SA wants trade, climate change to top G20 summit agenda

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President Jacob Zuma chairing the Black Economic Empowerment Advisory Council (BEEAC) workshop on 20 June 2017.

JOHANNESBURG – South Africa wanted to use its participation in the upcoming G20 Leaders' Summit to promote and strengthen the interests of Africa and of the south.

That would be on the understanding that, if managed carefully, the G20 presented meaningful opportunities for advancing much-needed global governance reforms and orienting the international development agenda, the Presidency said on Monday. 

President Jacob Zuma would travel Hamburg in Germany for the summit, to take place on Friday and Saturday.

South Africa was one of the 19 member countries of the Group of 20 (G20) which, in addition to the European Union (EU), the 20th member, had been meeting regularly since 1999 to discuss global economic policy co-ordination.

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The G20 - conceptualised to stabilise and strengthen the global economy - brought together the major advanced and emerging market economies, which together represented around 85 percent of global GDP, 80 percent of global trade and two-thirds of the world’s population.

The Presidency said South Africa’s participation in the G20 was guided by the country’s national interest and the primacy of the African agenda.

It said one of the country's primary aims in the G20 was to provide strategic foresight in establishing an economic and international policy platform that would drive and negotiate the best possible outcomes for South Africa, Africa and the developing world.

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“Given the current global dynamics on trade and climate change, the upcoming G20 Summit presents an opportunity for decisive leadership,” Zuma said.

“In this regard, South Africa supports calls for the G20 to show international leadership particularly, in the area of climate change and trade, in helping to achieve progress in multilateral institutions, on the understanding that the G20 is not a substitute for the UN system, but should support and add value to what is being done within the UN context.”

Zuma would be accompanied by the Minister of International Relations and Co-operation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, the Minister of Finance, Malusi Gigaba and the Minister of Energy, Nkhensani Kubayi.