Johannesburg, August 30, 2023 – The BRICS Business Council (BBC) has officially handed over its 2023 Annual Report to the Heads of State of the BRICS nations, following a series of successful business events. This handover comes after nine sectoral-facing working groups executed their mandates, providing crucial recommendations for the council.
The series of events kicked off with the Africa Caucus on August 18, hosted by the South Africa Chapter of the BRICS Business Council (SABBC). It culminated in the BRICS Business Forum held on August 22 at the Sandton Convention Centre, attended by over 1,200 business and government leaders, including over 500 delegates from Brazil, Russia, India, China, and other African markets.
Under the theme “Making Accelerated Growth and Sustainable Development a Reality,” the BRICS Business Forum featured thematic discussions on key strategic areas, such as unlocking trade and investment opportunities in BRICS markets, just energy transition, greening of the economy in emerging markets, and market access for small to medium-sized businesses. Additionally, the promotion of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and sustainable development in agriculture across BRICS nations were discussed.
Busi Mabuza, the global Chairperson of the BBC, highlighted the council’s priorities, which include:
1. Establishment of the BRICS Centre of Excellence in Africa: This platform will evolve into a BRICS Energy Agency to foster collaboration, research, innovation in energy, skills development, and capacity building. It will also serve as a policy formulation center for the BRICS energy community.
2. Transforming Education and Skills Development: The council aims to intensify knowledge and skills exchange programs among BRICS partners to unlock the potential of developing nations.
3. Leveraging Opportunities in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA): The SABBC is committed to enhancing trade relations between BRICS and Africa through this historic trade agreement, which envisions a single market encompassing the entire African continent.
In a joint statement on trade and investment, the five partner chapters pledged to promote trade and investment across all sectors, aiming for fair-trade balance and inclusive practices while encouraging investment flows benefiting all economies. A significant milestone was reached with the signing of an Intra Working Group MOU, enhancing coordination and cooperation within the council, particularly in the Energy and Green Economy working group.
The annual report also highlighted recommendations from the nine working groups, reflecting the unity and shared aspirations of the BRICS nations.
The BRICS Business program concluded as President Ramaphosa hosted the XV BRICS Business Summit on August 24th, under the theme “BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Mutually Accelerated Growth, Sustainable Development, and Inclusive Multilateralism.”
Busi Mabuza emphasized the upward trajectory in trade volumes and investments among BRICS countries. However, she acknowledged challenges posed by tariff barriers, non-tariff measures, and regulatory complexities that hinder the full potential of trade and investment capabilities.
As 2023 marks a decade of the BRICS Business Council, Mabuza expressed optimism for the next ten years, emphasizing the need to make investment a key driver of economic cooperation, promote industrialization in Africa, and ensure sustainable and inclusive economic development.
The future of the BRICS Business Council will focus on economic partnerships, mutual prosperity, and acting as a catalyst for global economic change, benefiting member nations and the world.
About BRICS Business Council: The BRICS Business Council was established in 2013 at the Vth BRICS Summit in Durban, South Africa. It brings together business communities from Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa to facilitate business-to-business engagements and create tangible trade and investment opportunities. For more information, visit sabricsbusinesscouncil.co.za.