His Excellency, President Jair Bolsonaro,

His Excellency, President Vladimir Putin,

His Excellency, Prime Minister Narendra Modi,

His Excellency, President Xi Jinping,

Honourable KV Kamath,

Mr Jackson Schneider,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

On the report of the New Development Bank

It has been five years since we signed the Articles of the New Development Bank at the 6th BRICS Summit in Fortaleza, thus establishing the first multilateral development institution by emerging and developing countries.

Today, we proudly acknowledge the significant achievements made by the Bank, and for this we commend the stewardship of President Kamath.

As founding members, we made a commitment that the Bank should benefit not only BRICS countries but should extend its horizon to other emerging markets and developing countries.

South Africa is particularly impressed with the Bank’s efforts to ensure that it becomes a global financial institution by 2021.

South Africa supports the Bank’s flexible approach to membership and the composition of the list of countries to be considered as prospective members for the first phase of expansion.

We stand ready to support the Bank in this process, particularly with regard to reaching out to Africa.

We are confident that the NDB’s activities on the continent will assist in addressing the large infrastructure financing gap that has been impeding economic growth and development in Africa.

In this slowing growth environment, where fiscal and monetary policy is limited, public and private role players need to collaborate to support growth.

Institutions like the New Development Bank should consider innovative financing instruments to crowd-in private sector participation.

As we grow and strengthen the NDB as an institution, we must not lose sight of its developmental mandate.

We call on the NDB to ensure that its financing policies support infrastructure development in all our countries.

The NDB has demonstrated great leadership since it opened its doors in 2015, bringing it on par with and, in some instances, surpassing other regional development banks.

We trust that the NDB will maintain this good momentum.

As he concludes a sterling term, we wish President Kamath and his management team greater success for the future.

It gives us as leaders of BRICS countries enormous pride to see the commitment and the spirit of the Fortaleza Agreement is alive and thriving.

On the report of the BRICS Business Council

We welcome the report of the Chair of the BRICS Business Council, and express our gratitude for your continued work in bringing together our respective business communities.

I wish to raise three issues that, from a South African perspective, would be essential in driving forward cooperation among the BRICS business communities.

First, would be to redouble our efforts to move forward the work of the manufacturing work stream.

A working manufacturing sector requires blending appropriate infrastructure, cutting-edge innovation, adequate finance and the right skills.

We therefore encourage the further development of the proposed Manufacturing Working Portal and project investment database, which will benefit all areas of the Business Council’s agenda.

Second, is to explore ways to integrate the African continent into the plans of the Business Council.

While we are focused on maintaining strong links between our five member states, each of our economies remain closely intertwined with our regions.

For South Africa, that is particularly true as we embark on deeper integration through the African Continental Free Trade agreement.

All five BRICS countries are active in Africa, and the Business Council can serve as an important voice in connecting and helping us align some of our initiatives.

Finally, we need to focus on shared and balanced growth within each of countries.

In South Africa, we are grappling with the challenge of ensuring growth is shared between large metropolitan areas, smaller secondary cities and rural and underdeveloped areas.

Balancing this growth becomes particularly important given the structural changes brought about by the 4th Industrial Revolution, and the premium it attaches to skills and ICT infrastructure.

We have a lot to learn from each other in this area, and hope the BRICS Business Council can serve as a mechanism for us to share these lessons.

I thank you.

Source: The Presidency Republic of South Africa