Africa is the current frontier for growth and prosperity and the opportunities from an investment perspective are limitless, says President Jacob Zuma.
The President was addressing the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) Business Council Special Session for South Africa held on the margins of the 9th BRICS Summit, Xiamen, China, on Sunday.
President Zuma reiterated that Africa remains a continent of great opportunity with lots of potential.
“Despite the recent challenges, Africa’s household consumption and business spending are both growing strongly, offering companies a 5.6 trillion US dollars opportunity by 2025 according to the latest Mckinsey Report.
“Africa’s manufacturing sector today does not compare favourably with those of other emerging economies.
“However, Mckinsey predicts that output could expand to nearly one trillion US dollars in 2025 if Africa’s manufacturers were to produce more to meet domestic demand from consumers and businesses, and work with governments to address factors hindering their ability to produce and export goods,” said President Zuma, adding that these statistics cannot be ignored.
The President further called upon the BRICS partners to collaborate with South Africa in a few areas including investing in supply and development programmes in Africa; skills development and technology transfer and also engaging in projects that would support inclusive development and equal partnerships.
According to President Zuma, within the BRICS context, South Africa has four primary goals which are to see development and inclusive economic growth; promote value-added trade among BRICS countries and to promote investment into productive sectors.
“I am of the view that focusing on these goals would enable us to facilitate greater trade, investment and industrialisation which is a key part of addressing common challenges facing us including unemployment, inequality and poverty,” he said.
The President further acknowledged the sterling efforts made by our BRICS Business Council in advancing the country’s developmental objectives.
“To this end, I would like to applaud the initiatives championed by the Council as it relates to SME development, skills transfer programmes, increasing collaboration with the New Development Bank, the discussions surrounding the establishment of a BRICS rating agency, E-commerce collaboration and the issuance of an Investment Guide, amongst others.”
An important development is also the recent launch of the Africa Regional Centre of the New Development Bank in South Africa.
The launch of the ARC further demonstrates the commitment by BRICS members towards providing access to capital for infrastructure projects in Africa and other developing countries.
“We reiterate our view that the New Development Bank must be more welcoming to emerging and developing markets and to Africa in particular, and assist us in taking forward our developmental agenda.
“We look forward to seeing progress in the funding of infrastructure investment in energy, transport, water and other productive sectors which currently impedes our competitiveness in the broader global landscape,” President Zuma said.
The BRICS Summit, which takes place from 3 – 5 September, is themed “BRICS: Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future”.