1 November 2023
DA misreads the economic benefits of hosting international conferences
The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) is dismayed by the misguided statement issued by the Democratic Alliance’s member of Parliament, Ms Emma Louise Powell, regarding the costs associated with hosting the recently held XV Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) Summit in Johannesburg.
The hysterical reaction of the Democratic Alliance confirms the DA’s misunderstanding of the economic benefits of hosting such international conferences and other meetings.
While it is true that just over R100 million, as reported by DIRCO, was contributed towards the successful hosting of the BRICS Summit, the economic benefits to the City of Johannesburg far outweigh the R100 million DIRCO contributed.
To illustrate this, South Africa provided courtesy support to only four delegates per country. This is a normal international practice. All the delegations attended with additional accompanying persons and paid fully for their accommodation, meals, etc. We even had one delegation with over 100 people, who all were accommodated in a hotel and paid for in full.
Surprisingly, Ms Powell chose to ignore the voices of the businesspeople who were interviewed on various media platforms expressing satisfaction with the business they got because of the BRICS Summit.
Needless to say, it was South Africa’s responsibility as a member of the most important grouping of emerging countries in the world today to host the BRICS Summit, as it was an expectation of each BRICS member, every 5 years.
The list of benefits South Africa gained is endless. Key, among many priorities that South Africa set for itself during the Summit, was to strengthen the partnership between BRICS and African countries. In this regard, BRICS leaders reiterated their support for the African Union’s Agenda 2063, in particular, they supported the operationalisation of the African Continental Free Trade Area through economic and financial cooperation between BRICS and African countries.
Other objectives include South Africa leveraging its political and economic relations with BRICS members to address its challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality through increased intra-BRICS trade, investment, tourism, capacity building, skills, and technology transfers.
South Africa’s overall trade with its BRICS partners has increased by an average growth of 10% over the period 2017-2021. Total South African trade with BRICS reached R830 billion in 2022 from R487 billion in 2017.
Last year, BRICS accounted for 21% of South Africa’s global trade.
It would help if the DA and its members of Parliament, such as Ms Powell, were to take time to familiarise themselves with the immense benefits of BRICS membership before making unfounded comments in public.
Enquiries: Mr Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for DIRCO, 082 884 5974
ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION
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460 Soutpansberg Road