Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies says positioning the country as a destination for investment is expected to be the agenda of the newly-appointed BRICS Business Council.
Davies said this when he held a joint media briefing with the members of the Black Business Council in Cape Town on Tuesday.
The media briefing was held after Davies held a meeting with the newly-appointed council members.
“We had a discussion at which we all agreed that the BRICS relationship is an important, strategic relationship for South Africa. It is the most significant grouping of the emerging economies in the world. It has the business council which has done invaluable work, in particularly in our estimation, in promotion of practical business to business relations.
“When we look at the relationship within BRICS, the most important relationship we want to build as government is the investment relationship given that BRICS companies are looking into directing investment into South Africa and of course South African companies are also invested into those countries.
“We indicated to them as government that we want to have a strong ongoing conversation and coordination with the members of the BRICS Business Council as they identify practical business opportunities, as they make recommendations, we want to make sure that there is a strong Team SA message that is finding its way through,” he said.
The new BRICS Business Council is made up of five members with extensive business experience locally and internationally. This includes Busi Mabuza from the Industrial Development Corporation – who is the chairperson, Dr Ayanda Ntsaluba from Discovery Ltd, Bridgette Radebe from Mmakau Mining, Dr Stavros Nicolaou from Aspen Pharmacare and Elias Monage from Afrika Group.
Speaking for the council, Mabuza said they remain committed to taking the interests of the country through the council’s activities. The council is also committed towards supporting SMME participation and new business, thus contributing to an inclusive economy.
“We have had a minute to [engage] with the Minister, who has reaffirmed our mandate to facilitate investment-led trade between ourselves, our continent with the other BRICS partners through practical projects.
“This business council is looking forward to engagement with the other Chapters. We have already on the ground for over a month now and we have already engaged with the global partners,” she said.
Through the BRICS Business Council, the five-member countries will, in the time ahead, focus on nine working groups in terms of areas of cooperation and business facilitation. This includes agribusiness, deregulation, digital economy, financial services, energy and green economy, infrastructure, manufacturing, regional aviation and skills development.
Mabuza also said that with the next BRICS Summit set to take place in Brazil in November, the local chapter of the BRICS Business Council, which currently chairs the global business grouping, will hand over its chairmanship to the Brazilian chapter of the BRICS Business Council at a meeting in Johannesburg on 3 April.