South Africa will host the 10th BRICS Summit in July

South Africa, which took over the rotational chairship of the emerging economies grouping Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS), is set to host the 10th BRICS summit in July.

The summit, which is scheduled from 25 – 27 July at the Sandton Convention Centre, will see South Africa building on the BRICS programme of development and prosperity for partner countries.

South Africa says the summit, which will be attended by Heads of State from the grouping, will be an important milestone towards building stronger solidarity and cooperation among emerging markets.

“BRICS is an important global formation and South Africa is privileged to host the summit the second time around, as we enter the second decade cooperation. BRICS has been meeting in summit form for nine years now and this will be the 10th session.

“The first summit we hosted in 2013 was very successful with very tangible outcomes and the results of that summit are visible in the work of the BRICS and the global community and we are confident that this summit will also follow suit,” DIRCO DDG of Asia, Middle East and BRICS Sous-Sherpa, Anil Sooklal, said on Monday.

He was speaking in Tshwane where the GCIS, Dirco and Brand SA hosted a communications roundtable discussion session on awareness around the importance of BRICS to South Africa.

The session was imperative as South Africa assumed the rotational chairship from China from 1 January to 31 December 2018.

Sooklal said the summit will showcase the cooperation that the BRICS countries enjoy, as well as its impact globally as they address key challenges faced by emerging countries such as developmental challenges, growing the economy, and addressing poverty and unemployment.

According to Sooklal, within the BRICS context, South Africa has four primary goals which are to see development and inclusive economic growth; promote value-added trade among BRICS countries and to promote investment into the productive sector.

The five BRICS countries account for 26 percent of the world’s landmass and are home to 43 percent of the world’s population. The bloc is composed of emerging markets and the developing world.

There has been substantive progress achieved since South Africa joined BRICS in 2011, as seen for example in the launch of the Africa Regional Centre of the New Development Bank (NDB) in South Africa.

The formation has strengthened its cooperative mechanism for institutional development, most notably witnessed in the creation of the New Development Bank and the recently launched Africa Regional Centre in Johannesburg.

In 2015, total intra-BRICS trade amounted to R3.06 trillion.

South Africa’s exports to BRICS countries marginally increased from R123 billion in 2011 to R138.2 billion in 2016, while in the same period, imports from BRICS countries also increased from R115 billion to R230 billion.

Total Intra-BRICS FDI was R554 trillion at the end of February 2016.

However, despite the depended relations within BRICS, Sooklal said there needs room for better coordination between BRICS countries in other areas.

“We need to get your academics, think tanks, the private sector, and our people to people dimension to work and organise themselves better and embrace the opportunities presented to them by being part of the BRICS formation.”

Already the South African government has been engaging the BRICS Think Tank Council in order to identify concrete areas of cooperation that South Africa can take forward during the country’s BRICS presidency in 2018.

A BRICS Network of Smart Manufacturing Hubs has been recommended and it is expected to pool together knowledge, technology and new ideas on the identification of new and interconnected value chains.


WEF 2018 was a “successful pilgrimage” for SA, says Cyril Ramaphosa

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has concluded his Working Visit to the World Economic Forum (WEF) 2018 in Davos, Switzerland by declaring Team South Africa’s participation in this global gathering a “successful pilgrimage”.

Deputy President Ramaphosa said at the conclusion of his visit that he had been encouraged by the positive interest shown in South Africa by international investors who wished the country well as it entered a new era.

He said the Forum had left South Africa with “confidence in the confidence” expressed by the investor community.

Deputy President Ramaphosa said by dealing with impediments to growth including corruption, dysfunction in state-owned enterprises and regulatory uncertainty, South Africa would position itself as an attractive destination.

The Deputy President reiterated his welcoming of the Commission of Inquiry into state capture and corruption established by President Jacob Zuma.

In tandem with action on the part of the criminal justice system, the Commission would help the country “go to the depths” of corruption that has affected state-owned enterprises.

On his last day in Davos Deputy President held bilateral meetings with Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rassmussen and British Prime Minister Theresa May.

Deputy President Ramaphosa gave a number of international television interviews and addressed an international press conference where he was supported by Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Jeff Radebe; Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies; Minister for Economic Development Ebrahim Patel, and Minister of Finance Malusi Gigaba.

Deputy President commended the ministerial delegation – which included Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and Minister of Public Works Nathi Nhleko – on their intensive engagements on WEF platforms and in discussions with counterparts in government, as well as with investors.

Deputy President Ramaphosa commended Team South Africa for flying the flag with confidence at Davos and called on all South Africans to sustain the positive mood in the country with hard work and partnership that will unite South Africans and improve economic conditions .

Deputy President Ramaphosa arrives in Johannesburg tomorrow, Friday 26 January 2018.

