There was a pressing need for BRICS countries to trade more with each other than with the rest of the world, a meeting was told at the second Employment Working Group (EWG) in Port Alfred on Wednesday.

Mr Jens Dyring Christensen, Senior Specialist: Enterprise Development and Management at the International Labour Organisation (ILO), was speaking on the topic: BRICS Productivity Ecosystems.

“What we find is that trade with the United States is six times higher that within BRICS member states. What is needed is to expand inter-BRICS trade,” he said.

Mr Christensen said the ILO was ready to provide technical support towards the realisation of the goal. The focus would be on how specific Productivity Ecosystem would be implemented in each member state.

“What we know is that there is no one size fits all solution. The answer could lie in asking the ILO to create a team of technical experts based in each country to support the implementation.

“We can even suggest setting up a fully-fledged BRICS team of experts across the five counties,” he said.

“If BRICS countries trade more among themselves it will boost economic growth among member states. They could do this by identifying within their countries where there is mutual interest such as beef,” he said.

Mr Christensen said informal work was pervasive in BRICS countries with Brazil standing at 47 percent, Russia at 21 percent, India at 88 percent, China at 54 percent and South Africa at 45 percent.

Earlier, Mr Siyabonga Hadebe, South African Labour attaché in Geneva, said time had come for BRICS member states to work as a block to achieve their common goals to boost economic growth among themselves and thereby change the geopolitical landscape.

“We are saying there is a dire need to intensify this relationship, with the ecosystem being a classic step.

“We should start to ensure that as the labour and employment stream, we can begin imagining the future we are going into. Our resolve is to foster this co-operation, especially at, multilateral level. We should ask our leaders to instruct us not to work in silos,” Mr Hadebe said.

Professor Ronney Ncwadi, Director in the School of Economics, Development and Tourism at Nelson Mandela University said: “If we want to build effective models for our youth, we should go beyond theory and talking about factors of production. We should have entrepreneurship embedded in our social values. This will result in entrepreneurship being a career of choice,” he said.

For more information, contact:

Teboho Thejane

Departmental Spokesperson

082 697 0694


Issued by: Department of Employment and Labour

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