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BRICS

BRICS in Africa

The Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), in collaboration with Deloitte & Touche and the South African Chapter of the BRICS Business Council, will host a business forum on 25 July 2018 at the Sandton Convention Centre.

The forum, BRICS in Africa: Collaboration for Inclusive Growth and Shared Prosperity in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, will showcase the economic prowess of the African continent, with a particular focus on advanced manufacturing, energy, technology, rail, aviation, information and communication technology, financial services and beneficiation (agro-processing and mining). It will include business-to-business, business-to-government, and development-finance-to-government networking sessions.

The forum aims to enhance the flow of foreign direct investment into the continent, stimulate dialogue on the utilisation of incentive packages offered by BRICS members, diversify the trade basket specifically in value-added goods, create opportunities for partnerships, develop integrated value chains and contribute towards the industrialisation of the continent, among other things.

Minister of Trade and Industry Dr Rob Davies (MP) will open a high-level plenary, which will be followed by discussions with private-sector stakeholders on the following topics: Economics of trade: an analysis of intra-BRICS trade; advancing BRICS-Africa cooperation in pursuit of industrialisation, transformation and integration; the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR): a catalyst for growth and inclusive development; and the promotion of intra-BRICS investments. In addition, BRICS leaders will participate in a presidential session that will include a signing ceremony and the launch of a commemorative booklet.

The industry track

the dti's Industrial Development Division (IDD) will be coordinating the department's participation in and hosting of the third BRICS Industry Meeting, scheduled to take place on 3 and 4 July 2018 in the North West province. The IDD will host two back-to-back meetings that focus on 4IR, in line with the overarching theme of BRICS 2018.

The meeting is expected to foster cooperation on concrete actions that stem from the agreements signed at the first and second BRICS industry meetings.

Proposed actions include the establishment of a BRICS Digital Industrial Revolution Initiative, with contributions from the private sector in support of key manufacturing sectors such as machinery and equipment, basic metals and fabricated metal products, transport equipment, electrical and optical equipment, and chemicals and non-metallic mineral products. This would include regulation and policies to shape markets (learning best practice from other BRICS members to ensure businesses in the respective countries can effectively participate in the Digital Industrial Revolution); workforce transformation through building future skills and capabilities with a focus on public-private sector collaborations; and digital platforms and innovative business models for logistics, design and retail channels.

South Africa proposes a dedicated 4IR BRICS Working Group to facilitate multi-stakeholder dialogue; unpack 4IR challenges; and identify opportunities for joint programmes at national, regional and global levels.

Trade policy-related matters

In the trade track, South Africa focuses on a number of key priority areas for cooperation in trade, industry and investment. These include value-added trade and intra-BRICS investments; the creation and development of hi-tech industries to promote practical business cooperation on e-commerce; infrastructure investment in Africa to contribute to regional integration; investment in South Africa's Special Economic Zones; cooperation in Intellectual Property rights; and support of the multi-lateral trading system.

South Africa has hosted three meetings of the technical-level Contact Group on Economic and Trade Issues, and the eighth meeting of the BRICS Trade Ministers will be hosted in July 2018. The outcomes of these meetings will feed into the summit.