19 October 2011
The India, Brazil, South Africa (IBSA) grouping is well on its way to achieving its target of US$25-billion in trilateral trade by 2015, with the latest figures suggesting the three countries had surpassed $16-million in 2010, says Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.
“We set ourselves a target of achieving $10-billion in combined intra-IBSA trade by the year 2010, and in fact we achieved that in 2009, in the midst of the first wave of global economic recession,” Davies told the IBSA Business Forum in Pretoria on Monday.
IBSA is a trilateral developmental initiative between the three countries aimed at promoting South-South cooperation and exchange.
“The current figures suggest that in 2010 we achieved $16.1-billion, which places us somewhere in striking distance to achieve the current target, which is $25-billion combined intra-trade by the year 2015,” he told the Indian, Brazilian, and South African delegations at Monday’s forum.
Build trade ‘in complementary areas’
Davies urged the IBSA countries to build trade relations based on complementary areas.
“As South Africa, we have learned an enormous amount in terms of our own policies on small business development from the relationship which we have … with NSIC [the National Small Industries Corporation] of India and the Sebrae of Brazil.
“We follow very closely what you are all doing in terms of industrial policy. We study what you are doing, we learn from you, and it helps us enormously, and we hope as well that we are able to contribute in terms of the development of your own policies as well.”
Davies also called for the formation of an IBSA CEOs Forum with a permanent secretariat to continuously assess what needed to be done to enhance business cooperation among the three countries.
Business ‘must take advantage of IBSA’
Business Unity South Africa (Busa) CEO Nomaxabiso Majokweni told the forum that business had to make the most of the opportunities provided by the relationship that existed between the IBSA countries.
“As the private sector, we must make the most of the opportunities provided by the strong political commitment and will demonstrated by our government leaders to improve trade and investment relations among our countries.”
Majokweni said the countries were meeting in uncertain global economic times, particularly for developed economies haunted by fears of recession and sovereign default.
Govts ‘must act to avoid fiscal debt crisis’
“The banking sectors amongst IBSA countries all survived the banking crisis. However, our exposure to European sovereign debt poses a serious concern,” Majokweni said.
“Our respective governments and central banks have and need to continue making bold fiscal and monetary moves that sustain our economies in challenging times. Of particular importance are those policy interventions aimed at stimulating the real economy.”
She said the steps taken should not cut capital expenditure, which was a key stimulus for economic growth, but rather should be measures to avoid a fiscal debt crisis.
Although current growth rates were reduced, emerging markets remained a frontier of hope, Majokweni said.
Busa also presented recommendations coming out of the forum on sectors such as healthcare and pharmaceuticals, where observations made included that all three countries needed to produce and promote generic pharmaceutical products.
For the financial and business services sector, it was recommended that there be continued shared learning on rural financial inclusion in areas such as new products and IT connectivity.