South Africa hosts the first meeting of BRICS Sherpas and Sous-Sherpas

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The BRICS forum constitutes one of the cornerstones of South Africa’s foreign policy, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) said on Monday, 5 February.

“Through our engagement in BRICS, we have worked not only to generate ideas, projects and programmes that are innovative and responsive to the realities that our countries and citizens face – we have equally focused our efforts on the practical implementation of our ambitions.

“We have done so in a way that has yielded tangible results,” said DIRCO Director-General Kgabo Mahoai.

DG Mahoai was speaking at the opening of the BRICS Sherpas and Sous Sherpas, held in Cape Town from 4 to 6 February.

The main pillar of the country’s foreign policy was Africa, DG Mahoai said, stressing that South Africa had sought to carry the African Agenda into the BRICS engagements.

“We intend to further engender a meaningful and productive interaction between BRICS and our African partners, while attempting to contribute to the BRICS institution-building agenda, through the two proposals we have put forward, namely the establishment of a working group on peacekeeping and the virtual vaccine research platform,” said DG Mahoai.

The meeting, which brought together representatives from the five emerging economies, was the first on the calendar under the auspices of South Africa’s Chairship, which it assumed in January.

The meeting discussed the working arrangements for BRICS.

South Africa is scheduled to host the 10th BRICS Summit from 25 – 27 July at the Sandton Convention Centre, which will see the country building on the BRICS programme of development and prosperity for partner countries.

DG Mahoai said the meeting would discuss proposed new areas of cooperation, such as the establishment of a working group on peacekeeping, and a platform for collaboration with the BRICS vaccine innovation and development partners.

The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, on Tuesday, 6 February 2018, delivered the closing remarks.

In her closing remarks, Minister Nkoana-Mashabane told the first meeting of BRICS Sherpas and Sous Sherpas that the priorities identified by South Africa would help guide BRICS as it entered its second decade of existence.

“We believe that the identified priorities will lead to shared prosperity and inclusive growth and we are confident that your deliberations have charted a path towards the realisation of the BRICS developmental agenda in the second decade of BRICS cooperation”.

The hosting of the 10th BRICS Summit coincides with the centenary celebrations of democratic South Africa’s first President and international icon, Tata Nelson Mandela. President Mandela was a fierce supporter of the developmental agenda of the South, and it is significant that BRICS leaders will meet in South Africa in 2018. All the BRICS members individually and through other international forums such as the Non-Aligned Movement and the G77+China, played a major role in supporting the struggle for freedom in South Africa. SOURCE UBUNTU NEWSLETTER