South Africa: President Zuma Wraps Up Brisbane Visit
Pretoria — President Jacob Zuma has concluded his visit to Brisbane, Australia, where he led the South African delegation to the G20 Leaders’ Summit, says the Presidency.
The main outcome of the Leaders’ Summit was a commitment to lift the G20’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by at least an additional 2 percent by 2018, with a view to significantly increase job creation and enhance investment and trade, as well as development and inclusive growth.
“This year’s G20 Summit was organised differently as it focused mainly on measures to achieve economic growth globally and to create jobs by lifting the world’s GDP by 2 percent. Australia, as the current chair of the G20, has kept the agenda of the Summit focused on issues related to the global economy, development, growth and trade,” said President Zuma at the end of the summit.
The leaders further pledged to fully implement the growth strategy with the aim of reducing inequality and poverty.
President Zuma added that during the summit, the leaders from G20 member countries briefed their peers on the current developments in their respective regions.
In this light, South Africa provided an African perspective on a number of issues such as the global economy and trade, infrastructure development, inclusive growth, the global financial situation and combating the scourge of Ebola, amongst others.
On addressing the current global economy, President Zuma said: “In order to sustain global growth, we need to, amongst others, accelerate infrastructure development, especially in Africa. This will help lift intra – Africa trade and contribute immensely toward enabling our Continent to industrialise and to create jobs in high value sectors, so that Africa can produce value – added manufactured goods.”
In this context, South Africa welcomed the establishment of the G20 Global Infrastructure Hub, which will help develop a knowledge-sharing platform and network between governments, the private sector, development banks and other international organisations.
President Zuma said the discussion around the global financial system was robust as they agreed that the International Financial Institutions (IFIs) needed to be reformed as emerging markets and developing economies now account for the largest share of global growth.
“This shift in the structure of the global economy must be reflected in the governance structures of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Trade Organisation (WTO),” he said.
Modernising international tax system
President Zuma also welcomed G20 commitments to modernise the international tax system, adding that this was critical to ensuring fairness, and to secure countries’ revenue bases.
Although the tax loss attributable to Base Erosion and Profit Shifting has not been quantitatively measured, President Zuma said there are indications that developing countries suffer severe tax revenue losses as a result of this practice by some of the multinational corporations.
“All countries with open economies stand to benefit when multinationals pay their fair share of taxes. We support the work done by the OECD to co-ordinate international efforts to curb base erosion and profit shifting.
“We have already implemented measures in our domestic tax legislation in relation to Base Erosion and Profit Shifting. We are fully committed to resolve outstanding technical and policy issues and to finalise these by the end of 2015,” said the President.
South Africa was among 51 countries that signed the Agreement on Automatic Exchange to Financial Information in Berlin, in October 2014.
The President reinstated the commitment to begin exchanging information in 2017, which will be underpinned by legislation currently before Parliament.
“We feel strongly that we must continue to contribute towards strengthening tax administration capacities of developing and low income countries to fully participate in this reform agenda” said President Zuma.
Open channels of communication
The President has also called for open channels of communication amongst regulators across borders.
“We have called on the Financial Stability Board and other international Standard Setting Bodies to make concerted outreach efforts to consult with and include the experiences of emerging market and developing countries, as well as other non-G20 countries,” said the President.
He said South Africa appreciates the increased representation by emerging market economies in the governance structure of the Financial Stability Board (FSB).
“As G20 countries we must lead in reviewing our domestic regulatory frameworks to give expression to the good work overseen by the FSB,” he said.
With regard to trade, President Zuma reiterated the fact that trade can no longer be one – sided.
“The African continent wants to move from being a net exporter of raw materials to exporting value-added goods through beneficiation and manufacturing. In this regard, Africa has adopted an ambitious industrialisation, infrastructure development and market integration programme.”
On Ebola, President Zuma announced that South Africa and Senegal made a presentation on the need to work together in addressing the serious challenge posed by the epidemic.
The summit agreed that Ebola is a global problem and not only limited to Africa.
The G20 Leaders pledged to contribute more resources in curtailing the outbreak of Ebola and thanked international organisations such as the United Nations, World Bank, IMF and others, for their support and contributions.
G20 Leaders recognised the need to support international efforts to contain and control the epidemic and adopted a separate, stand-alone statement on Ebola.
This move, according to President Zuma, is unprecedented in the G20 and reflects the readiness of the Group to respond to such serious challenges.
As per tradition, the BRICS meet on the side-lines of the summit to discuss the agenda of the G20 Summit and to provide input on issues such as economic growth and development and the role that business can play in stimulating economic growth.
Infrastructure development in Africa and addressing the Ebola epidemic were also discussed by the BRICS Leaders.
The President was accompanied by Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene, International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, among others.