South Africa’s proposal for the establishment of a BRICS Productivity Ecosystem for Decent Work Platform received overwhelming support from all BRICS countries today.

The proposal stems from numerous key proposals that South Africa has already made in its capacity as Chair of Brics since 1 January 2023. Brics is a group of leading emerging markets and developing countries, namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

South Africa, under the guidance of the Department of Employment and Labour, is currently hosting the last in a series of meetings for the labour and employment stream of the BRICS Countries.

Under the all-encompassing theme of ‘Ensuring Decent Work, Dignity and Respect for All, the Employment Working Group (EWG) and the Labour and Employment Ministers’ Meeting (LEMM) is currently being held from today, 26 September, until Friday, 29 September at the Radisson Blu Umhlanga in Durban.

The meetings for the labour and employment stream follow the recent BRICS Leaders’ Summit that took place in August 2023. This stream consists of the Employment Working Group (EWG), the BRICS Network of Labour Research Institute and the LEMM. The EWG and the Research Network Forum meetings previously took place in February (Gauteng), May (Port Alfred) and June (Geneva, Switzerland).

In preparation for the LEMM, the Fourth EWG and the BRICS Network of Labour Research Institute meetings will be held on 26 – 27 September 2023. At these gatherings, senior officials and technical experts will consider issues such as the Ministerial Declaration, the Report on Social Protection in BRICS Countries, the BRICS Productivity Platform and ways to strengthen collaboration between the BRICS Countries at the multilateral level.

The EWG and Network of Labour Research Institute meetings will culminate in a two-day Meeting of Ministers on 28 – 29 September 2023.

In his opening remarks during the EWG session today, the Director-General of the Department of Employment and Labour, Mr. Thobile Lamati said South Africa’s proposal to establish the Brics Productivity Ecosystem for Decent Work is aimed to foster economic growth, sustainable enterprises, and productive employment creation through collaboration, knowledge-sharing, and monitoring and evaluation.

“We are pleased that the BRICS Partners have welcomed this idea and allowed us to formalise it through the Leaders’ Summit, which was held in August”.

The proposal of the initiative was made against the background of the low economic growth and high unemployment rate especially among the youth in South Africa.

The International Labour Organisation (ILO), which will act as implementation agent, fully supports the initiative. Mr Jens Dyring-Christensen from the ILO said his organisation fully supports South Africa’s proposal, “because productivity is key to growth sustainability, better wages and more jobs”.

South Africa will present a Cost-funded proposal and also proposals for donor funding for the initiative to the LEMM. If endorsed, it will become a full BRICS project. This means that all BRICS member countries will have to contribute financially towards the success of the project. India proposed that the newly admitted BRICS member states such as Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates should be exempted from contributing financially to the initiative.

For more information, contact:

Teboho Thejane

Departmental Spokesperson

082 697 0694/ 


Issued by: Department of Employment and Labour

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