Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies has appointed new members to the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) Business Council following nominations from Business Unity South Africa and the Black Business Council.
The team has extensive business experience: Busi Mabuza is chairperson of the Industrial Development Corporation; Dr Ayanda Ntsaluba is group executive director of Discovery; Bridgette Radebe is chairperson and chief executive of Mmakau Mining; Dr Stavros Nicolaou is Aspen Pharmacare executive director responsible for strategic trade development and Elias Monage is chief executive of the Afika Group.
Each BRICS country nominates a five-member business council. These chapters meet from time to time to discuss how better to foster business-to-business relationships and investments between the countries.
Mabuza is the global chairperson of the BRICS Business Council, a position that will shift to Brazil at the BRICS Business Council Midterm meeting in April in Johannesburg.
The BRICS Business Councils were first established in 2013 and arose from a recognition among attendees of the business forums, held at every BRICS Summit, that there needed to be more continuity in the business-to-business trade and investment promotion activities in the Brics countries.
Mabuza said the new team had “been on the ground” for a month already and would meet the other business councils face-to-face for the first time in April.
Davies said trade and investment opportunities would be sought in a number of key sectors of the economy: agribusiness, deregulation, digital economy, financial services, energy and green economy, infrastructure, manufacturing, regional aviation and skills development.
He said it was important that the SA BRICS Business Council remained located within the ambit of organised business in South Africa, and was appropriately representative and accessible to all business.
Mabuza said the council would support small and medium enterprise participation. She said it was also important that the council foster alignment between the government and business in relation to the commercial opportunities offered by the BRICS relationship.
Mabuza said they would ensure the interests of organised and sectoral business entities were properly articulated in the nine industry sectoral working groups that spanned the business councils of the five BRICS countries.