Speaking Notes by the Global Chair of the BRICS Business Council, Ms Busi Mabuza, 23 August 2023

  • Your Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa, the President of the RSA and the 2023 Global Chair of BRICS
  • Your Excellency President Lula da Silva, the President of Federative Republic of Brazil
  • Your Excellency Minister Sergey Lavrov, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
  • Your Excellency Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India of the Republic of India
  • Your Excellency President Xi Jinping, the President of the People’s Republic of China
  • Ministers of BRICS Countries
  • Ambassadors of the BRICS Countries,

Chairpersons of the BRICS Business Council:

  • Jackson Schneider
  • Mr Sergey Katyrin
  • Onkar S Kanwar
  • Mr Chen Siqing
  • Members of the BRICS Business Council


Ladies and gentlemen,


It is with great honour and privilege that I stand before you today as the 2023 Global Chair of the BRICS Business Council to present our Annual Report. As the leaders of the BRICS nations, we recognize the strength and potential of this alliance in fostering economic cooperation and driving global growth.


Firstly: At the beginning of the year, we identified priorities for the 2023 Chairship. We prioritized several key areas to further enhance the economic ties among BRICS countries. These included:

  • Developing a partnership towards an equitable just transition. In this regards the BRICS Centre of Excellence in Africa will be established, the centre will evolve into a BRICS Energy Agency which seeks to drive: Increased Collaboration, Enhanced Research, and Innovation in Energy, provide Skill Development and Capacity Building, Energy Trends, Collaborate with International Organizations, Data and Statistics Repository and be the leader Policy Formulation Centre for the BRICS energy community and beyond.


  • Transforming education and skills development for the future. We have Intensified programmes of knowledge, skills exchange, and work within our BRICDS partners and identified more education and empowerment driven opportunities to unlock the potential that resides in our developing nations.
  • Unlocking the opportunities in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). This historic trade agreement envisages a single market encompassing the entire African continent, facilitating trade and investment on an unprecedented scale. As the BRICS Business Council, we must seize this opportunity to forge closer ties with Africa and align our interests to drive inclusive and sustainable growth across both regions.


Secondly, I wish to highlight the Agreed Joint Statement on Trade and Investment.

  • This statement is a testament to our commitment to reducing barriers, improving trade facilitation, and promoting investments among the BRICS nations. Through this agreement, we collectively pledge to drive trade and investment promotion, across all sectors, to contribute towards the fair-trade balance, and inclusive trade practices, while encouraging investment flows that benefit all our economies.


Thirdly, we are proud to share that we have signed an Intra Working Group MOU and Commercial MOU.

  • These agreements serve as critical instruments for enhancing coordination and cooperation within our business council. The Intra Working Group MOU will facilitate better collaboration among our working groups, ensuring efficient communication and exchange of ideas.
  • Furthermore, the Commercial MOU between two DFIs (Republic of South Africa and People’s Republic of China) will boost commercial ties, generate business opportunities, and promote mutual growth between these two countries.


  • We have witnessed an upward trajectory in growth in trade volumes and investments among BRICS countries. However, we also recognize the challenges posed by tariff barriers, non-tariff measures, and regulatory complexities which hinder the full potential of our trade and investment capabilities.
  • We agree looking ahead, the opportunity for intra-BRICS and BRIC-Africa investment remains promising. However, more effort is required to make investment a key driver of economic cooperation among the BRICS and BRIC-Africa, and to bring more benefits for sustainable and inclusive economic development in the bloc and promote industrialisation on the African Continent.


  • As, we reflect on the accomplishments of the past decade, The potential impact of a new BBC on the global trade remains uncertain, with experts debating its potential to challenge other business blocs and bilateral agreement with countries. However, as a platform representing the interests of the business community in five emerging economies it has greatly contributed to strengthening economic cooperation and fostering investment opportunities among its member countries.
  • It is crucial to look ahead to the next 10 years of the BRICS Business Council. The BRICS trade and investment posture must adapt to the evolving global landscape. The next decade must strongly focus on strengthening and promoting economic, trade, business, and investment ties among the business communities of the five BRICS countries. This can be achieved through:
  • fostering the regulatory harmonization to increase trade between member countries,
  • the identification of trade barriers within specific industries, and recommendations on how these barriers may be overcome through multilateral or bilateral solutions, and
  • building an inclusive and diverse environment for trade and investment to provide opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises, in our BRICS nations and the African continent.

In conclusion, esteemed your Excellencies, esteemed Ministers, and BRICS Council Chairpersons, I would like to express my sincere gratitude for the opportunity to present this BBC 2023 Annual report on behalf of the BRICS Business Council.  The recommendations for 2023, the Agreed Joint Statement on Trade and Investment, the signed MOUs, the trade &investment posture, and our next 10-year plans highlight our commitment to:

  • Advancing economic partnerships,
  • Mutual prosperity among BRICS countries, and
  • Building a BRICS Business Council that not only serves the interests of our member nations but also acts as a catalyst to drive an upward economic change across the world.

We look forward to the continued support and collaboration of our governments as we work together towards a brighter future.


I thank you.