Your Excellency, President Rousseff;
Your Excellency, President Medvedev;
Excellency the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Spain, Mr Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero,
Excellency the Prime Minister of the Republic of Ukraine, Mr Mykola Azarov,
Honourable Minister Krishna representing Prime Minister Singh;
Mr Yasuo Fukuda, Chairman of the BOAO Forum for Asia,
Secretary-General of the BOAO Forum, Mr Zhou Wenzhong;
Honourable Ministers from the BRICS countries,
Distinguished delegates and guests;
It is my distinct honour to have received an invitation to celebrate here with you the 10th anniversary of the BOAO Forum for Asia.
I am delighted that my first attendance of this forum coincides with such a special milestone.
The theme of the Forum, "Inclusive Development: Common Agenda and New Challenges", demonstrates that we are meeting during a dynamic period in the global economy.
Economically, a phenomenal development has been the rise of the economic giants of the South.
While some will view this trend as a basis for building a strong and working multi-polar world, others may perceive it as a threat.
Clearly, these new developments require that we work on managing global interdependencies and strengthen cooperation, in order to overcome common challenges and take advantage of opportunities.
Some of the challenges we must confront together relate to sustainable development, climate change, energy security, peace, trade and finance.
The 3rd BRICS Leaders Meeting held yesterday discussed some of these issues. It was indeed a great honour for South Africa to meet with the leaders of China, Brazil, India and the Russian Federation in the context of the BRICS mechanism, as a new member.
The message that emanated from our meeting is clear, as outlined in the Sanya Declaration, which confirmed that the BRICS mechanism serves as a major platform for dialogue and cooperation, especially in the areas of economic, financial and development fields.
BRICS is also a powerful platform for promoting inclusive growth and development for the three billion strong population of the BRICS countries. That is why we are pleased with the success of the 3rd BRICS Leader's Meeting.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The changing world order brings to the fore the fact that Africa has become an indispensable partner in the global economy, with exciting growth potential for its future consumer markets.
South Africa, in particular, is assuming an increasingly important position in the international arena.
We are one of the non-permanent members on the United Nations Security Council, a member of the G20, and have now joined BRICS.
On a regional level, we are a member of the African Union Peace and Security Council. On the sub-regional level, we will chair as from August, the Southern African Development Community Organ on Politics, Defence and Security.
South Africa is ideally placed in the shifting poles of power, not only as an emerging market, but also as a leading economy in a continent that is home to approximately fifteen percent of the world's population.
We are strong promoters of inclusive growth, job creation, and the small business enterprises.
We actively participate and contribute to positions formulated in global policy making and are supportive of the G20 agenda.
Domestically, we are implementing programmes aimed at promoting inclusive growth through expanding development and access to social services for all, especially the poor, in order to improve their living conditions.
As long as people lack adequate education and healthcare, infrastructure, access to land, capital, finance and market institutions, they simply cannot take advantage of growth. They are trapped in a vicious cycle of poverty.
To meet the need for balanced and inclusive growth, in South Africa we have developed a strategy known as the New Growth Path, which has job creation as a focal point.
To indicate our seriousness in this regard, we have declared 2011 as the year of job creation. Research has indicated that we can create jobs in six priority areas of the New Growth Path.
These are infrastructure development, agriculture, mining and beneficiation, manufacturing, the green economy and tourism. All these provide viable investment opportunities for the business community domestically and abroad.
Job creation efforts are not isolated. They form part of a broad framework for improving living conditions.
In this regard, our Government has set out five national priorities, namely education, health care, fighting crime, rural development and creating jobs.
Our National Treasury projections suggest that an economic expansion of four per cent a year over the next three years could generate about 900 000 jobs, mainly in the trade, construction and business services sectors.
We know that sustainable growth that can lead to the creation of decent jobs depends on improved industrial and trade performance.
It depends on strengthening those sectors in which South Africa has competitive potential in global markets, which our second Industrial Policy Action Plan sets out to do.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The Sanya Declaration underlined amongst others, the common goal of promoting the reform of the international monetary system.
The international financial crisis has exposed the inadequacies and shortcomings of the international monetary and financial systems.
In this regard, South Africa joins the call on major reserve currency issuing economies to adopt responsible macroeconomic policies. They must take into account the ramifications of their monetary policies for both the domestic economies and the world economy.
We are saying this against the background that South Africa is a front runner in risk management, as evidenced by the minimal impact of our financial systems during the crisis that unfolded in 2008 and 2009.
We would like to caution as well, that we need to remain vigilant to any significant moves towards trade protectionism and competitive devaluations by individual countries.
If these occur, it will merely result in a race to the bottom and undermine all G20 efforts to achieve strong, sustainable and balanced growth.
Ladies and gentlemen,
At the end of this year, we will host the Seventeenth United Nations Conference of the Parties on Climate Change.
Hosting the conference in South Africa will allow the focus of these negotiations to shift to the continent mostly affected by climate change.
The result should be reached in an inclusive and transparent manner.
The outcome should effectively address the challenge of climate change in accordance with the principles of the UN conferences on climate change.
These are in particular the principle of equity, common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities and that the Bali Road Map should guide the future work of the Parties.
South Africa will also give its full support to Brazil for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development or Rio plus 20 next year.
The Rio plus 20 conference should provide a platform for a frank and candid discussion as well as introspection by the international community on its ability to deliver on the internationally agreed targets for sustainable development.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you indeed for inviting us to this important BOAO Forum for Asia. We look forward to continuous engagement with the Asian business community, following this first opportunity of this nature.
I wish to invite all the business representatives here today to come and visit us and see a country and continent on the move towards inclusive growth and development.
I thank you!