The Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Mr Ebrahim Patel officially opened the BRICS Business Forum today. The event brought together 1 200 delegates from South Africa, Brazil, Russia, India, China, and several African nations.

Minister Patel extended his warm welcome to the guests, including notable figures such as Ms Dilma Rousseff, President of the New Development Bank, Mr Fernando Haddad, Minister of Finance of Brazil, Mozambican Industry and Commerce Minister Silvino Augusto José Moreno, and the leaders of the respective BRICS Business Council Chapters.

Highlighting South Africa’s remarkable achievements in exports, Minister Patel acknowledged the large contingent of exporting firms, noting that South Africa exported goods worth R2 trillion last year, constituting nearly one third of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.

Minister Patel emphasised the evolving global landscape, stating: “Today, the world is more polarised, climate change is more pressing, and the speed of technological innovation is increasing rapidly; these trends in turn are reshaping our economies and societies in more profound ways than many could project.”

He stressed that “business as usual is no longer an option”, and urged innovation and adaptation to a world characterised by volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity, and fractiousness. He emphasised the context in which the BRICS Business Forum convenes, highlighting the need for optimism in the face of challenges.

Minister Patel drew attention to the collective economic might of the BRICS nations, which together account for over a quarter of the world’s economic output. He praised the establishment of significant institutions like the New Development Bank, emphasising the importance of networks for policy exchanges and knowledge-sharing. He underscored BRICS’ commitment to a world-view founded on the right to develop independently, without relying on others.

Acknowledging the transformative power of industrialisation, trade and technological development, Minister Patel hailed the African Continental Free Trade Area, which unites 54 nations and offers a platform to spur African industrialisation and innovation.
He portrayed Africa as no longer just a raw material supplier but an emerging force of innovation and industrialisation in the global arena.

Minister Patel maintained that despite the world’s troubles, courageous individuals can shape the future. He called on the Business Forum to explore how companies and firms in BRICS economies can grow and prosper through collaboration and partnership. He urged investment and trade practices that support the industrialisation and welfare enhancement of developing nations.

This meeting, he noted, provides the framework for forging valuable business-to-business partnerships and contributing to the world’s shared prosperity.


Bongani Lukhele – Director: Media Relations
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Issued by: The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic)
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