In our briefing today, I will report back on the outcomes of the Fifth BRICS Summit and the BRICS Leaders-Africa Dialogue Forum, as well as the recent Extra-Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS).
1. OUTCOMES OF THE FIFTH BRICS SUMMIT
President Jacob Zuma hosted the Fifth BRICS Summit on 27 March 2013 in Durban under the theme: “BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Development, Integration and Industrialisation.”
This Summit completed the first cycle of BRICS Summits and was the first time that the Summit was hosted on the African continent. This has specific relevance given that it coincides with the 50th anniversary celebrations of the OAU/AU.
South Africa’s projected outcomes for the Fifth BRICS Summit were achieved.
The BRICS Leaders agreed to the establishment of a New Development Bank and indicated that the initial capital contribution to the bank should be substantial and sufficient for the bank to be effective in financing infrastructure.
In addition, the Leaders also agreed on the establishment of the contingent reserve arrangement (CRA)with an initial size of US$100 billion. The CRA would help BRICS countries forestall short-term liquidity pressures and further strengthen financial stability. It would also contribute to strengthening the global financial safety net and complement existing international arrangements as an additional line of defence.
In this regard, the BRICS Leaders agreed to review progress made in these two initiatives at the next meeting of BRICS Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors in September 2013.
Another outcome of the Summit was the establishment of the BRICS Think Tanks Council and the BRICS Business Council.
The BRICS Think Tanks Council will link respective Think Tanks into a network to develop policy options such as the evaluation and future long-term strategy for BRICS.
The BRICS Business Council will bring together business associations from each of the BRICS countries and manage engagement between the business communities on an ongoing basis.
These two new BRICS structures that were initiated under the South African chairpersonship, that is, the BRICS Think Tanks and the BRICS Business Council, will strengthen our intra-BRICS cooperation to develop new paradigms for sustainable and inclusive growth models, as well as new learning and knowledge paradigms to deal with our contemporary growth and development challenges.
Two Agreements were concluded under auspices of the BRICS Interbank Cooperation Mechanism.
The BRICS Multilateral Infrastructure Co-Financing Agreement for Africa paves the way for the establishment of co-financing arrangements for infrastructure projects across the African continent.
The BRICS Multilateral Cooperation and Co-Financing Agreement for Sustainable Development sets out to explore the establishment of bilateral agreements aimed at establishing cooperation and co-financing arrangements, specifically around sustainable development and green economy elements.
The Summit outcome documents known as the eThekwini Declaration and Action Plan were adopted at the conclusion of the Summit.
South Africa assumed the BRICS chairpersonship at the Summit and will be responsible for the implementation of the Action Plan during its tenure.
It should be noted that human rights and gender, were for the first time included in the eThekwini Declaration. Linked hereto, was the welcoming of the appointment of the new Chairperson of the AU Commission as an affirmation of the leadership of women, which is an important pronouncement by BRICS.
Matters that are key priorities in terms of the agenda of the African Union have been strategically repositioned in the eThekwini Declaration in line with the Summit theme. BRICS Leaders reaffirmed their support for sustainable infrastructure development, as well as industrial development, job creation, skills development, food and nutrition security and poverty eradication and sustainable development in Africa.
BRICS Leaders expressed their commitment to Peace and Security on the African continent. The BRICS Leaders furthermore called upon the United Nations to enhance cooperation with the African Union, and its Peace and Security Council, pursuant to UN Security Council resolutions.
Regarding the global economic situation, a strong commitment to foster growth and financial stability was articulated by the BRICS Leaders in order to address unemployment.
The Leaders reiterated their position that the reform of the IMF should reflect the growing weight of BRICS and other developing countries and that agreement on the quota formula should be completed by January next year.
The BRICS Leaders also agreed that the election for the next world Trade Organisation (WTO) Director-General should be a candidate from a developing country.
