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Summit to reflect push for prosperity

By Cao Desheng in Johannesburg, South Africa | China Daily | Updated: 2018-07-25 10:29
Dolana Msimang, South African ambassador, file photo. [Photo/VCG]

BRICS member countries to achieve aims through cooperation, envoy says

The upcoming 10th BRICS Summit is reflective of member countries' mutual desire to create inclusive societies and global partnerships that will bring a shared prosperity for all of mankind, South African Ambassador to China Dolana Msimang said in an exclusive interview.

The summit - themed "BRICS in Africa: Collaboration for Inclusive Growth and Shared Prosperity in the 4th Industrial Revolution" - will be hosted on a rotating chairmanship basis this year by South Africa in Johannesburg from Wednesday to Friday.

"This year holds special significance in the historical trajectory of BRICS, as it concludes the first decade of summits at the highest diplomatic level," Msimang said ahead of the summit.

BRICS involves a grouping of five emerging economies-Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

The ambassador commended the achievements that BRICS has made over the past decade, saying the grouping has done very well and has accomplished many of the tasks it set out to do.

Among various cooperative mechanisms, BRICS created in 2014 its first financial institution, the New Development Bank, which serves as a multilateral development bank.

The NDB Africa Regional Center in Johannesburg also plays a crucial role in enhancing infrastructure development on the continent.

The BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement - announced at the 7th BRICS Summit in July 2015 - serves as a framework for helping resolve member states' short-term balance of payment pressures.

BRICS uses its amplified voice to call for cooperation with emerging markets and developing countries to ensure common development for all and to address global imbalances, contributing to the resolution of geopolitical and economic challenges, Msimang said.

For 2018, South Africa is proposing the establishment of working groups in new areas of cooperation including peacekeeping and vaccine research, as well as forums on women's rights and tourism, she added.

Last year, China, as the rotating chair of the BRICS summit, innovated on the traditional outreach approach by introducing the concept of "BRICS Plus", which involved a dialogue with other emerging economies.

In the interest of ensuring maximum synergy between South Africa's holding of BRICS this year and that of China's in 2017, South Africa will also include such an element, according to the ambassador.

"In this regard, South Africa has invited the leaders of countries representing regional economic communities in the 'global south' as well as the United Nations," the ambassador said.

Noting that the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, which will take place in September, is an important platform for deepening the China-Africa relationship, the ambassador said she hopes the upcoming FOCAC event will provide another boost to Africa's prosperity.

"Building a closer-knit community with a shared future is most certainly the route that we ought to take if we are to realize our combined growth and development ambitions," Msimang said.

This is because both sides have a common objective of sustainably growing their economies and eradicating poverty, she added. "It is our shared efforts and input that will result in a shared success."

Msimang expressed her full confidence in the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, saying it will continue to grow in importance and relevance for the African continent.

"We have seen how the participating countries along the route have leveraged both the trade and investment opportunities that come with the vigorous implementation of this initiative," she said.

"Now is an opportune time for both South Africa and the African continent as a whole to seize the opportunity and actively leverage opportunities in a way that is envisaged in the continent's own efforts to diversify, modernize and grow their economies."

Msimang commended China's development in the past four decades - one backed by reform and opening-up.

In the meantime, China's significance and impact in the UN, World Trade Organization, BRICS and G20 structures have dramatically increased, and the country has become a formidable player on the global stage, she added.

"China's new economic development strategy, particularly the Belt and Road Initiative as well as the outward-looking investment strategy, offers a range of opportunities...not only for China, but for the world," the ambassador said.

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