings us here today is to provide a platform within which, you as stakeholders to the affairs of our government, can share with us your views, opinions and thinking on the role of BRICS on Youth Development.

We therefore believe that this interface will, amongst others, provide all of us, collectively, with an opportunity to engage on issues of common interest and mutual benefit for the advancement of youth development in South Africa.

Ladies and Gentlemen;

You may be aware that our government, in partnership with the other BRICS countries, has for over the last year, been engaging on preparations to host the 1st BRCS Youth Policy Dialogue which is scheduled to take place in February 2014, in South Africa.  Our involvement in BRICS is therefore a clear indication of the commitments we have made, and in line with our foreign policy, to strengthen South-South Cooperation and its institutions.
Our partnership is based on shared values and converging interests, which include supporting peace, security and development in the Africa, achieving the Millennium Development Goals, strengthening and reforming the multilateral system and promoting a more inclusive, efficient and equitable system of global governance.

We are, as a country, inspired by the confidence BRICS has on South Africa to be the current chair and a hosts of the 1st BRICS Youth Policy Dialogue, which would see the convergence of youth and youth workers from BRICS countries under one roof, engaging on issues of common interest and mutual benefit. We remain honoured for this opportunity bestowed on us by BRICS leadership.

Programme Director;

It is against this background that, AS the Chairperson of BRICS we should engage in open and frank exchanges, even when we have areas of divergence. The strategic objectives are to develop a common South African position on the role of BRICS in Youth Development.  It is therefore my hope that during the course of our interaction today, we will not only get to know each other better, but we will also reinforce a more effective process of strategic consultations between ourselves.
Ideally, our meeting today should assist us identify, at the socio-economic and political levels, areas of possible cooperation on significant international developments with our partners.

I encourage all of you to learn from the ideas generated from this consultation forum in order to take forward an agenda that would strengthen our relations and rapport with other BRICS countries. I am particularly pleased by this programme as it will seek to, amongst others, provide an overview of the BRICS development Bank and the Business Council.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have no doubt in my mind that as discussions and engagement ensue, we will find time to give the necessary attention to issues such as, among others, the plight of, young women in business and social development. We need participation of women to accelerate Africa’s development. BRIS must be seen as a torchbearer and pathfinder of our regeneration and therefore very pivotal in advancing the cause of youth development in Africa. We hope that resolutions emanating from the discussions would guide us in our work as government, and give impetus to our dialogue with other member states.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In conclusion, we encourage you all to continue consultation in the spirit of true solidarity, transcending artificial regional boundaries, language compartmentalization, Anglophone, Francophone, Lusophone and all other post colonial “phones” that is used to divide us and fuel tensions and infighting amongst us especially in Africa. To all those who will participate in the activities of the programme, we would like to express our sincere gratitude to you for role you seek to play in connecting and inspiring the future of young people in this country. We are pleased to see many young women and men, professionals, academics and think-tanks participating in this programme.

We sincerely hope that you will be connected and inspired by the experiences of the youth development veterans who will be participating in this programme. Wisdom is intelligence that stood the test of time. That is why mentorship is very important in building the future of our successors.

We wish you all the very best in you engagements.

I thank you.

For enquiries please contact Mr Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, at 082 884 5974.

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