2. OUTCOMES OF THE BRICS LEADERS-AFRICA DIALOGUE FORUM (RETREAT)
President Jacob Zuma hosted the BRICS Leaders-Africa Dialogue Forum on the margins of the Fifth BRICS Summit in Durban. The Retreat was held under the theme, “Unlocking Africa’s potential: BRICS and Africa Cooperation on Infrastructure”.
Invited participants included amongst others: the BRICS Heads of State and Government, the Chairperson of the AU, the Chairperson of the AU Commission, African Leaders representing the eight Regional Economic Communities (RECs), as well as the NEPAD Presidential Infrastructure Championing Initiative (PICI).
The overall objective of the Retreat was to offer an opportunity for BRICS and African Leaders to engage on measures to strengthen cooperation between the BRICS countries and the African continent to unlock its potential and promote regional integration through infrastructure development and industrialisation.
The BRICS leaders have undertaken to take their cooperation forward to support Africa’s efforts to accelerate the diversification and modernisation of its economies, through infrastructure development, knowledge exchange and support for increased access to technology, enhanced capacity-building and investment in human capital, within the framework of the AU and NEPAD.
It is clear that BRICS support for the AU and NEPAD is undiminished from the Sanya Summit, through New Delhi, to Durban. This support was enhanced and energised at the Retreat. A path has been forged to further strengthen collaboration between the BRICS countries and the AUC; the Nepad Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA) and the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) in support of the implementation of projects under the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA); and the AU/NEPAD Presidential Infrastructure Championing Initiative (PICI) and the Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plans.
It is expected that relations between the BRIC countries and African countries and institutions will move from strength to strength, with enhanced cooperation in various priority fields, and the building of a strategic partnership in a concrete manner.
In this regard, South Africa will keep the African side informed of developments regarding BRICS and Africa cooperation through the AU Assembly, including proposals in response to the African appeal that such exchanges should be ongoing to fully realise the potential of the partnership.
3. OUTCOMES OF THE EXTRA-ORDINARY SUMMIT OF THE ECONOMIC COMMUNITY OF CENTRAL AFRICAN STATES (ECCAS) ON THE SITUATION IN THE CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
His Excellency, President Jacob Zuma, yesterday concluded a successful Working Visit to N’Djamena, Republic of Chad, where he led a South African delegation to the Extra-Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS).
South Africa was invited to the Extra-Ordinary Summit by His Excellency Mr Idriss Deby Itno, Chairperson of the ECCAS and President of the Republic of Chad.
The Summit considered the unfolding political and security situation in the Central African Republic and took a number of decisions in relation to the situation.
The ECCAS Extra-Ordinary Summit decided that the government of the CAR, which was constituted after the 23rd of March 2013, is not recognised as a legitimate government. This is in line with the African Union statutes that outlaw unconstitutional changes of governments on the continent.
The position of the AU is very clear that there could be no recognition given to any government that comes to power through unconstitutional means, especially through a violent military coup such as the one in the CAR.
The decisions by the AU, the ECCAS and South Africa not to recognise the self-proclaimed government in the CAR will go a long way in strengthening the authority of the AU, its statutes and policies, which are adopted collectively at Summits and other organs of our continental organisation.
The leadership of our continent is showing no tolerance to unlawful changes of governments.
The ECCAS leaders also decided that an “electoral college” or committee comprising representatives from all sectors of society in the CAR is to be constituted to head the transitional period in the CAR. It was further decided that the “electoral college” will have executive powers and its period of existence will last no longer than 18 months.
The leaders dispatched a team of ministers from the ECCAS region to visit the CAR and convey the decisions of the Extra-Ordinary Summit.
Regarding the status of South African troops deployed to the CAR as a result of a bilateral agreement that was entered into in 2007, President Zuma announced at the Extra-Ordinary Summit that South Africa has taken a decision to withdraw its troops from the CAR.
President Zuma told the Summit that: “Since the self-appointed leader of the CAR took over, in the process nullifying the Constitution, the Parliament and the Judiciary, it has become clear that the Government that we entered into an agreement with was no longer in place.”
I thank you.
Media statement by the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, on international relations matters
ISSUED BY GCIS ON BEHALF OF THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION