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Leaders must make our case for development

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On the sidelines of the summit, leaders of the Brics nations also met ahead of the G20 Leaders’ Summit.

President Cyril Ramaphosa at the G20 Summit in Japan.

FOR ALL the negativity surrounding the state of our domestic politics and our stagnant economy, South Africa remains a beacon on the African continent.

Testimony to this is the country’s participation in the Group of 20 (of the world’s most developed economies) annual summit, this time held in Osaka, Japan, which President Cyril Ramaphosa has dubbed a success.

For some perspective, member nations of the G20 collectively account for 85% of global economic activity, and have two-thirds of the world’s population.

According to Ramaphosa’s press statement, leaders committed to implementing the UN’s 2030 sustainable development goals which, among others, seeks to eradicate poverty, hunger and foster gender equality.

On the sidelines of the summit, leaders of the Brics nations also met ahead of the G20 Leaders’ Summit.

Foremost on their agenda would have been the impact on the global economy of US President Donald Trump’s trade war, which while it ­primarily targets China, could impact all developing economies.

On Sunday, the Sunday Times reported that Ramaphosa had sided with Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, which has been blacklisted by the US government. Some see the blacklisting as America’s attempt to determine the future and application of 5G communications infrastructure.

“South Africa welcomes and supports Chinese companies, including Huawei, to invest and operate in the country, and is ready to intensify communication and co-ordination with China within such multilateral frameworks as the G20 and Brics,” said Ramaphosa during the summit.

Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel remarked that a trade war, in which the US seeks to protect its industries against the Chinese, could be devastating for South Africa’s growth prospects, with about a third of the country’s GDP made up of exports.

“Thousands and thousands, if not millions, of South African jobs are tied up with the export of goods and services,” he is reported to have said.

The most important takeaway of the G20 summit is that Ramaphosa managed to meet face-to-face with business leaders, stating the case for why they should invest in South Africa.

Instead of bickering, our leaders should make the case for the country’s growth and further development.