Address by President JG Zuma to retreat between Heads of State of BRICS and South American States, 16 July 2014, Brasilia
Your Excellency, President Rousseff
Your Excellencies, Heads of State and Government from BRICS countries
Your Excellencies, Heads of State/Government representing South American Nations
I wish to extend to this esteemed gathering, cordial greetings on behalf of the Government and People of South Africa.
We jointly celebrate the resounding success of our host country as well as its region in securing the hosting of another successful mega-sporting event by a developing country.
As you are aware, South Africa hosted the BRICS Leaders-Africa Dialogue Forum on the occasion of the Fifth BRICS Summit.
I am therefore delighted that we have the opportunity to also meet today with the esteemed Leadership of South American Nations and wish to convey my heartfelt appreciation to President Rousseff for facilitating this engagement.
South Africa wishes to warmly acknowledge the positive political, economic and social changes effected by South American Nations.
These reforms have contributed to the well-being of the South American peoples and the reduction of poverty, as well as to regional solidarity, integration and cooperation.
South Africa remains committed to the principle of regional solidarity and cooperation with South America in particular and the greater Latin America and the Caribbean in general.
In this regard, South Africa recognises the historical and cultural ties that exist between Africa and South America and the active participation of the peoples of African descent in the development of South America.
This includes the important role that the countries and peoples of South America have played in the historic struggles waged by African peoples and countries for political independence, human dignity and economic and social development.
As you are aware, we already benefit from our Africa-South America Partnership which provides our continents with an opportunity to forge a stronger partnership to ensure sustainable economic growth and development.
Ecuador will host the 4th Africa – South America Summit in 2016 with the support of the African Union and the Union of South American Nations as important pillars of cooperation between our peoples.
In this regard, South Africa commends the efforts made so far by the Africa-South America Coordination and Monitoring Committee to intensify cooperation between South America and Africa.
The 4th Summit will contribute to promoting the integration and development of both regions in the construction of a new and more equitable international economic order.
This meeting enables us to further promote linkages between BRICS and South American countries in the area of trade. This can be done by reinforcing engagement on the development of regional markets and infrastructure.
At the Fifth BRICS Summit we deliberated on these issues together with our African colleagues and it would be most opportune to also extend such discussions to our colleagues from South America.
During this dialogue, it was identified that the major impediments to infrastructure development are the challenges that Africa has, in securing long-term infrastructure financing.
Another challenge is the capacity shortages faced by African countries in bringing projects to bankability, largely due to the scarcity of project preparation funding and the necessary technical expertise.
As you know, BRICS has launched a historic New Development Bank which is intended to provide means and solutions to challenges which the existing global financial architecture can no longer fully respond to.
We would like the BRICS New Development Bank to promote more multi-country projects and accelerate the pace of regional integration. It must also play a critical role in bringing project proposals to the market for financing.
The theme of our Summit, Inclusive Growth: Sustainable Solutions encourages us to learn from one another and to share experiences and also to use our competitive advantages to stimulate growth.
In the case of modern African economies, this could mean strengthening and modernising agriculture, which was the topic of discussion at our African Union Summit recently held in Equatorial Guinea.
The Summit dealt with improving the investment and business climate and providing support for notably micro, small and medium businesses, providing better and relevant education.
It also dealt with broadening participation in the development process, giving a voice and a hand to marginalised and disadvantaged groups, and reducing disparities in development attributes.
As the African continent we also remain seized with the issue of ensuring industrialisation for inclusive growth and job creation.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa also recommended to a High-Level Policy Dialogue held in Nigeria in March 2014, that we need an enhanced understanding of the link between industrialisation, inclusive growth and job creation.
We are called upon to focus particularly on job creation for vulnerable groups such as women, young people and people who live in rural areas.
In terms of our cooperation in the global arena, the BRICS Leadership discussed yesterday how to work together to achieve the targets of the Millennium Development Goals and ensuring a viable Post-2015 Development Agenda.
As countries of the South, we can work together closely on these issues to ensure that our shared interests are safeguarded.
As South Africa, we also reaffirmed our commitment towards ensuring that the reform of the United Nations Security Council is equitable and fair.
We also agreed to commit to work closely on the combating of the harmful effects of climate change and working closely on international climate change negotiations.
As BRICS, we always stress the importance of reforming the international financial system with a view to improve the participation of developing countries in these organisations.
We could also develop common positions on world trade negotiations as developing countries. We also need to consider coordinating positions on human rights and further strengthen areas of collaboration on socio-economic development, cognisant of the theme of this Summit.
Madam President and Excellencies,
I am sure the nations of the BRICS and the South American countries can forge formidable partnerships to achieve these common goals in line with our shared vision to achieve growth and prosperity for all our people.
I thank you.
Issued by The Presidency