JOHANNESBURG, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said Monday the country has benefited from being a member of the BRICS over the last decade.
"We have reaped the benefits of membership of this important bloc, most notably in the area of economic cooperation," he said in his weekly newsletter.
Joining the bloc of emerging economies enhanced South Africa's position as an important emerging economy in the world, he said, adding that it has given the country access to policy and technical expertise of larger and established economies, as well as access to the support of the New Development Bank.
Ramaphosa noted the growing trade ties especially between South Africa, China, and India. "Bilateral trade has grown, particularly with China and India, with commodity exports and manufactured goods imports featuring strongly," Ramaphosa said. He further highlighted the direct investment in sectors such as mining, automotive, transportation, clean energy, and financial services.
Ramaphosa said the establishment of the New Development Bank which has a regional office in Johannesburg has been crucial in financing and technically supporting projects in transportation, clean energy, environmental protection, water infrastructure, and greenhouse gas emissions reduction.
"Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, South Africa has received two billion US dollars in funding from the New Development Bank under the COVID-19 Emergency Loan Program to fight the pandemic and to support our economic recovery," he said.
He applauded the cooperation from other BRICS countries in terms of securing personal protective equipment and cooperation around vaccine access and distribution.
The president made the remarks after the conclusion of the 13th BRICS Summit held last week. He said the recently concluded summit agreed to deepen cooperation in fighting the pandemic and in the mobilization of resources in response to future pandemics.
"In support of economic recovery, BRICS partners agreed to strengthen collaboration in catalytic sectors such as energy, IT, science, technology and innovation, agriculture and the green economy. These are all important sectors identified in our Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan, announced last year," he said.
"BRICS is of immense strategic importance to our country and will continue to be so for some time to come," said the president. Enditem