Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu has urged young people to recommit themselves to the historic task of being agents of change and lead the reconstruction as well as the development of the country.
“Young people must continue to be a force for progressive change and radical transformation,” Zulu said.
Addressing the BRICS Youth Summit on Tuesday, she told delegates that the country’s membership to BRICS has been one of the key strategic partnerships of the democratic South Africa and is a key platform for promoting South-South trade and investment.
“BRICS partners share best practices and development models to address and combat these common challenges. More importantly, BRICS seeks to advance the restructuring of the global political, economic and financial architecture into one that is more equitable and balanced and which rests on the important pillar of multilateralism,” she said.
According to the Minister, BRICS contain 40 percent of the world’s population.
“With a combined GDP of approximately $15 trillion, BRICS countries account for 19.3% of gross global product; 42.7% of the world population; and has contributed more than 50% to the world economic growth during the last 10 years.
“Intra-BRICS trade has grown from US$567 billion in 2010 to $744 billion in 2017. South Africa-BRIC trade has grown from $28bn to $35bn over the same period,” she said.
The Minister said both South Africa’s exports to and imports from other BRICS countries have grown at a rate faster than South Africa’s global trade, thus increasing the importance of other BRICS countries in South Africa’s trade basket.
“Combined, the BRIC countries account for 15.4% of South Africa’s global exports, and 25.4% of the country’s imports. The key focus for BRICS should be to change the structure of our trade and promote value-added trade so as to contribute to the structural transformation of our economies,” Zulu said.
She said the country’s high rate of unemployment and extreme inequality call for bold and far-sighted interventions.
“We are heartened to note that the contribution of Small, Medium and Micro-sized Enterprises (SMMEs) to the economy continued to increase despite the increasingly difficult economic conditions.
“We are determined to strengthen the small business sector to enable it to occupy its rightful place in the mainstream economy and to demonstrate that Small Business is the Big Business of the future and working together we can indeed achieve more,” she said.