Opening Remarks by President Cyril Ramaphosa to the Extraordinary Joint Meeting of BRICS Leaders and Leaders of invited BRICS members on the situation in the Middle East, 21 November 2023

Your Excellencies, Leaders of BRICS nations,

Your Excellencies, Leaders of Invited BRICS Members,


Sherpas and Sous Sherpas,



Thank you for your attendance at this Extraordinary Joint Meeting to address a matter of grave global concern.


Since 7 October, when more than 1 200 people were killed in an attack by Hamas on Israel, the world has born witness to the devastating killing of thousands of innocent civilians in Gaza, many of whom are women and children.


Over 11 000 residents of Gaza have been killed. Many thousands more have been injured. Infrastructure, homes, hospitals and other public facilities have been destroyed. More than half of Gaza’s population has been displaced.


Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have been affected by this violence in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank.


The actions by Israel are in clear violation of international law, including the UN Charter and the Geneva Convention read together with its protocols.


In its attacks on civilians and by taking hostages, Hamas has also violated international law and must be held accountable for these actions.


The collective punishment of Palestinian civilians through the unlawful use of force by Israel is a war crime.


The deliberate denial of medicine, fuel, food and water to the residents of Gaza is tantamount to genocide.


The atrocities that we have witnessed are the latest chapter in a painful history of suffering, oppression, occupation and conflict going back more than 75 years.


The root cause of this conflict is the illegal occupation of Palestinian territory by Israel as reflected in UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which states that: “Israeli settlements constitutes a flagrant violation under international law”.


We therefore urge the international community to agree on urgent and concrete actions to end the suffering in Gaza and establish a path towards a just and peaceful resolution of this conflict.


As South Africa, we call for:


First, an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire.


Second, the opening of humanitarian corridors so that aid and other basic services reach all those in need.


Third, all countries to exercise restraint and to desist from fuelling this conflict, including by ceasing the supply of weapons to the parties.


Fourth, the release of all civilian hostages.


Fifth, the resumption of a comprehensive dialogue led and owned by Palestinians and Israelis themselves and facilitated by the United Nations.


Sixth, the deployment of a UN Rapid Deployment Force in Palestine, with a mandate to monitor the cessation of hostilities and protect civilians.


Lastly, the International Criminal Court to urgently initiate prosecutions against those responsible for the perpetration of war crimes.


As South Africans, we appreciate the importance and value of international solidarity.


As an important voice of the Global South representing a large part of humanity, we believe that BRICS has a vital role in a widespread international effort to achieve a just and lasting peace.


As individual countries, we have demonstrated our grave concern at the death and destruction in Gaza.


Let this meeting stand as a clarion call for us to combine our efforts and strengthen our actions to end this historical injustice.


Let us work together to realise a just, peaceful and secure future for the people of both Palestine and Israel.


I thank you.



Remarks by Deputy President Paul Mashatile on the occasion of the Ninth BRICS Parliamentary Forum, Emperors Palace, Johannesburg, South Africa, 27 September 2023

Programme Director, Secretary to Parliament, Mr Xolile George,

Your Excellency, Mme Nosiviwe Maphisa Nqakula, Speaker of the National Assembly,

Your Excellency, Ntate Lechesa Tsenoli, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly,

The Chairperson of the NCOP, Ntate Amos Masondo,

The Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP, Mme Sylvia Lucas,

Your Excellency, Kgalema Petrus Motlanthe, former President of the Republic of South Africa,

Your Excellency, Mme Baleka Mbete, former Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa,

Your Excellency, Mr Sostenes Cavalcante, Vice President of the Chamber of Deputies, Federal Republic of Brazil,

Your Excellency, Mr Harivanash Narayan Singh, Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha Republic of India,

Your Excellency, Mr Peng Qinghua, Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National Peoples Congress, of the Peoples Republic of China,

Your Excellency, Dr Hanafy Ali Gebaly, Speaker of the Egyptian House of Representatives,

Your Excellency, Mr Mohammad-Bagher Ghalibaf, President of Majles Shoraye Eslaimi of the Islamic Republic of Iran,

Your Excellencies, the Speakers and Honourable Peoples tribunes from fellow BRICS member-states,


Business leaders,

Esteemed Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,


I would like to welcome you to the ninth BRICS Parliamentary Forum (PF). It has been a long, challenging and exciting road since the historic inaugural meeting held in the Russian Federation in June 2015.


Since then, this Forum has grown from strength to strength, reflecting both the hard work of the collective leadership of the BRICS member states and, without doubt, the overwhelming desire amongst the peoples of the world to evolve a just world order which serves not just a few but also and especially the wretched of the earth.


Congratulations to our new partners:  The Argentine Republic, The Arab Republic of Egypt, The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, The Islamic Republic of Iran, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and The United Arab Emirates. We trust that you will invigorate this promising intergovernmental organisation.


