BRICS is the driving force of global growth and the economies in the five-member bloc are catching up with the combined GDP of G7 countries, with significant shifts in the manufacturing process, Union Minister of Commerce Piyush Goyal said here on Monday.
He was speaking at the opening ceremony of the BRICS Manufacturing Business Summit.
“The 21st century has witnessed significant shifts in what we manufacture, how we manufacture and for whom we manufacture,” Goyal told delegates from more than 30 countries at the event.
“Manufacturing is a significant part of trade and industry and plays a pivotal role in the growth of a nation. While its dominance in the economy continues, the 21st century has witnessed a significant shift in what we manufacture, how we manufacture and what we manufacture,” he said at the summit.
The summit was one of the peripheral events ahead of the 15th BRICS Summit at which the leaders of the member countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - will gather on Wednesday to discuss a range of issues.
While the other BRICS leaders will meet in person for the first time after the Covid-19 pandemic, Russian President Vladimir Putin will join virtually because of an arrest warrant issued against him by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Goyal said technology has led to not only changes in the process but also in the products of manufacturing.
“There are newer products catering to evolving consumer wants, more than the need. Environmental challenges and sustainability concerns have also forced us to diversify products and processes in manufacturing in this century.
"Global value chains and supply chains, together with an unprecedented global market shaped by technological feats, has indeed forced us to re-imagine and re-design manufacturing of the future,” he said.
Goyal said an important factor to keep in mind was the shift towards the global south.
“Today, BRICS is the driving force of global growth. BRICS economies are catching up with the combined GDP of G7 countries and will continue to increasingly contribute to the global GDP," he said.
Goyal said there is a huge potential for increasing mutual trade and investments within the BRICS grouping by leveraging the complementarities in our economies. "It is all the more important for BRICS economies to pursue sustainable development agenda since we are home to more than 40 per cent of the global population," he said.
“It is important for countries to enhance their participation in Global Value Chains for higher economic growth and prosperity of their citizens.
"Studies have shown that if a country increases its participation in global value chains by 10 per cent, its per capita income increases by up to 14 per cent,” Goyal said.
He highlighted how India had achieved this.
“India's recognition of the importance of enhancing participation in Global Value Chains is rooted in our commitment to fostering higher economic growth and securing the prosperity of our citizens.
"By effectively integrating ourselves into these chains, we can tap into global opportunities, accelerate our economic progress, create better livelihoods for our people, and position the country into its rightful place on the global stage,” he said.
Goyal said India aims to increase the contribution of the manufacturing sector to the GDP, from the current 15 per cent to 25 per cent by 2030.
He gave details of several projects designed to realise this objective.
“Today, India stands as the largest digitally interconnected democracy globally, boasting in excess of 800 million internet users and a notable upsurge in online services. This era, characterised by the sequence of 'reform, perform, transform' is actively moulding India's future growth trajectory,” the minister said.
Addressing the theme of supporting growth on the African continent, Goyal said African countries have been the provider of natural resources for industrial development across the world.
“It is time that this advantage is leveraged for their own industrial development. What is needed is the policy push, the right technology and expertise and financial resources," he said.
Goyal said India can be a valuable investment and technology partner in Africa’s industrial development.
"I am confident that greater business-to-business engagements between India and Africa will bring in more investments from Indian companies across various sectors,” he said.
The minister suggested that the successful ‘Make in India’ programme could be adapted to a ‘Make in Africa’ programme.
“Part of the ‘Make in Africa’ effort must be to promote domestic value addition instead of just exporting raw materials and getting back finished products,” Goyal said.