South African Consulate in Lagos has called on Nigerian businesses to take advantage of South Africa’s hosting of the regional economic group, BRICS, an acronym for Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, this August.
Bobby Moroe, consul-general of the Lagos Consulate, made the call during a roundtable with the Nigerian business community with the theme, “Promoting Regional and Continental Trade through AfCFTA and BRICS.”
According to him, while South Africa is currently the only African member of the BRICS, it is hosting on behalf of the entire continent.
Moroe said Nigeria as well as other African countries will also benefit immensely from participating in the meeting as countries on the continent share similar challenges, which require similar solutions.
Emphasising the importance of collaboration of all countries in the Southern part of the globe, Moroe said in the post-COVID-19 world order, South-South cooperation has become very important. And I think South Africa has played a very critical role in terms of ensuring that its membership of BRICS, as the only African country goes beyond its call of duty to represent the entire continent’s aspirations and various systems.
The challenges that South Africa faces, the socio-economic and political challenges faced by South Africa are no different from the challenges that are facing the entire continent. So, whatever it is that we advance at the level of BRICS formation, we advance not only on behalf of South Africa, but on behalf of the rest of the continent.
“This is why the chairperson of the BRICS Business Council, Ms Busi Mabuza is here on a roadshow. The purpose of this Roadshow is to say to the Nigerian business community, BRICS is at your disposal. As we prepare to host the BRICS summit in August, we call upon you as a country. We call upon you as the relevant stakeholders to take advantage of our membership and participate fully.”
Speaking on the importance of Nigeria’s participation, Busi Mabuza, chairperson of the BRICS Business Council, said Nigeria’s participation at the BRICS meeting is important because the country is the largest on the African continent in terms of economy and population size.
According to her, “Nigeria is an economy that we can’t ignore. And as South Africa, we are aware that other countries have an interest not just in South Africa, but the entire continent. Because of the size of the Africa’s population of 1.2 billion people, and the relatively low GDP, there is huge opportunity for growth in Africa. Therefore, anybody with a long-term investment view, wants to be on this continent.
“Now, the African Union, of course, declared the African continental free trade area, which if implemented, well should increase the trade opportunity for us, amongst each other. It is very important for South Africa, that Nigeria which is an anchor on the western side of the continent, is at the same side of the table with us as we sit in August under South Africa’s gesture and engage the BRIC partners on what it is that we would like to achieve for the next 10 years,” Mabuza said.
Greg Munyai, Economic Counsellor at the South African High Commission, Abuja said the meeting in Lagos was significant because it helped to strengthen bilateral relations between Nigeria and South Africa, and as well highlighted the opportunities for collaborations through the BRICS and AfCFTA platforms.
Munyai further emphasized that the participation of Nigerian business as the BRICS meeting would be a great benefit for the country and the continent, which was why an awareness had to be created in Nigeria about the August meeting in South Africa.
On his part, Jimmy Ranamane, general manager, Global Markets at Brand South Africa encouraged business delegates attending the Business Roundtable to lead in the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area, and also called on Nigerian business to attend the BRICS Business Forum, which for the first time has been opened to delegates from other countries in the African continent.
South Africa will host the 15th BRICS Summit at the Sandton Convention Centre in Sandton, Johannesburg, from 22 to 24 August 2023.