It is an honor and privilege to address the 7th Taihe Civilizations Forum (TCF), to speak on some of the Global South Development cooperation initiatives. Undoubtedly, it is in line with the Chinese belief in the axiom "supreme harmony, a state of peace in which everything is harmonized," the Taihe Institute is not only well placed to promote global peace and development, but also remains relevant in sharing open-minded views and research outcomes that are critical in harmonizing different but complimentary global civilizations. This harmony, as espoused by the founding principles of the Taihe Institute, is similar to the African axiom of "Ubuntu: I am because we are" - A celebration of human qualities that include virtue, compassion, humility and solidarity.
The dream of such an organization has been pursued by the Pan African Congress since early 1900s. The African scholars have always argued that Africa was not a dark continent, but has always pursued its unique civilization based on its history and cultural development. You may also recall the seminal lecture that was delivered by Pixley ka Isaka Seme in the United States on April 5, 1906, on the regeneration of Africa, where he said, "I am an African, and I set my pride in my race over against a hostile public opinion to compare civilization races on the basis of some equality. I would ask you not to compare Africa to Europe or to any other continent. I make this request not from any fear that such comparison might bring humiliation upon Africa. The reason is, as I have stated, a common standard is impossible!" This resonates well with the Global Civilization Initiative, proposed by His Excellency President Xi Jinping earlier this year.
Africa is following its own civilization anchored on the values of Ubuntu and our program to build Africa we want through our continental program Agenda 2063. The South Africa's Foreign Policy rests on the concept of Ubuntu and this has shaped our approach to diplomacy and to our vision of a peaceful Africa and a better world for all. It recognizes that it is in our national interest to promote and support the positive development of others. We therefore champion collaboration, cooperation, and building of partnerships in various areas.
Excellencies, I would like to focus on three areas for advancing the Global South development.
The first one is the BRICS partnership. I've just returned from South Africa following the 4th State Visit by His Excellency President Xi Jinping. During this visit I also witnessed a historical moment when my country also hosted the 15th BRICS Summit.
Over the years, there has been a growing interest in the activities of the BRICS partnership for shared development. The growing number of developing countries, and some developed countries has been witnessing the positive benefits of BRICS consensus partnership and its institutions. The outcomes of the 15th BRICS Summit have shown positive progress on many fronts. The most historical being the expansion of the BRICS formation. As the foundation of this expansion, our BRICS leaders reached a consensus and welcomed Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates into its fold with effect from 1st January 2024. The leaders also mandated our foreign affairs ministers to further refine the admission criteria and present a report to the summit next year in Russia. BRICS has embarked on a new chapter in its effort to build a world that is fair, a world that is just, and a world that is inclusive and prosperous for all.
An enlarged BRICS community, which will soon represent more than a quarter of the world's GDP and is certain to expedite the re-balancing of global power away from the developed few. BRICS' rising appeal throughout the developing world resembles an ink-blot test: developing nations of the South eager for an international system that should serve the interests of all nations and not be dominated by the developed world. This expansion is important not because of its potential, but because it confirms the growing agency of different states in the Global South to hedge their bets in an increasingly chaotic and fragmented world.
The BRICS formation further called for inclusive multilateralism under the United Nations and for the comprehensive reform of the UN Security Council which implies that the developing countries should have fair representation in this important global system of governance and, of course, other global financial institutions.
These countries combined, bring their own unique experiences and resources that will complement the existing members, thereby making BRICS a developmental vehicle for all.
2. Joint Forum organized by South Africa and China with African leaders.
This forum was co-hosted by President Cyril Ramaphosa and President Xi Jinping with Regional Economic Development Leaders from the African continent as well as African institutions on the sideline of the 15th BRICS Summit in Johannesburg. This meeting was welcomed by the African leaders as it focused on the joint efforts by South Africa and China in expediting the high-impact win-win development and strengthening peace in Africa to complement the Agenda 2063, and FOCAC programs.
3. G20 Forum
This past weekend we have witnessed the G20 Summit that was hosted by India. In 2025, South Africa will assume the Presidency of the G20 following on the 2024 Brazil Presidency. We plan to revisit previous G20 commitments with a direct bearing to the development of the Global South, particularly on Africa.
In that vein, South Africa will continue to ensure that the G20 implements its previous commitments towards Africa's development work, including G20 support for industrialization in Africa and Least Developed Countries (LDCs), including the Compact with Africa, as well as previous commitments on support for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
As the "premier global forum for international economic cooperation," the G20's value is based on its global leadership role and convening power in bringing together advanced and emerging economies that could be harnessed as an effective instrument for advancing much-needed global governance reforms and orienting the international development agenda, on the understanding that the G20 is not a substitute for the UN system.
As I conclude, ladies and gentlemen, we are aware that over the past two decades, a fundamental transformation has taken place in the global economy caused by the impressive economic growth of developing countries. The economic center of gravity is inexorably moving toward the developing South. The remarkable upsurge in the cooperation between developing countries must be understood as part of the changing global landscape. In this respect, we must allow developing countries space to pursue their own development based on their history, culture and civilization path; we must advance multilateralism and global peace as the public goods that will drive inclusive development for all nations through win-win cooperation rather than superpower mentality or cohesion; and lastly, we must spare no effort in driving global economic recovery, and limit the impact of climate change, emerging disasters, and build a global community with shared prosperity.