BRICS summit begins in S’Africa as Shettima inspects exhibition stands

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa

The BRICS summit opened in South Africa on Tuesday, as the body seeks to assert its voice as a counterweight to the Western-led international order.

The BRICS nations of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa represent a quarter of the global economy, and interest in joining the group surged ahead of its three-day summit in Johannesburg.

Security has been bolstered across the city where South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is hosting China’s President Xi Jinping, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and some 50 other leaders.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is the target of an international arrest warrant over alleged war crimes in Ukraine, did not attend in person and addressed the summit via pre-recorded video.

Russia is represented in Johannesburg by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

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China is the BRICS most powerful economy and Xi’s state visit to South Africa, just his second international trip this year, comes as Beijing pushes to rapidly expand the group’s membership.

“Now as friends and BRICS partners, we stand together in our shared objective and quest for a better and more egalitarian world,” said Ramaphosa in Pretoria at the opening of Xi’s visit.

China’s President Xi Jinping

Representing 40 percent of the world’s population, and democratic and authoritarian states at varying levels of economic growth, the BRICS nations share a common desire for a global order they see as better reflecting their interests and rising clout.

BRICS is also championing its own development bank as an alternative to the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, and proposals to reduce the use of the US dollar in global trade.

“We are only saying that we exist, we are organising ourselves, and we want to sit at the negotiating table on an equal footing with the European Union, the United States or any other country,” Lula said in a social media post on Tuesday.

Shettima inspects Nigeria’s exhibition stands at BRICS Trade Fair

Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Vice President Kashima Shettima, on Tuesday, took time to inspect Nigeria’s exhibition stands at the BRICS Trade Fair in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Nigeria’s Vice President Kashima Shettima

He said in his facebook posts, “The Trade Fair is being organised by the BRIC South Africa and The SA BRICS Business Council, SABBC, in collaboration with the Department of Trade Industry and Competition, on the sidelines of the on-going 15th BRICS Summit.

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“President Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu is very passionate about empowering Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) for the development of the nation’s economy.

“It is a known fact that the empowerment of the MSMEs is key to empowering our youth and women towards contributing to the nation’s economic development.

“I am quite impressed by the investment Nigerians are making in South Africa. This is the harbinger of greater things to come.

“I can say that Nigerians are active in digital economy, they are active in fashion, they are equally active in mining.

“I am quite glad that quite a number of our country men are doing well and are willing to partner with the home nation for the greater glory of the African continent.

“I commend the organizer of the trade fair which had about 180 exhibitors from various sectors of the economy.

“The exhibitions will in the long run serve the purpose of galvanising investment and trade in the continent,” he added.

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