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Friday, 29 March 2013 00:00

BRICS: eThekwini Declaration

Written by Fifth BRICS Summit

1. We, the leaders of the Federative Republic of Brazil, the Russian Federation, the Republic of India, the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of South Africa, met in Durban, South Africa, on 27 March 2013 at the Fifth BRICS Summit. Our discussions took place under the overarching theme, “BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Development, Integration and Industrialisation”. The Fifth BRICS Summit concluded the first cycle of BRICS Summits and we reaffirmed our commitment to the promotion of international law, multilateralism and the central role of the United Nations (UN). Our discussions reflected our growing intra-BRICS solidarity as well as our shared goal to contribute positively to global peace, stability, development and cooperation. We also considered our role in the international system as based on an inclusive approach of shared solidarity and cooperation towards all nations and peoples.

2. We met at a time which requires that we consider issues of mutual interest and systemic importance in order to share concerns and to develop lasting solutions. We aim at progressively developing BRICS into a full-fledged mechanism of current and long-term coordination on a wide range of key issues of the world economy and politics. The prevailing global governance architecture is regulated by institutions which were conceived in circumstances when the international landscape in all its aspects was characterised by very different challenges and opportunities. As the global economy is being reshaped, we are committed to exploring new models and approaches towards more equitable development and inclusive global growth by emphasising complementarities and building on our respective economic strengths.

3. We are open to increasing our engagement and cooperation with non-BRICS countries, in particular Emerging Market and Developing Countries (EMDCs), and relevant international and regional organisations, as envisioned in the Sanya Declaration. We will hold a Retreat together with African leaders after this Summit, under the theme, “Unlocking Africa’s potential: BRICS and Africa Cooperation on Infrastructure”. The Retreat is an opportunity for BRICS and African leaders to discuss how to strengthen cooperation between the BRICS countries and the African Continent.

4. Recognising the importance of regional integration for Africa’s sustainable growth, development and poverty eradication, we reaffirm our support for the Continent’s integration processes.

5. Within the framework of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), we support African countries in their industrialisation process through stimulating foreign direct investment, knowledge exchange, capacity-building and diversification of imports from Africa. We acknowledge that infrastructure development in Africa is important and recognise the strides made by the African Union to identify and address the continent’s  infrastructure challenges through the development of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), the AU NEPAD Africa Action Plan (2010-2015), the NEPAD Presidential Infrastructure Championing Initiative (PICI), as well as the Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plans that have identified priority infrastructure development projects that are critical to promoting regional integration and industrialisation. We will seek to stimulate infrastructure investment on the basis of mutual benefit to support industrial development, job-creation, skills development, food and nutrition security and poverty eradication and sustainable development in Africa. We therefore, reaffirm our support for sustainable infrastructure development in Africa.

6. We note policy actions in Europe, the US and Japan aimed at reducing tail-risks in the world economy. Some of these actions produce negative spillover effects on other economies of the world. Significant risks remain and the performance of the global economy still falls behind our expectations. As a result, uncertainty about strength and durability of the recovery and the direction of policy in some major economies remains high. In some key countries unemployment stays unusually elevated, while high levels of private and public indebtedness inhibit growth. In such circumstances, we reaffirm our strong commitment to support growth and foster financial stability. We also underscore the need for appropriate action to be taken by advanced economies in order to rebuild confidence, foster growth and secure a strong recovery.

7. Central Banks in advanced economies have responded with unconventional monetary policy actions which have increased global liquidity. While this may be consistent with domestic monetary policy mandates, major Central Banks should avoid the unintended consequences of these actions in the form of increased volatility of capital flows, currencies and commodity prices, which may have negative growth effects on other economies, in particular developing countries.

8. We welcome the core objectives of the Russian Presidency in the G20 in 2013, in particular the efforts to increased financing for investment and ensure public debt sustainability aimed at ensuring strong, sustainable, inclusive and balanced growth and job creation around the world. We will also continue to prioritise the G20 development agenda as a vital element of global economic stability and long-term sustainable growth and job creation.

9. Developing countries face challenges of infrastructure development due to insufficient long-term financing and foreign direct investment, especially investment in capital stock. This constrains global aggregate demand. BRICS cooperation towards more productive use of global financial resources can make a positive contribution to addressing this problem. In March 2012 we directed our Finance Ministers to examine the feasibility and viability of setting up a New Development Bank for mobilising resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging economies and developing countries, to supplement the existing efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global growth and development. Following the report from our Finance Ministers, we are satisfied that the establishment of a New Development Bank is feasible and viable. We have agreed to establish the New Development Bank. The initial contribution to the Bank should be substantial and sufficient for the Bank to be effective in financing infrastructure.

