Remarks delivered by Mr Zane Dangor, Director-General, Department of International Relations and Cooperation, at the Welcome Dinner of the First BRICS Sherpa and Sous-Sherpa Meeting, 31 January 2023, Limpopo
Prof. Anil Sooklal,
Vice Minister Ma Zhaoxu
Shri Dammu Ravi,
Amb. Pavel Knyazev,
Ms Ana Maria Bierrenbach,
DDG Walter Segooa from the office of the Premier of Limpopo,
BRICS Sherpas and Sous Sherpas,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of the Government of South Africa and its people, let me welcome you to our beautiful country.
It is a privilege for us to once again meet in person after the devastating impact of the pandemic, which still continues to wreak havoc across the globe.
It is also an honour to welcome you to Bela in Limpopo province. Limpopo is the traditional home of the Modjaji, the Rain Queen. And we are blessed by the rainfall we’ve just received that has cooled the notorious summer temperatures of this venue.
South Africa is aware of the enormity of the task at hand as we Chair BRICS in 2023 following on the able guidance of China during 2022.
Over the next days, senior government officials from South Africa and the South African Chapters of the BRICS Business Council, BRICS Women’s Business Alliance and the BRICS Think Tanks Council will introduce our theme, priorities and expectations as Chair of BRICS for 2023.
International cooperation and multilateralism are currently confronted with divisive geopolitics, unprecedent challenges such as climate change, slow post-pandemic economic recovery and deepening poverty.
In this uncertain and unequal global governance system, BRICS is the critical voice of the global South and a leader in shaping an emerging international order that is fairer, just, inclusive and representative.
And on the ground, BRICS has made enormous strides in forging a practical mutually beneficial partnership, as seen by our growing BRICS sectoral cooperation.
This meeting will set the trend for South Africa’s Chairship. The in-depth discussions in the spirit of solidarity, respect and mutually beneficial cooperation will lay the foundation towards the successful hosting of the 15th BRICS Summit later in the year.
In this regard, we rely on the efforts of our Sherpas and Sous-Sherpas to translate our vision and commitments into practical cooperation.
Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests,
You’ve just arrived, and I can imagine you are facing various forms of jetlag. So I will not keep you long.
Thank you all for your determination to return to physical meetings despite the lingering presence of the pandemic.
I want to take this opportunity to thank our host, the Provincial Government of Limpopo and her people, for welcoming us as their guests.
There is an African proverb that says: “Treat your guest as a guest for two days, and then on the third day give him a hoe”. This meeting is just a small contribution to the local economy that sees our BRICS cooperation deliver tangible benefits on the ground. We encourage delegations and Embassy officials to meet with the Province of Limpopo on the margins of this meeting to explore opportunities to deepen our partnership.
Let me also thank the BRICS Secretariat for their tireless effort in organising this meeting.
I wish you all the best and hope you all have a pleasant stay in our country.
We are glad to enrich your cultural experience by adding wine tasting to the program, courtesy of Veenwouden Wines.
Let me hand you over to Mr Byron Koutsodis.
ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION
OR Tambo Building
460 Soutpansberg Road