Solidarity, reliable supply chain critical in fighting COVID-19: S.African minister

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PRETORIA, July 23 (Xinhua) — The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the importance of working with other countries, building resilient and diversified supply chains, said South African Trade Minister Ebrahim Patel on Thursday.

At the 10th BRICS Trade Ministers Meeting, Patel said that solidarity is critical in fighting the virus. As the pandemic is still raging on, “we need to further strengthen the solidarity between ourselves.”

Securing critical goods, promoting investment as well as ensuring vaccine available and affordable to developing countries, are good examples of solidarity, he added.

Patel also said COVID-19 has taught African countries that “if we are simply exporters of raw materials and importers of medication, medical equipment and other critical goods, then our ability to ensure protection of citizens in moments like these, is compromised.”

It is necessary to build domestic manufacturing capabilities as part of building new, inclusive supply chains, the minister added.

“An inclusive supply chain means that manufacturing capacity is diversified across countries and South Africa to expand production for both existing product lines and new product opportunities,” he said.

Noting that BRICS is an important forum for dialogue and cooperation on matters of common interest, the minister said “BRICS offers an opportunity to exchange views on global developments like the impact and responses to the coronavirus outbreak.”

“BRICS also provides a platform for cooperation to build trade and investment flows, including a focus on more balanced trade, and higher value-added products,” he added. Enditem

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