Good morning.

It is a pleasure to be back in South Africa, particularly as we celebrate Nelson Mandela’s centenary.

I would like to thank the leaders of BRICS for the invitation to participate in this important dialogue.

Allow me to offer a few thoughts on why this partnership is important.

First, we have a common interest in an open and fair international system.

Second, strengthening cooperation with BRICS contributes to medium and long-term human security and wider benefits, especially employment, for Africa’s young population.

We want to collaborate on key sectors, including industrialization, infrastructure, as well as peace and security, which are at the heart of the African Union’s Agenda 2063.

Continued investments in new technologies, as defined in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, provide unlimited opportunities to realize our common aspirations.

Indeed, industrialization makes more sense when we factor in technology. For Africa, the challenge is to ensure that the current momentum is not lost to us, but rather maintained and even increased.

Third, the newly launched African Continental Free Trade Area is set to change, in positive and far-reaching ways, how Africa does business with itself, and the rest of the world.

We are working on a more unified and effective African Union that will enhance our continent’s governance and cooperation with partners around the world.

In conclusion, there is clearly a convergence of interests between Africa and BRICS members. What is needed most is a mechanism for effective delivery on agreed areas.

Working together, we will continue to be a principal source of economic dynamism in the years to come.

I wish to assure you of Africa’s commitment to increased dialogue and active engagement.

Thank you, once again, for the invitation, and I look forward to today’s discussions.