A project portal, designed to connect projects in BRICS member states, was launched in Johannesburg on 11 July 2018. The portal will act as a vehicle for project owners to meet potential funders and sponsors. This initiative was launched by the BRICS Business Council Infrastructure Working Group.
SADC ministers of finance agreed on 10 July 2018 that regional integration within the finance and investment sector should be deepened. At their meeting in Ekurhuleni, South Africa, they also emphasised the need to develop the financial sector by, among other things, centralising the bond markets in SADC.
Policy choices made today can have important positive effects on future living standards, according to new long-term economic scenarios released by the OECD. With “business-as-usual” without significant reforms, living standards in the BRIICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, Indonesia, China and South Africa) grow faster, but decelerate from the 6 per cent annual growth achieved over the last decade to just more than 2 per cent by 2060, leaving them at less than half the level seen in the leading countries.
Africa needs development strategies that are more coherent and that prioritise improved public action to stand up to the challenges of growth, jobs and inequalities prompted by the continent’s remarkable emergence, according to the first issue of a new joint report by the African Union Commission and the OECD Development Centre.
International stakeholders presented research on research matters relating to the six Information For All Programme priority areas. The objectives of the conference were to create a platform for the IFAP policy dialogue and to support the development of sustainable partnerships in BRICS, African countries and the Asia/Pacific Region.
African trade ministers have raised concerns regarding the erosion of Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum preferences following the Trump administration’s recent Section 232 measures on steel and aluminium. The ministers called on the US to exempt sub-Sahara Africa exports from the tariffs. They were speaking at the 17th Agoa Forum, running from 9-12 July 2018, in Washington DC.
Among other things, the declaration seeks to support the co-ordinating process for the BRICS Network University, as well as reaffirm the commitment to the UN's Sustainable Development Goal Four, which aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”.
The summit reaffirmed the importance of the regional integration agenda that promotes economic integration, industrialisation and economic diversification of the SACU economies. The sixth Summit of the Heads of State or Government of the union was held on 29 June 2018 in Gaborone, Botswana.
South Africa has signed the African Free Trade Area agreement with the African Union, which will pave the way for the country to benefit from inter-regional trade on the continent. “South Africa remains committed to a co-ordinated strategy to boost intra-Africa trade and to build an integrated market in Africa that will see a market of more than one billion people and approximately $3.3-trillion in GDP,” said President Cyril Ramaphosa.
New trade-restrictive measures from G20 economies had doubled compared to the previous review period, according to the WTO’s 19th monitoring report on G20 trade measures covering the period from mid-October 2017 to mid-May 2018. The report was issued on 4 July 2018. Its findings should be of ‘real concern’ to the international community, says Director-General Roberto Azevêdo.
BRICS industry ministers resolved to implement the BRICS Economic Partnership Strategy for accelerated economic and industrial growth, as well as to establish the New Industrial Revolution (PartNIR). A new industrial revolution advisory group would be established. The ministers met in Magaliesburg, South Africa on 4-5 July 2018.
BRICS trade ministers have affirmed their commitment to a multilateral trading system as a tool to promote greater inclusivity and lessen inequality in the world. South African Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies was regretful about aggressive action aimed at rebalancing the global trading system in the partisan advantage of one player. His comments were echoed by Chinese Assistant Minister of Commerce Li Chenggang.
Implementation of the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement would ease small businesses’ participation in global markets by cutting trade costs and reducing administrative burdens, Director-General Roberto Azevêdo said at a workshop organised by the Informal Working Group on MSMEs (micro, small and medium-sized enterprises) on world MSME Day, on 27 June 2018. The TFA would help to cut trade costs.
The implementation of the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) was well under way with progress varying among different economies, WTO , Director-General Roberto Azevêdo said in Geneva on 26 June 2018. He was speaking at the launch of Trade Facilitation and the Global Economy, published by the OECD and at a meeting of the Committee on Trade Facilitation. “We all know the potential that the TFA has to cut trade costs. This report takes a closer look at why this matters.”
The summit would produce practical steps to continue the BRICS support for the implementation of the African Union’s Agenda 2063. Countries “will be able to improve intra-Africa trade and leverage more of the alternative funding that the BRICS New Development Bank provides for infrastructure development and sustainable development”, South African International Relations and Co-operation Deputy Minister Reginah Mhaule said at the BRICS in Africa – Working Towards the Realisation of the African Aspirations gathering in Pretoria on 27 June 2018.
Information exchange, aimed at curbing illicit financial flows and tax evasion, dominated the BRICS Tax and Customs meeting in Johannesburg on 28 June 2018. South African Revenue Services Acting Commissioner Mark Kingon said the BRICS tax authorities had agreed to forge beneficial co-operation to improve tax bases in their respective countries and improve collection compliance in the era of the digital economy.
As income inequality has increased since the 1990s, social mobility has stalled, meaning that fewer people at the bottom have moved up while the richest have largely kept their fortunes. This has severe social, economic and political consequences, according to a new OECD report. A Broken Social Elevator? How to Promote Social Mobility says that given current levels of inequality and intergenerational earnings mobility, it could take at least five generations or 150 years for the child of a poor family to reach the average income, on average across OECD countries.
The unity and renewal of the African continent must be pursued together with efforts to transform the global system, International Relations and Co-operation Deputy Minister Luwellyn Landers said on 18 June. “Humanity can thrive when their collective and individual interests and aspirations are responded to and the BRICS formation is titling the balance of forces to ensure exactly that.”
Tariff reduction negotiations were thrashed out at the seventh Tripartite Sectoral Ministerial Committee in Cape Town on 20 June. “The ministers agreed on the urgency to conclude outstanding issues – under Phase 1 of the negotiations – to facilitate the implementation of the Tripartite Free Trade Area Agreement,” said the South African Department of Trade and Industry.
There was also another round of bilateral negotiations between the East African Community and the Southern Africa Customs Union.
The GEGAfrica project has been funded by UK aid from the UK government; however the views expressed do not necessarily reflect the UK government’s official policies.