As the only African country in the BRICS, South Africa is playing a bigger and more meaningful role in the group on behalf of the African continent. Recently, Dolana Msimang, South African ambassador to China, shared her views with Beijing Review. Edited excerpts follow:
Dolana Msimang: The BRICS are an important group, where issues affecting the developing world, or the South, can be discussed. We coordinate our positions where appropriate, and member states cooperate in a multitude of fields, enhancing intra-BRICS trade, security and social policy, especially in the areas of health, population and education.
The BRICS countries have frequent exchanges on issues related to the UN as well as in the context of other multilateral forums. A recent example is the informal meeting of BRICS leaders on the margins of the recent G20 Summit in China.
We are particularly interested in comprehensive reform of the global economic and financial architecture. This is a focus area for the BRICS finance ministers, who gather on the margins of the meetings of the Bretton Woods Institutions.
The BRICS ministers of foreign affairs and international relations hold an annual meeting on the margins of the UN General Assembly to exchange views on issues of mutual interest. One such issue is the election of the UN secretary general. The BRICS include two permanent members of the UN Security Council (China and Russia), and for South Africa it is important that the elected candidate promotes the African Union's continental agenda.
South Africa participates in all the agreed BRICS working groups with the aim of strengthening and enhancing all the group's structures. We have contributed to creating the BRICS Business Council and the BRICS Think Tanks Council. South Africa has also advocated and supported the inclusion of civil society structures in the BRICS framework.
The theme of the upcoming BRICS Summit in India proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, "Building Responsive, Inclusive and Collective Solutions," speaks directly to our goals. This encompasses our spirit of collaboration, which aims at contributing to global solutions for global challenges, especially in addressing the effects of the global economic crisis on sustainable growth paths.
South Africa will continue to partner with other BRICS members to enhance economic engagement and cooperation, specifically in respect of the implementation of the Strategy for Economic Partnership, which the BRICS leaders adopted in 2015. The BRICS countries will each champion specific areas of the strategy. South Africa will lead in two important sectors: industrialization and minerals processing; and science, technology and innovation.
The summit will facilitate exchanges of views on multiple global issues of common interest and concern which require resolute action by all nations. We will also review the New Development Bank's operations in support of its various activities, as well as its high-level appointments.
Copyedited by Chris Surtees
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