10. In June 2012, in our meeting in Los Cabos, we tasked our Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors to explore the construction of a financial safety net through the creation of a Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) amongst BRICS countries. They have concluded that the establishment of a self-managed contingent reserve arrangement would have a positive precautionary effect, help BRICS countries forestall short-term liquidity pressures, provide mutual support and further strengthen financial stability. It would also contribute to strengthening the global financial safety net and complement existing international arrangements as an additional line of defence. We are of the view that the establishment of the CRA with an initial size of US$ 100 billion is feasible and desirable subject to internal legal frameworks and appropriate safeguards. We direct our Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors to continue working towards its establishment.

11. We are grateful to our Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors for the work undertaken on the New Development Bank and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement and direct them to negotiate and conclude the agreements which will establish them. We will review progress made in these two initiatives at our next meeting in September 2013.

12. We welcome the conclusion between our Export-Import Banks (EXIM) and Development Banks, of both the “Multilateral Agreement on Cooperation and Co-financing for Sustainable Development” and, given the steep growth trajectory of the African continent and the significant infrastructure funding requirements directly emanating from this growth path, the “Multilateral Agreement on Infrastructure Co-Financing for Africa”. 

13. We call for the reform of International Financial Institutions to make them more representative and to reflect the growing weight of BRICS and other developing countries. We remain concerned with the slow pace of the reform of the IMF. We see an urgent need to implement, as agreed, the 2010 International Monetary Fund (IMF) Governance and Quota Reform. We urge all members to take all necessary steps to achieve an agreement on the quota formula and complete the next general quota review by January 2014. The reform of the IMF should strengthen the voice and representation of the poorest members of the IMF, including Sub-Saharan Africa. All options should be explored, with an open mind, to achieve this.

We support the reform and improvement of the international monetary system, with a broad-based international reserve currency system providing stability and certainty. We welcome the discussion about the role of the SDR in the existing international monetary system including the composition of SDR’s basket of currencies. We support the IMF to make its surveillance framework more integrated and even-handed. The leadership selection of IFIs should be through an open, transparent and merit-based process and truly open to candidates from the emerging market economies and developing countries.

14. We emphasise the importance of ensuring steady, adequate and predictable access to long term finance for developing countries from a variety of sources. We would like to see concerted global effort towards infrastructure financing and investment through the instrumentality of adequately resourced Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) and Regional Development Banks (RDBs). We urge all parties to work towards an ambitious International Development Association(IDA)17 replenishment.

15. We reaffirm our support for an open, transparent and rules-based multilateral trading system. We will continue in our efforts for the successful conclusion of the Doha Round, based on the progress made and in keeping with its mandate, while upholding the principles of transparency, inclusiveness and multilateralism. We are committed to ensure that new proposals and approaches to the Doha Round negotiations will reinforce the core principles and the developmental mandate of the Doha Round. We look forward to significant and meaningful deliverables that are balanced and address key development concerns of the poorest and most vulnerable WTO members, at the ninth Ministerial Conference of the WTO in Bali.

16. We note that the process is underway for the selection of a new WTO Director-General in 2013. We concur that the WTO requires a new leader who demonstrates a commitment to multilateralism and to enhancing the effectiveness of the WTO including through a commitment to support efforts that will lead to an expeditious conclusion of the DDA. We consider that the next Director-General of the WTO should be a representative of a developing country.

17. We reaffirm the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s (UNCTAD) mandate as the focal point in the UN system dedicated to consider the interrelated issues of trade, investment, finance and technology from a development perspective. UNCTAD’s mandate and work are unique and necessary to deal with the challenges of development and growth in the increasingly interdependent global economy. We also reaffirm the importance of strengthening UNCTAD’s capacity to deliver on its programmes of consensus building, policy dialogue, research, technical cooperation and capacity building, so that it is better equipped to deliver on its development mandate.

18. We acknowledge the important role that State Owned Companies (SOCs) play in the economy and encourage our SOCs to explore ways of cooperation, exchange of information and best practices.

19. We recognise the fundamental role played by Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the economies of our countries. SMEs are major creators of jobs and wealth. In this regard, we will explore opportunities for cooperating in the field of SMEs and recognise the need for promoting dialogue among the respective Ministries and Agencies in charge of the theme, particularly with a view to promoting their international exchange and cooperation and fostering innovation, research and development.

The above is an extract from the eThekwini Declaration [PDF], via the South African Foreign Policy Initiative.

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