South Africa will participate in the upcoming BRICS Summit, which will take place in China in September.
Reporting on work it has done in the first quarter of 2017, the International Cooperation, Trade and Security (ICTS) Cluster said the country will partake in the summit scheduled to take place in Xiamen from 3 -5 September.
“We look forward to assuming the chair next year (2018). During our tenure, we will focus on deepening BRICS [Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa] cooperation for common development, enhancement of global governance to jointly meet our shared challenges, carrying out people-to-people exchanges to support BRICS cooperation and institutional improvements, among others,” said the cluster on Monday.
The cluster said South Africa’s role in BRICS forum continues to grow.
“At the same time, we are alive to the changes in governments of some of our BRICS partners, such as Brazil, and continue to assess how this could affect the cohesion of the forum.”
Turning to the BRICS New Development Bank, the ICTS Cluster said it supports the formation of the bank as an alternative and effective funding mechanism to finance infrastructure development and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging economies and developing countries.
“We wholly support its formation. As it is well known by now, South Africa is the proud host of the BRICS Regional Bank. To date, the New Development Bank has extended loans worth US$1.5 billion towards funding suitable projects in BRICS countries, mostly in the renewable energy space. Included in this amount is a US$ 180 million loan to Eskom to assist with investments in renewable energy projects.”
The operationalisation of the African Regional Centre is one of the key priorities of the New Development Bank. South Africa is working with the New Development Bank to complete the process of setting up the bank’s regional office, which is expected to be in operation by year end.
Trade and tourism
The cluster said tourism continues to be a significant driver of economic growth for South Africa.
“Through entities like South African Tourism and Brand South Africa, we have prioritised marketing our country as a tourism destination of choice.”
The cluster said South Africa recorded 2 622 215 international tourist arrivals during the quarter (January to March 2017), confirming that South Africa continues to be a tourist destination of choice.
From January to December 2016, a total of 10 044 163 international tourist arrivals, excluding transits, were recorded.
This exceeded the annual target by 10.6%. More than R75 billion in direct spend was recorded by foreign tourists during this period, exceeding the annual target by 6%.