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BRICS Business Council promotes cooperation
November 20, 2020, 10:56 am

“BRICS has become a recognizable multilateral brand of global governance.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin virtually hosting the 12th BRICS Summit November 17, 2020 [PPIO]

Just days after the heads of state of the the BRICS countries convened their 12th Summit online, hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin, the bloc’s Business Council also met virtually in St Petersburg, and highlighted the strong multilateral relations between business communities in the alliance,

But members said awareness about the alliance should be boosted in a period of increased economic and trade volatility.

Busi Mabuza, the chairperson of the South African Chapter of the BRICS Business Council, said it is quite clear that global cooperation and stability is critical to the recovery of global, regional, and national economies.

The South African economy suffered a 17.6 per cent year-on-year (y/y) decline in the second quarter. Only India among the BRICS had a more severe contraction with a 23.9 per cent y/y slump. Brazil has an economic structure similar to South Africa and it suffered a 11.4 per cent y/y decrease as it the lockdown in that country was not as severe as South Africa’s.

Russia had a 8.0 per cent decrease, while China’s economy grew by 3.2 per cent y/y in the second quarter. A more appropriate comparison for China would be the first quarter as it imposed selected lockdowns then after the COVID-19 virus emerged in Wuhan.  In the first quarter, the Chinese economy fell by 6.8 per cent y/y.

In a session on opportunities for sustainable development, delegates agreed on the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, stimulate economic recovery, and create new jobs. The new economic development models that have emerged during the global Covid-19 pandemic can be further scaled up with a strong focus on sustainable transport corridors, new and more efficient materials for building and construction and greater innovation to increase agricultural yields. In particular, recent experience in South Africa in the field of renewable energy uptakes were held up as best practices for other BRICS members.

The delegates said that areas of cooperation within the BRICS alliance exist in fields such as green growth opportunities, energy storage, electric transport, and solar thermal power. The Business Council called for greater trust between private and public sector entities to foster better collaboration and create an environment that supports more seamless contract enforcement and dispute resolution, so that the move to the Fourth Industrial Revolution would be able to facilitate international industrial cooperation and reduce the impact of the distance factor, particularly in the transport and logistics sectors by embracing a digital economy.

The BRICS Business Council was created in 2013 at the South African summit in Durban to strengthen and promote economic, business and trade ties among the business communities in the member countries. The St Petersburg summit this year was an important next step to strengthen relationships and identify immediate and innovative opportunities for future cooperation.

Helmo Preuss in Johannesburg, South Africa for The BRICS Post

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