From 2015 to date, the BRICS Parliamentary Forum has identified many issues which require continuous discussion, refinement and programmatic plans of action, the better to better serve the wretched of the earth.


The issues range from:


  • the sacrosanct role of the United Nations in international affairs and the consolidation of multilateral structures; the reform of the Security Council; and the fairness of the international legal system
  • the transition to a multipolar world and deepening economic globalisation
  • exploring new trade and investment prospects
  • the promotion of international peace and security, shared economic growth, cooperation and mutually beneficial interaction amongst the peoples of the world, undergirded by a continuous dialogue among and between the world’s cultures and civilisations for the cross-pollination of knowledge and perspectives for the benefit of humanity
  • deepening cooperation in a multiplicity of fields, including the promotion of cooperation in research, education, healthcare, environmental protection and sport, with a focus on the youth
  • coordinating our macroeconomic policies, the reform of the international monetary system and the promotion of growth
  • intensifying South-South and North-South dialogue, to
  • the creation of a permanent contact group within the BRICS Parliamentary Forum which helps, among other things, to identify and guide our association on key evolving issues of international political economy and to develop a long-term strategy for the Forum.


These and many additional matters that have served on the agenda of this Forum since the inaugural session in Moscow are about moving the world towards greater social justice — in short, making sure that the wretched of the earth become, “Somebody!” So goes the as the African American parlance.


We recall that the inaugural BRICS Parliamentary Forum took place to the hour of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and the founding of the world’s premier intergovernmental organisation, the United Nations – our United Nations! The solemnity of the occasion was a stark reminder of the importance of history. Some of our colleagues rightly appealed that we draw appropriate lessons from history.


The quest to be Somebody is innate to every people. This is true for the developing South in as much as it is the case for the developed North. For the African continent as with parts of the developing world, the quest to be.


Somebody has been an act of resistance and defiance since at least the advent of the Atlantic Slave Trade.


In addition to the heroic anti-colonial and apartheid struggles, this led to the 1955 Bandung Conference and the formation of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in 1961.


A consistent thread in the NAM’s work has been the promotion of the political and economic cooperation of developing countries.


This is how President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania put the matter when he addressed the opening of the preparatory meeting of the NAM in Dar es Salaam on April 13, 1970:


“The fact is that our political independence depends upon the degree of our economic independence, as well as the nature of our economic development depending upon our political independence. These things are interlinked in the modern world; and because of that interdependence, our economic relationships with one another, and individually with the great powers of the world, are matters with which the Non-Aligned conference must be concerned”.


This underscores the importance of BRICS and the cooperation it has sought to promote since its founding.  BRICS is one of the institutions that holds the possibility of taking forward much of the objectives of the NAM and the South Commission which President Nyerere ably led after his voluntary retirement from public office in 1985.


There is no need to regale you with statistics about the global reach of the BRICS in terms of its economy, the combined population of its member states relative to the rest of the world and other interesting information which you know.


This Forum has the possibility to exert change on a global and unprecedented scale. For starters, BRICS has focused the imagination of the world’s population beyond the citizens of its member states. In and of itself, this is a good thing.


However, we should not be surprised when this success factor attracts negative responses from some actors in the world despite the fact that BRICS is not opposed to any state parties or groups.


Instead, we seek a peaceful and just world of equitable resource distribution.


The single most powerful instrument parliamentarians have at their disposal is their command of law-making.  Through coordinated efforts, you can impact positively on more than a quarter of the world’s population by introducing far-reaching progressive legislation and repealing laws that do not improve the lives of the people.


Some lessons from history in this regard might be useful. The 13th-century Egyptian Chief Justice Ibn Khaldun insisted that law should be based on what he called “social solidarity,” which was a statement on the supremacy he placed on social cohesion. Kwame Nkrumah, on the other hand, was adamant that “The teaching of law is totally incomplete if it is not accompanied by a background of economic, social and political science and even politics, science and technology”.


He envisioned a law that is an “expression of the political, economic and social conditions of the people and of their aims for progress,” as opposed to one that is based on “a formalistic yardstick which completely disregards the material content of the law and measures justice or injustice solely by procedural rules”.


As BRICS parliamentarians who seek to change the world for the better, you have the possibility to usher in the social solidarity and development that Chief Justice Khaldun and President Nkrumah strove to achieve.


However, legislative changes alone are neither enough nor sufficient to effect change. You require a capable, civic-minded, and ethical bureaucracy which has the capacity and commitment to drive the existing legislative framework to achieve its ends.


The effervescence of the parliamentary vocation attests to the sociological truism that all societies are heterogeneous theatres in which differently disposed social actors’ battle to shape public affairs in their own image. To the extent that such intercourse will, from time to time, impact upon the institution of BRICS as national, regional and other interests, this Forum should gird its intellectual and political loins for their constructive management and resolution.


Sometimes these may be interests from outside ourselves intent on exhausting us in meaningless but tiresome distractions or otherwise pit us against each other, thus to take us completely off the rails so that we are unable to achieve our strategic objective.


Fortunately, the collective of BRICS members possess the wisdom to rise above such machinations.


Equally fortunate is that BRICS member states have come together in this rising intergovernmental institution on a shared perspective of development, to which the current global political and economic order continues to respond inadequately.


Whatever difficulties we face in the future, President Nyerere may provide a useful guide.


“Development,” he said in August 1988, “involves decisions about national and international political priorities and structures. It includes social questions and matters related to education, health human dignity, and security both personal and national. And it means adequate food clothing and shelter for the individual person.


All these matters are inextricably mixed and are all encompassed in any definition of development which is meaningful to the human beings who are now suffering from lack of it”.


Every country faces these considerations and challenges in its resource allocation and decision-making processes.


Undoubtedly, this will find expression in your discussions especially as it concerns the four broad thematic areas on your agenda, namely, climate change, energy security and just transition of coal to hydrogen energy, multilateralism, peace and security.


In July 2014, BRICS established the New Development Bank and the BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement.


It is increasingly clear that there are varying levels of capacity for project planning and development among member states.


As with the executive, parliamentarians are challenged to interrogate how this can be overcome.


One way of addressing this is by identifying the broad range of skills that are required to address effect development at the scale and the pace required to accelerate the impact of BRICS in all the member states.


This speaks to the technocratic capacity to which I referred earlier, and we should, in this regard and in keeping with the tradition of cooperation amongst us, adopt the slogan of the progressive trade union movement: “An injury to one is an injury to all”.


One suggestion you may want to ponder over is that we should immediately conduct a skills audit relative to the development imperatives of each member state and bring together institutions of higher learning amongst us to respond to the skills challenge.


I would like to commend the BRICS Women’s Business Alliance and their efforts in organising the BRICS-Africa WBA Trade Conference.




Africa is moving towards a single African market. All 54 countries have signed the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement. We are well on our way to creating the world’s largest single-free trade area, with 1.3 billion people and a gross domestic product of $3.4 trillion.


The implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area will improve intra-African trade, the continent’s share and participation in global trade, stimulate and improve the economy as well as contribute to lifting millions of people out of poverty.


The continent’s transport networks are largely unsatisfactory. Few roads connect the continent’s five regions, and those that do are often in poor condition and under-maintained.


As a continent, we look forward to engaging with our BRICS partners to realise the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area and thus create a win-win solution for all.


Let us seize this opportunity to strengthen the BRICS-Africa partnership and promote a rules-based approach towards a just global order.


Thank you.



Address by President Cyril Ramaphosa on outcomes of the XV BRICS Summit, Union Buildings, Tshwane, 3 September 2023

Fellow South Africans,


Just over a week ago, the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa concluded the XV BRICS Summit in Johannesburg.


It was a historic Summit that heralded a new chapter for BRICS.


I would like to report back to you this evening on the outcomes of the XV BRICS Summit and what they mean for our progress as a nation.


In addition, I would like to inform you about the report of the independent panel appointed in May to enquire into the circumstances of the docking of a Russian vessel, known as Lady R, at the Simonstown Naval Base.


First about the BRICS Summit.


The Summit was attended by the five BRICS member countries along with representatives of 61 other countries. Forty-six of the countries that attended were from our continent Africa. This included 20 Heads of State and Government.


We were also honoured by the attendance of the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr Antonio Guterres.


I want to thank the people of South Africa for welcoming these guests from across the African continent and the world. Delegations from some countries consisted of up to 600 people.


All our visitors were warmly received and were able to experience the best of South African hospitality.


We thank the many people involved in organising the Summit events, including the Deputy President, our ministers, officials, law enforcement agencies and our security services, who ensured that the Summit proceeded without incident.


We thank all the staff at airports and border posts, those who worked through the night to set up the venues, protocol officers and ushers, food and beverage staff at our various hotels and guest houses, volunteers, sponsors and partners, musicians and artists, drivers and messengers.


We must also thank the members of the media, from South Africa and from around the world, who ensured that the work of the Summit received wide coverage.


The success of the Summit is a credit to our country and its people. It is another demonstration of our ability to host major international gatherings that have a significant impact on the conduct of international affairs far beyond our borders.


Overall, many people have said that this was a most successful BRICS Summit.


Quite often, as South Africans we go about our daily lives, without paying much attention to our relations with other countries and to our membership of global organisations or forums such as the UN, AU, BRICS, the G20, the G77 + China, the Non-Aligned Movement and others.


And yet, our country’s relations with other countries and the conduct of our foreign policy affects our lives as South Africans in many ways, such as in trade and investment, sport, peace and security, technology, education, and many other areas.


As we have said before, our international work cannot be separated from our efforts to end poverty, to create jobs and to reduce inequality in South Africa.


Through stronger investment and trade relations with other countries, we are able to grow our economy, create more opportunities for new businesses and reduce unemployment.


By supporting peace and stability on our continent, and by promoting Africa’s development, we are able to improve social cohesion in our own country.


By encouraging greater cooperation between countries in areas such as investment, financing for development, international crime, fighting terrorism, climate change and vaccine production, we are able to strengthen our efforts to tackle these challenges in our own country.


The BRICS Summit made several decisions to take forward the struggle for a fairer and more inclusive world order that is focused on the equal development of all peoples.


One of the key decisions taken by the BRICS member countries was to support the call for a comprehensive reform of the United Nations, including its Security Council, with a view to making it more democratic, representative, effective and efficient.


The Summit said that there should be greater representation of developing economy countries in the UN Security Council’s membership. This is so that countries from Africa, Asia and Latin America, including Brazil, India and South Africa, can play a greater role in international affairs.


This was a most significant decision in view of the fact that it was supported by two BRICS members who are permanent members of the UN Security Council.


The reform of the United Nations is important for South Africa and our continent Africa because we stand to benefit from a world that is more fair and from international institutions that are more democratic and more representative.


In taking this position, the BRICS leaders recognised the desire of many other countries to contribute to redefining the terms of international relations.


The other significant outcome of the Summit was the decision to expand the membership of BRICS to include Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.


BRICS leaders agreed that the value of BRICS extends beyond the interests of its current members. They agreed that BRICS could be more effective and have a greater impact by building partnerships with other countries that share its aspirations and perspectives.


Through an expanded BRICS, we will be able to better align the voices of those countries that seek a fairer global governance, financial, investment and trading system based on clear rules that apply equally to all countries.


An expanded BRICS also means that we will be able to export more of our products to major markets and, as a result, we will be able to produce more and create more jobs.


While an expanded BRICS will be an important champion for the Global South, South Africa stands to benefit from its relationship with these countries.


Together, these countries make up nearly a third of the global economy and are together home to 46 per cent of the world’s population.


Already we have achieved great benefit from our relations with Brazil, Russia, India and China.


These countries are important destinations for South Africa’s products and services. They are important sources of investment and are becoming even more important as tourism markets.


These economic ties have been strengthened by the BRICS Business Council and the BRICS Women’s Business Alliance, both of whom presented encouraging reports on their work.


We have regular interaction at many levels, among our business people, our scientists, our professionals, our cultural workers, our sports men and women, our academic, our public servants and our young people. This extends to interactions between political parties in BRICS countries.


We have agreed to the establishment of a BRICS Youth Council, which will play an important role in defining the direction of these relationships into the future.


Through these interactions, we exchange information, skills, technology and experience. The engagements between our respective business people at this Summit has resulted in several opportunities for the export of South African products to large countries with big markets.


All this enhances our progress as a country.


We are looking forward to establishing similar links and strengthening the political and economic ties with the countries that will soon be joining BRICS.


The Summit also decided that the finance ministers or central bank governors of BRICS countries, as appropriate, should consider the use of our various countries’ local currencies, payment instruments and platforms in international trade and financial transactions between BRICS and their respective trading partners.


They are expected to report back at the next Summit.


As BRICS chair, South Africa has always stressed the value of the BRICS alliance to advancing Africa’s developmental agenda.


The Summit deliberated on the opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area and its potential to shift Africa from an exporter of raw materials to a producer of manufactured goods.


South Africa’s participation in BRICS and its support for the expansion of BRICS does not detract from the good and strategic relations we have with many other countries around the world.


From the advent of our democracy, we have always sought to develop ties of friendship, cooperation and respect with all countries.


We have never aligned ourselves with any one global power or bloc of countries.


Our non-aligned approach has enabled us to pursue an independent foreign policy and to forge our own developmental path.


We have consistently advanced the articles of the United Nations Charter, including the principle that all members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means.


The second matter I wish to report back to you on is about allegations that were levelled against our country earlier this year regarding a Russian ship that docked in Simonstown late last year, where it was alleged that South Africa had supplied weapons to Russia during the current Ukraine-Russia conflict.


In recent months, statements from several quarters have used these allegations to call into question South Africa’s commitment to its position on the Russia-Ukraine conflict.


The allegations levelled against our country had a damaging effect on our currency, economy and our standing in the world.


To ensure that the docking of the Russian ship in Simonstown was thoroughly investigated, I appointed a three-member independent panel in May to enquire into the circumstances of the docking of this Russian vessel, known as Lady R.


The panel was chaired by Judge Phineas Mojapelo. The other members of the panel were Adv Leah Gcabashe SC and Mr Enver Surty.


I wish to thank the panel for the considerable amount of work it undertook in a relatively short period of time.


During the course of its work, the panel visited Simonstown naval base and obtained evidence under oath from nearly 50 people in every relevant component of government. More than 100 documents were submitted to the panel for examination.


A number of entities and persons that had publicly claimed to have information on this matter were invited to make submissions to the panel. Many of those invited either failed to do so or said they had no independent knowledge of the relevant facts.


From its investigation, the panel found no evidence that any cargo of weapons was loaded for export onto the ship Lady R.


The panel found that there was no evidence to support the claim that the ship transported weapons from South Africa destined for Russia.


The panel established that the ship docked at Simonstown to deliver equipment that had been ordered for the South African National Defence Force in 2018 by Armscor, the country’s arms procurement company.


In terms of the contract for the supply of the arms, neither Armscor nor the South African National Defence Force had any control over the means through which the supplier of the ordered equipment would transport them to South Africa.


In its report, the panel outlined the circumstances that led to the docking of the vessel in Simonstown, as well as the type of goods supplied and the reasons why the goods were unloaded at the time they were offloaded.


South Africa has clear laws that regulate the issuing of permits regarding the importation and exportation of conventional arms. All relevant permits had been obtained for the importation of the equipment that were delivered by the ship. No permit was issued for the export of arms and no arms were exported.


The panel did not find any evidence of criminal conduct by any persons involved. However, the panel made findings and recommendations with respect to the functioning of the National Conventional Arms Control Committee. It also made recommendations about the improvement of communication between Ministers and government officials, including the adequacy of the relevant administrative processes.


Given the fact that the evidence given to the panel was classified and the fact that revealing the details of the equipment offloaded could jeopardise the work and safety of South Africa’s forces in various deployments on the continent, I have decided not to release the report.


In deciding not to release the report, I have taken account of the laws that both mandate openness and transparency and require that certain information that may be prejudicial to the defence and security of the Republic be kept classified and confidential.


To reveal the details of the equipment offloaded would compromise important military operations and put our soldiers’ lives at risk.


Under these circumstances, when lives would be at risk due to the revelation of the type of equipment that is utilised by our armed forces, the need for confidentiality is both necessary and justified.


When all matters are considered, none of the allegations made about the supply of weapons to Russia have been proven to be true, and none of the persons who made these allegations could provide any evidence to support the claims that had been levelled against our country.


I have noted the panel’s findings and recommendations with respect to the efficiency and efficacy of the relevant administrative and maritime transport processes and have directed that an implementation plan be developed to address these.


The panel has given me an executive summary of the report, which I have decided to release publicly.


Both of the matters on which I have reported this evening – the XV BRICS Summit and the investigation into the Russian ship that docked at Simonstown – are relevant to the principles that inform our relations with the rest of the world.


Our policy of non-alignment and our efforts to build friendly relations with all countries is driven by a commitment to a world that is peaceful and stable.


That is why we will continue to pursue a foreign policy that advances the interests of our country and the progress of our people, and that promotes human rights, peace, justice and equal development across the world.


May God continue to bless South Africa and its people.

Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika.

Morena boloka setjhaba sa heso.

God seën Suid-Afrika.

Mudzimu fhatutshedza Afrika Tshipembe.

Hosi katekisa Afrika.


Good night.



Welcome Remarks by BRICS Chair, President Cyril Ramaphosa at the BRICS–Africa Outreach and BRICS Plus Dialogue, 24 August 2023

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,


Honourable Ministers,


Distinguished Guests,


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.




BRICS CHAIR President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Media Briefing Remarks Announcing the Outcomes of the XV BRICS Summit, 24 August 2023



Members of the Media,


Good Afternoon,


We successfully concluded the XV BRICS Summit yesterday.


It is the first BRICS Summit to be hosted in-person since the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent global travel restrictions.


Leading up to the Summit, there was a wide-ranging BRICS business programme aimed at attracting investment, promoting collaboration and showcasing opportunities within South Africa, Africa and BRICS countries.


We welcome the clear vision of Ms Dilma Rousseff as the President of the New Development Bank on the role that the Bank should play in support of infrastructure and sustainable development in Africa and the Global South.


We celebrated the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the BRICS Business Council and welcomed the self-review by the Council and the subsequent recommendations made to Leaders.


We also welcomed the work of the BRICS Women’s Business Alliance in their first in-person engagement with leaders. We particularly welcomed the participation of youth representatives in the Summit.


We addressed our expectations for the BRICS economic partnership to generate tangible benefits for our communities and deliver viable solutions for common challenges faced by the global South.


We shared our vision of BRICS as a champion of the needs and concerns of the peoples of the Global South. These include the need for beneficial economic growth, sustainable development and reform of multilateral systems.


We reiterate our commitment to inclusive multilateralism and upholding international law, including the purposes and principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter.


We are concerned about ongoing conflicts in many parts of the world. We stress our commitment to the peaceful resolution of differences and disputes through dialogue and inclusive consultation.


The Summit noted that an unbalanced recovery from the hardship of the COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating inequality across the world.


We encourage multilateral financial institutions and international organisations to play a constructive role in building global consensus on economic policies.


We have noted that there is global momentum for the use of local currencies, alternative financial arrangements and alternative payment systems.


As BRICS, we are ready to explore opportunities for improving the stability, reliability and fairness of the global financial architecture.


The Summit agreed to task the BRICS Finance Ministers and/or Central Bank Governors, as appropriate, to consider the issue of local currencies, payment instruments and platforms and report back to the BRICS leaders by the next Summit.


This Summit reaffirmed the importance of BRICS people-to-people exchanges in enhancing mutual understanding, friendship and cooperation.


The Summit appreciates the progress made over the last year in the fields of media, culture, education, sports, arts, youth, civil society and academic exchanges.


We adopted the Johannesburg II Declaration which reflects key BRICS messages on matters of global economic, financial and political importance.


It demonstrates the shared values and common interests that underlie our mutually beneficial cooperation as the five BRICS countries.


BRICS itself is a diverse group of nations.


It is an equal partnership of countries that have differing views but have a shared vision for a better world.


As the five BRICS countries, we have reached agreement on the guiding principles, standards, criteria and procedures of the BRICS expansion process, which has been under discussion for quite a while.


We have consensus on the first phase of this expansion process, and further phases will follow.


We have decided to invite the Argentine Republic, the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to become full members of BRICS. The membership will take effect from 1 January 2024.


We value the interest of other countries in building a partnership with BRICS.


We have tasked our Foreign Ministers to further develop the BRICS partner country model and a list of prospective partner countries and report by the next Summit.


Today, we will be hosting leaders from Africa and the Global South in the BRICS-Africa Outreach and BRICS Plus Dialogue.


This is so that we can have an inclusive dialogue on key issues affecting developing economies and identify actions that we can take together towards a more equitable, inclusive and representative world.


May I conclude by thanking the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India and China, together with their delegations, for participating in this most successful XV BRICS Summit held in Johannesburg, South Africa.


Through this Summit, BRICS has embarked on a new chapter in its effort to build a world that is fair, a world that is just, a world that is also inclusive and prosperous.


I thank you.



Welcome Remarks by President Cyril Ramaphosa on the occasion of the Cultural Performance and State Banquet of the XV BRICS Summit, 23 August 2023

Your Excellencies, Leaders of the BRICS nations,
Your Excellencies, Leaders from across Africa,
Your Excellencies, Leaders of the Global South,
Representatives of global and regional institutions,
Honourable Ministers,
Distinguished Guests,


Good Evening.


Thank you for accepting my invitation to join us tonight as we celebrate being together on a night which I trust you will find joyful and pleasant.


It is also a night when we thank you for joining the BRICS countries prior to tomorrow’s BRICS Outreach programme.


The BRICS group of countries incorporates the peoples, cultures and traditions of more than 3 billion people.


We are united by our common vision and common goals.


Our diversity is our greatest strength, and tonight you will get to experience the rich tapestry of cultures, traditions and foods of South Africa.


Our head chef tonight is Wandile Mabaso, a world class chef who pairs classical French techniques with the wonderful flavours of South Africa.


He is joined by Xolani Mancotywa, a qualified beverage steward and chef who has reimagined traditional African cuisine and authentic African fine dining.


Your culinary journey of South Africa follows a cultural journey across our nation’s diverse cultures.


We hope that this evening you will experience South Africa’s story, one that interweaves our many different cultures, traditions and languages as the foundation of an inclusive nation.


It is a story that reflects the nature and purpose of BRICS, which values partnership and cooperation in a spirit of openness and solidarity.


As BRICS – and all of Your Excellencies who have joined us tonight from many countries – we will all tomorrow articulate how we will foster change in the world for the benefit of all the peoples of the world.


Tonight is a night when we even more reason to celebrate as BRICS partners.

A few hours ago this afternoon, India made history as the first country to successfully land a lunar module on the south pole of the Moon.


We congratulate Prime Minister Modi, the government and people of India and the Indian Space Research Organisation on the success of the Chandraayan-3 mission.


Pushing forward the frontiers of scientific endeavour is integral to human progress.


In anticipation of this great achievement Prime Minister Modi proposed at our BRICS Summit this afternoon that BRICS should set up a Space Exploration Commission where, as BRICS countries, we can share knowledge and experiences.


The more we learn about this world we live in and beyond, the greater our capacity to improve it and to elevate the human condition.


In the words of the great poet and Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore:

“We are in a palace which has no end, but which we have reached. By exploring it and extending our relationship with it, we are ever making it more and more our own.”


This and many other achievements enable us to move forward to prosperity, to progress and to peace.

Once again welcome and please do enjoy this celebration of unity, diversity and shared progress.


I thank you.



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.

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.


Address by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the BRICS Business Forum Leaders’ Dialogue, 22 August 2023

Your Excellency, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva,

Your Excellency, Prime Minister Narendra Modi,

Ministers and Officials,

Business Leaders,



It is a great honour to participate in this Leaders’ Session of the BRICS Business Forum.


I thank you all for your attendance and participation.


The BRICS group of countries exists not only to strengthen government-to-government relations, but also to forge stronger ties between the peoples of our five nations. It is for this reason that several bodies have been established to enable cooperation across society.


The BRICS Business Council is a vital and vibrant platform for strengthening economic ties between our respective countries and in forging common perspectives on inclusive economic growth and development.


The changes that have taken place in BRICS economies over the past decade have done much to transform the shape of the global economy.


Together, the BRICS countries make up a quarter of the global economy, they account for a fifth of global trade and are home to more than 40 percent of the world’s population.


As we celebrate the 15th anniversary of BRICS, trade between BRICS countries totalled some $162 billion last year.


Foreign investment has played an important role in the growth of BRICS economies.


Total annual foreign direct investment into BRICS countries is four times greater than it was 20 years ago.


However, the new wave of protectionism and the subsequent impact of unilateral measures that are incompatible with WTO rules undermine global economic growth and development.


We therefore need to reaffirm our position that economic growth must be underpinned by transparency and inclusiveness. It must be compatible with a multilateral trading system that supports a developmental agenda.


We require a fundamental reform of the global financial institutions so that they can be more agile and responsive to the challenges facing developing economies.


In this respect, the New Development Bank, established by BRICS countries in 2015, is leading the way. Since its formation it has demonstrated its ability to mobilise resources for infrastructure and sustainable development in emerging economies without conditionalities.


BRICS economies have emerged as powerful engines of global growth.


Yet the rapid economic, technological and social changes underway create new risks for employment, equality and poverty in many BRICS countries.


We therefore call on the business community to join hands with us to identify solutions to these and other challenges affecting our respective economies.


From a South African perspective, there is massive untapped potential for investment in our country and on the African continent.


In recognition of this potential, the theme for this XV BRICS Summit is:


‘BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Mutually Accelerated Growth, Sustainable Development, and Inclusive Multilateralism’.


Africa is a continent of great opportunity in the industrialisation process in a variety of sectors.


Africa is a continent rich in the critical minerals that will drive business success in the 21st Century.


The continent has resources of lithium, vanadium, cobalt, platinum, palladium, nickel, copper, rare earth minerals, rhodium and many others.


African countries have made it clear that the investors of choice are those who will process the resources here, close to source.


We are developing stronger regional value-chains that will connect a number of African countries, providing investors with diversity, strength and resilience.


The African Continental Free Trade Area creates a single market that is expected to grow to 1.7 billion people and nearly $7 trillion in consumer and business spending by 2030.


The success of the African Continental Free Trade Area will require a massive investment in infrastructure. We need to mobilise the substantial financing needed to build the roads, ports, rail, energy and telecommunications networks that will enable industrialisation and trade.


Growth in African economies will be driven in the main by small and medium enterprises. This requires focused and effective support to these businesses. It is important that specific financing be directed to women-owned businesses so that they can harness the benefits of the continental free trade area.


Africa has a young, digitally connected and urbanising population, which provides a stable workforce for companies in future. The investment in skills development is growing.


These factors all position Africa as the next frontier of productivity and growth.


BRICS countries have an opportunity to contribute to and participate in Africa’s growth story. This can be achieved through greater cooperation in areas such as infrastructure, agriculture, manufacturing, new energy and the digital economy.


South Africa has an important position in this growing African market, facilitated by the African Continental Free Trade Area and other free trade agreements.


South Africa’s industrial strength, our mineral endowments and our large market opportunities provide a compelling value-proposition for companies wanting to establish their businesses here.


South Africa has significant industrial capacity, with Africa’s most advanced industrial innovation and fabrication base.


Firms that have invested here recognise that South Africa has deep local capital markets and strong financial systems. We have a diverse and sophisticated economy.


South Africa possesses world-class infrastructure, skills, abundant natural resources, industrial clusters and a host of incentives to support investment.


Many investment and partnership opportunities exist in renewable energy, infrastructure, aquaculture, ICT, automotives, pharmaceuticals and advanced manufacturing, among others.


It is clear from the report that we have received that this has been a most productive Business Forum.


I commend the BRICS Business Council, the respective Ministers and officials and all the business leaders that continue to contribute to this valuable work.


I sincerely hope that your participation in this BRICS Business Forum will yield the productive outcomes required for us to catapult BRICS economies towards more equitable and accelerated growth.


I thank you.



BRICS Business Forum Opening Remarks by Ms Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa, 22 August 2023

Honourable Ministers, Distinguished dignitaries, Esteemed guests, ladies and gentlemen representing the realms of business and media, I extend to you a warm Sanibonani, Dumelang, Goeie more and Good morning!


Thank you for the kind introduction, Ashraf, and thank you, Honourable Ministers, for the context you have set and the insights you have shared, which are invaluable as we begin our programme for the BRICS Business Forum today.


Ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of the SA BRICS Business Council, I would also like to take this opportunity to extend a warm welcome to you all.


It is undoubtedly a privilege to be in the presence of so many distinguished representatives from across the BRICS Nations and the African Continent.




I’m looking forward to the content rich programme under the over-arching theme of  “Making Accelerated Growth and Sustainable Development a Reality”.


Today, we are here to discuss the critical issues that the BRICS nations, and the continent faces. Our agenda provides us with a unique platform for networking, knowledge sharing, and collaboration with business leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, thought leaders, policy makers from across Brazil, Russia, India, China, and the African Continent. We are extremely honoured that our programme is presided over by our respective Heads of State.




We have curated diverse sessions and panel discussions with representation from each of the BRICS countries, and the African continent.


  • During the day, we will investigate the rules and regulations required to establish a working framework that can help to accelerate trade and investment across our economies. In an increasingly interconnected world, it is important for the BRICS nations to come together to build our economies through strengthening economic partnerships and unlock new opportunities and overcome shared challenges.
  • We will explore agricultural development and synergies in the BRICS countries, as we strive for sustainable growth, it is important to address the critical issues facing the agricultural industry. Through the promotion of technological advancements, knowledge sharing, and agricultural finance, we can revolutionize agricultural practices and ensure food security for our nations.
  • The other important panel discussion will focus on delivering a just transition. As we deal with the complexities of societal challenges &climate issues, we must build a pathway that ensures inclusivity and leaves no one behind. By promoting economic growth that embraces social equity and builds resilient societies that flourish under sustainable path for all.
  • The entrepreneurial opportunities and market access as key enablers for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is another important conversation. BRICS grouping’s economic growth is depended on the success of our SMEs. By creating an enabling environment for entrepreneurship, providing market access, financial resources and supporting SMEs with favourable policies we can unleash their potential and drive sustainable growth for the BRICS nations.
  • Africa also takes centre stage today with the African Continental Free Trade Area as a key theme on our agenda. The goal of creating the largest Free Trade area in the world across the African Continent is gaining momentum, and the opportunity looms large for BRICS nations in the context of a united Africa from a trade perspective.




  • In today’s interconnected world, collaboration can help us not only to navigate the many challenges we continuously face but also help us to capitalise on opportunities that regularly present themselves. By working together, we can harness our collective strengths, leverage our respective expertise, and unlock new avenues for sustainable growth.


  • Undoubtedly, the BRICS nations are at the forefront of technological advancements and digital transformation, and by jointly harnessing the power of technology, we can drive efficiencies and create new areas for business growth across our economies.



We must prioritise the needs of the most vulnerable and marginalised among us and place inclusive growth and shared sustainable growth the core of our collective efforts. Investing in education, healthcare, and social infrastructure, can uplift our populations and create a brighter future for future generations.


The recommendations from the 2023 Annual report certainly indicate this focus. It was excellent to listen to the recommendations from the Working Group Chairs yesterday. I’d like to express my sincere gratitude for the many hours of work that have gone into the agreed recommendations that are in the annual report which will be presented to the Heads of State tomorrow.


As we go about today’s agenda, we must also take time to acknowledge and celebrate that our combined economic might and diverse resources are a driving force in the global economy. To add further context, remember that as the BRICS nations, we account for 25% of international trade, contribute over 30% of global GDP, and makeup just over 40% of the world’s population.



I encourage you all to make the most of the BRICS Business Forum and actively engage with one another, share your experiences, avenues for international trade and investment and propose actionable solutions that will shape the future of our nations and  the African continent.


Throughout our discussions, we must remember that our strength lies not only in our shared challenges but also in our shared aspirations. We must collaborate, exchange ideas, and learn from each other’s experiences. By working together, we can create an environment that promotes a sustainable development and unleashes the transformative power of our BRIC nations and the African continent.


Finally, As you go about shaping this BRICS business forum, I leave you with a well-known Quote from President Nelson Mandela, “It is in your hands to make a better world for all who live in it.”

Thank you