Interview: China plays important role in Global South, says South Africa’s BRICS envoy


BRICS countries are shaping a new world, a world of hope, a world of inclusivity, building a community with a shared future, and leading the Global South’s efforts in providing leadership to the world, South Africa’s BRICS sherpa told Xinhua recently.

CAPE TOWN, July 8 (Xinhua) — China has played an important role in advancing BRICS, thus leading the Global South’s efforts in providing leadership to the world, said Anil Sooklal, South Africa’s BRICS sherpa.

“I think today the Global South is a major force on the global stage” as it represents 85 percent of the global population and the fastest growing global economies today are from the Global South, Sooklal told Xinhua in a recent interview.

China is now the second-largest global economy and a number of economies from the Global South are in the top 10 today, he added.

In a world that “has changed dramatically,” he said, “BRICS is a champion of the Global South and China has played an important role in advancing BRICS.”

Invited by China, South Africa in 2011 formally joined the bloc of leading emerging economies that also groups Russia, India and Brazil, the ambassador said.

He underlined that the Global South is now providing leadership and China is at the forefront of that, together with BRICS, and they are working with the African continent and other BRICS partners.

A South Arican electrician  works with his Chinese colleague at a plant of the Chinese automaker Beijing Automotive Industry Corporation in Eastern Cape province of South Africa, May 9, 2023. (Xinhua/Zhang Yudong)

“They are shaping a new world, a world of hope, a world of inclusivity, and building a community with a shared future,” said Sooklal.

In the interview, the BRICS envoy also highlighted China’s role in supporting Africa’s industrialization.

“Even during China’s presidency of the G20 in 2016, China had as one of its themes and focus areas the industrialization of Africa and LDCs (less developed countries),” said Sooklal.

He believed that the theme was continued last year at the BRICS summit when China focused on the industrialization of Africa again, which he said is also a major focus of the African continent.

“Industrialization is critical and China, based on its own experience of industrialization, is readily sharing that with us and walking that route with us in terms of assisting Africa in its industrialization, especially in the field of new technologies, and advancing Africa’s development,” he said.

The South African diplomat went on to say that China has also been playing a major role in assisting the development of his country in such areas as economy, technology, urban development, industrialization, and energy.

A worker operates on the refrigerator production line at Hisense South Africa Industrial Park in Cape Town, South Africa, June 1, 2022. Hisense is a Chinese consumer electronics company. (Xinhua/Lyv Tianran)

“Given their own experience and given that agriculture is a major sector in terms of food security, China plays an important role in assisting us in modernizing the agriculture sector,” said Sooklal.

As a global leader in green technology, China is playing “a major role” in helping South Africa transit from fossil fuels to green technology, Sooklal said, adding that a number of Chinese companies are involved in the green technology field in South Africa.

“In a number of fields, China has been deeply involved in strengthening relations and helping us grow our economy and advance our people, and lifting our people out of poverty, underdevelopment and unemployment,” he said.■

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