The response by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) to the coronavirus pandemic has shown what can be achieved when nations work together in the spirit of friendship, solidarity and responsibility, President Cyril Ramaphosa has said.
Delivering his opening remarks during the virtual 14th BRICS Heads of State Summit on Thursday, Ramaphosa said the Covid-19 pandemic continued to have a devastating impact on human life, livelihoods, economies, and communities around the world.
“We are here as members of BRICS to affirm our shared desire for a world in which all people have a meaningful stake, and in which all have equal opportunity, and from which all can benefit,” the South African leader said.
He said the launch of the five emerging nations’ Vaccine Research and Development Centre in March this year would strengthen international health and science cooperation to prepare for future crises.
According to Ramaphosa, it was cause for great concern that the rest of the global community had not sustained the principles of solidarity and cooperation when it came to equitable access to vaccines.
“We call on developed economies, international agencies, and philanthropists that procure vaccines to purchase from manufacturers in developing economies -- including in Africa.
“We need to realise the great potential of our economic partnership to strengthen intra-BRICS trade, investment and tourism. Our combined economic strength should be a catalyst for sustainable global economic recovery,” he said.
In line with its foreign policy principles, Ramaphosa said South Africa continued to call for dialogue and negotiation towards a peaceful resolution of conflicts around the world.
“We are concerned that the focus and resources of the international community have been diverted from other concerning conflicts and humanitarian crises,” he said.