BRICS Summit 2018:Leaders sign Johannesburg declaration

The second day of the BRICS Summit 2018 got off to a smooth start with President Cyril Ramaphosa delivering an address to the delegates present at the summit. Five of the biggest emerging economies stood by the multilateral system on Thursday and vowed to strengthen economic cooperation in the face of US tariff threats and unilateralism.

The heads of the Brics group – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – met for an annual summit dominated by the risk of a global US-led trade war

“We should stay committed to multilateralism,” China’s president Xi Jinping said on the second day of the Johannesburg talks. “The escalation of protectionism and unilateralism are directly affecting … emerging markets,” he said in a statement in the day’s opening session.

“Closer economic cooperation for shared prosperity is the original purpose and priority of Brics,” Xi added.

Russian president Vladimir Putin, who held a controversial meeting with Trump last week, echoed the calls for closer ties among BRICS members and for stronger trade within the group.

“Brics has a unique place in the global economy – this is the largest market in the world, the joint GDP is 42 percent of the global GDP and it keeps growing,” Putin said. “In 2017, the trade with our Brics countries has grown 30 percent, and we are aiming at further developing this kind of partnership.”

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan  also attended  the BRICS event as the current chair of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and met Putin on the summit’s sidelines.

According to host president Cyril Ramaphosa one of the core agreements was on the need to establish the African Continental Free Trade Area, which provides access to a market of over 1 billion people and a combined GDP of over $3 trillion, presented opportunities for BRICS countries, some of whom had extensive experience in infrastructure development and were leaders in education and skills development.

“Intra-BRICS cooperation has been gaining momentum in areas such as finance, agriculture, trade, combating transnational crime, science and technology, health, education, security and academic dialogue,” Ramaphosa said.

President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping was the first president to address the delegates at the summit.

Jinping said, “The future of BRICS is in the hands of our people, let us work together for lasting peace and prosperity in the world.  We need to have more people to people exchanges and institutionalize those exchanges.  We must safeguard peace and security in the world and remain committed to the UN Charter

Prime Minister, Narendra Modi of India, said, “We need to make changes in our policies in order for our youth to be prepared for the future and have the skills to work in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. We need to ensure that our youth will be prepared for the jobs that do not exist yet. ”