Address by President Cyril Ramaphosa on the occasion of the XV BRICS Summit Open Plenary, Wednesday, 23 August 2023, Sandton International Convention Centre

Your Excellency President Lula Da Silva,

Your Excellency President Vladimir Putin
Your Excellency Prime Minister Narendra Modi,
Your Excellency President Xi Jinping,
Your Excellency Dilma Rousseff, President of the New Development Bank,
Chair of the BRICS Business Council, Ms Busi Mabuza,
Chair of the BRICS Women’s Business Alliance, Ms Lebogang Zulu,
Honourable Ministers,
Members of the diplomatic corps,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Welcome to South Africa and to the 15th BRICS Summit.

The BRICS partnership straddles four continents and five countries that are home to almost three and a half billion people.

Over the past decades the bloc has been a major driver of global growth, trade and investment.

BRICS stands for solidarity and for progress.

BRICS stands for inclusivity and a more just, equitable world order.

BRICS stands for sustainable development.

We are an inclusive formation of developing and emerging economies that are working together to benefit from our rich histories, cultures and systems to advance common prosperity.

We do so because we know that poverty, inequality and underdevelopment are the biggest challenges facing humankind.

We are therefore determined that the BRICS partnership must be harnessed to drive an inclusive global economic recovery.

Advancing the African agenda is a strategic priority for South Africa during its Chairship of BRICS.

It is for this reason that we have chosen as the theme of this year’s Summit: “BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Mutually Accelerated Growth, Sustainable Development and Inclusive Multilateralism.”

We welcome the ongoing engagement of BRICS countries with Africa in the spirit of partnership and mutual respect.

Our objectives are reciprocal trade and investment. We want the goods, products and services from Africa to compete on an equal footing in the global economy.

The African Continental Free Trade Area, once fully operational, will unlock the benefits of the continental market and generate mutually beneficial opportunities for both African and BRICS countries.

As nations of the world confront the effects of climate change, we must ensure that the transition to a low-carbon, climate resilient future is just, fair and takes into account differing national circumstances.

In line with this objective, BRICS nations need to advance the interests of the Global South and call for industrialised countries to honour their commitments to support climate actions by developing economy countries.

Peace and stability are preconditions for a better, more equitable world.

We are deeply concerned about conflicts across the world that continue to cause great suffering and hardship.

As South Africa, our position remains that diplomacy, dialogue, negotiation and adherence to the principles of the United Nations Charter are necessary for the peaceful and just resolution of conflicts.

We are concerned that global financial and payments systems are increasingly being used as instruments of geopolitical contestation.

Global economic recovery relies on predictable global payment systems and the smooth operation of banking, supply chains, trade, tourism and financial flows.

We will continue discussions on practical measures to facilitate trade and investment flows through the increased use of local currencies.

The world is changing.

New economic, political, social and technological realities call for greater cooperation between nations.

These realities call for a fundamental reform of the institutions of global governance so that they may be more representative and better able to respond to the challenges that confront humanity.

While firmly committed to advance the interests of the Global South, BRICS stands ready to collaborate with all countries that aspire to create a more inclusive international order.

We are confident that this 15th BRICS Summit will advance the cause of common prosperity and progress.

We are confident that this 15th BRICS Summit will enrich and inspire our work towards the achievement of a more humane global community.

I thank you.