Your Excellency, Mr António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations,
Your Excellency, President Azali Assoumani, President of the Union of the Comoros and Chair of the African Union,
Your Excellencies, Leaders of BRICS nations,
Leaders of Africa and the Global South,
Leaders of Global and Regional Institutions,
It is a great honour to welcome you to South Africa for the BRICS-Africa Outreach and BRICS Plus Dialogue.
When reflecting on the purpose and role of BRICS in the world today, we recall the Bandung Conference of 1955, where Asian and African nations demanded a greater voice for developing countries in world affairs.
The Conference called for the recognition of the equality of all nations, large and small.
We still share that common vision of a fair and just world.
We still seek to overcome polarity and division. We want a world without barriers between North and South, East and West.
We still seek a world in which we work together underpinned by mutual respect.
Through the XV BRICS Summit and this Dialogue we should strive to advance the Bandung spirit of unity, friendship and cooperation.
In South Africa we have a world for this: Ubuntu.
Ubuntu is a practice based on the understanding that our success, prosperity and well-being depend on the success, prosperity and well-being of others.
We see the BRICS partnership as a catalyst for global growth and development that responds to the needs of all nations.
It is the right of Africa and the entire Global South to fully reap the benefi ts of global trade and investment. Without trade and investment our economies cannot thrive and our peoples’ material conditions cannot improve.
As the African continent, we are determined that the continent’s substantial resources are harnessed for the benefit and development of Africa’s people.
The African Continental Free Trade Area, once fully operational, will unlock the benefits of the continental market and generate substantial opportunities for Africa and other countries.
To make use of these opportunities, Africa is looking to the BRICS partnership to unlock infrastructure and development financing.
This was part of the founding vision of the New Development Bank.
The Bank is playing a leading role in efforts to increase the resilience of the Global South, and to bring fairness to global trading and financial systems by strengthening the use of BRICS currencies.
We have to reform global economic, financial and political governance, including the multilateral trading system, so that we create a conducive environment for fair trade.
While many countries of the Global South are seeing significant progress in industrialisation, technological development, innovation and the digital economy, they are not fully reaping the economic benefits.
By working together, by sharing skills and capabilities, by mobilising resources, we will be able to give renewed impetus to global growth and sustainable development.
We need to move beyond expressions of solidarity towards inclusion and mutually beneficial economic cooperation.
We trust that this dialogue will provide leadership, vision and hope as we strive together for a better Africa and a better world.
I thank you.
ISSUED BY THE PRESIDENCY OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA