Egypt's inclusion in BRICS to boost infrastructure, free trade in Africa



Fri, 01 Sep 2023 - 08:44 GMT


Fri, 01 Sep 2023 - 08:44 GMT

 traffic policeman walks past a signage decoration for BRICS Summit outside the Sheraton Hotel, the venue of Summit in Sanya, China's Hainan province, April 13, 2011. RUETERS-Jason LeeaA

traffic policeman walks past a signage decoration for BRICS Summit outside the Sheraton Hotel, the venue of Summit in Sanya, China's Hainan province, April 13, 2011. RUETERS-Jason LeeaA

CAIRO - 1 September 2023: Busi Mabuza, Chairperson of the Business Council of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), stated at the 15th BRICS summit held in South Africa between August 22-24, that South Africa was among the most enthusiastic supporters of the expansion of BRICS. The group, originally known as BRIC before South Africa’s inclusion in 2011, is extending an invitation to other countries to join.


According to Mabuza, South Africa has particularly encouraged new members since it was the first beneficiary of BRICS expansion. "This makes us more inclined to support other countries wanting to join," Mabuza said. She added that the focus of their recent summit was primarily on business and investment opportunities.


Among the six countries invited to join BRICS, Egypt has gained particular attention. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa made the announcement at the end of the summit, naming Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Ethiopia, Argentina, and Iran as the other candidates from among nearly 20 that had applied for BRICS membership.


"While I'm not fully aware of the negotiations that led to Egypt's inclusion, I know that the foreign ministers of the five countries engaged in extensive talks for several months," Mabuza said.


Mabuza also emphasized that the inclusion of a North African country like Egypt could bring significant strength to BRICS and also to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which aims to be a game-changing trade agreement. "The move will boost the infrastructure that connects African countries, including the Cairo-Cape Town route that spans many countries, all of which can benefit from this infrastructure," she added.


Mabuza indicated that the summit discussions revolved around "BRICS and Africa communication", advocating for AfCFTA as a significant opportunity for BRICS countries, especially if they shift from viewing Africa merely as a source of raw materials to investing in the continent.


Busi Mabuza, who also serves as the chairperson of South Africa’s Industrial Development Corporation, expressed her enthusiasm about the opportunities Egypt and South Africa could share at the BRICS table. "Both countries can now agree on common priorities. If these are executed in a manner aligned with activating the AfCFTA, we automatically become more certain of achieving this dream on the ground," she said.


The points raised by the Chairwoman of the BRICS Business Council in South Africa point to the benefits and challenges the country has faced since joining this economic alliance. Emphasis on the growth in trade between South Africa and its BRICS partners reflects the importance of regional and international cooperation for boosting the economy.


As for trade relations with China, they reflect the global shift towards Asia as a center for economic growth. This enhances the importance of diversifying trade and investment partners for South Africa.


Regarding investments, appreciating the role played by investors from BRICS countries in developing local industries and providing job opportunities is an important step toward achieving sustainable development.


Concerning the idea of reducing the dominance of the dollar, it is a complex issue that requires international coordination. The American currency still occupies a central position in the global financial system, and any shift would require sustained efforts and likely take a long time.


Interest in trade balance and the payment and settlement system in local currencies within the framework of the African Continental Free Trade Area is a good example of how regional cooperation can enhance economic stability.


Overall, the benefits and challenges brought by South Africa's membership in the BRICS alliance remain a topic worthy of ongoing monitoring and analysis, especially in light of the rapid changes in global economic conditions.




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