[Press Statement] The Presidency

Image: BizNews

President Xi Jinping remains ‘historic’ speeches are validated at Davos

Fu Jing in Davos, Switzerland
Displayed with permission from China Daily

Theme built on ‘shared future’ idea president unveiled in 2017

President Xi Jinping’s advocacy of a community with a shared future for mankind, an open economy, globalisation and fighting protectionism and isolationism has been widely welcomed and China has been transforming the proposals into action, said a senior Chinese official attending the World Economic Forum on Wednesday.

Liu He, a member of Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, addressed the four-day annual meeting, which ends on Friday. Last year, Xi made speeches that were considered historic in Davos and Geneva.

“President Xi came here last year and delivered a speech entitled Jointly Shoulder Responsibility of Our Times, Promote Global Growth, in which he expounded on China’s firm support for economic globalisation,” said Liu, a top economic policy adviser as head of the General Office of the Central Leading Group for Financial and Economic Affairs, responsible for mapping the country’s economic policies. “That speech was warmly received by the international community.”

Liu said that in line with Xi’s propositions in Davos, China has stood firm against all forms of protectionism in the past year.

He said China has strengthened protection of intellectual property rights, promoted fair competition, deepened the opening of financial markets and increased imports.

“With efforts to implement the Belt and Road Initiative, we are moving economic globalisation forward with concrete actions,” Liu said.

Liu said the theme of this year’s forum, Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World, is highly relevant.

He quoted Xi as saying, “As long as we keep to the goal of building a community with a shared future for mankind and work hand in hand to fulfil our responsibilities and overcome difficulties, we will be able to create a better world and deliver better lives for our people.”

While urging improved labour productivity and changes in the savings rate in large economies, Liu warned that deep-seated problems in the world economy have yet to be fixed and multiple risks and considerable uncertainties come from high debts, asset bubbles, protectionism and the escalation of regional and international hot spots.

“To meet these challenges, to keep the growth momentum, and to turn the cyclical recovery into sustainable growth, we need concerted global efforts,” Liu said. “History often repeats itself in different ways or keeps revisiting similar crossroads. It is crucial to make prudent and rational choices – choices that will serve mankind well.”

He advocated having an open mind and taking a strategic perspective in dealing with global challenges like climate change, disruptive technologies and terrorism.

“No country can cope with them alone. We need to enhance mutual understanding, tolerance and trust. And we must seek cooperation in a sensible and practical manner,” Liu said.

“We need to shape a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness, justice and win-win cooperation, and build a community with a shared future for mankind. We believe this is the only way that will lead us to prosperity.”

Angus Deaton, an economics professor at Princeton University, told China Daily that Xi’s concept of a shared future for mankind is a great vision. “I think China is doing what they can to make it happen,” said Deaton, recipient of the 2015 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.

Rob Wainwright, director of Europol, the police authority based in The Hague, said Xi’s call for a shared future is significant.

“I work very much in Europe with US partners, but that is not enough. I am very pleased about the positive positions that China has taken so far,” Wainwright said.

In his speech, Liu also said that high-quality growth, instead of high-speed development, will predominate in China’s development in the coming years.

Liu said China is preparing a new reform package that will be announced when China celebrates the 40th anniversary of reform and opening-up this year.

Liu has said that the financial sector, manufacturing and services industries, intellectual property rights and imports are the four key sectors for China’s reforms this year.


Source: Repubhub/China Daily

Ministry drafts policies to promote self-driving vehicles

22 January 2018
Li Fusheng
Displayed with permission from China Daily

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology is working on a draft document on autonomous driving, which is part of China’s efforts to promote the cutting-edge technology, according to a source close to the matter.

“The central government is eager to do it,” Wu Zhixin, vice-president of the China Automotive Technology & Research Center, told China Daily in an interview last week.

“The Beijing city government has released one and the central government will promulgate that before any local government will follow Beijing’s example.”

China expects smart cars with partial or fully autonomous functions to account for 50% of new vehicles sold in the country by 2020, according to the National Development and Reform Commission.

The Beijing guideline on autonomous driving, which was released in late December, is the first document of its kind in the country.

It applies to independent entities registered in China, allowing them to test at most five vehicles at a time, but before conducting road tests they must first complete tests in designated closed zones, according to the guideline.

Wu said specific requirements about tests in closed zones have not been finished and his centre will organise experts in the field to conduct a comprehensive study soon.

“It is like we obtain our driving licenses. We must pass tests in closed zones before we are allowed to hit the road,” he said.

For the technology’s development, he suggested that a large scale of lower-level functions, or advanced driving assist systems, should be promoted first.

“We should start from the basics, like autonomous parking, which is easy to realise in simple scenarios like parking lots,” said Wu.

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“We promote them, and then more people will use them. When more people use them, carmakers will have returns on investments so they will have the money to invest further.”

A lot of carmakers and tech companies have been pushing forward autonomous driving.

Baidu Inc has been moving ahead with the research and development of autonomous driving technology. In April 2017, it launched Apollo, an open platform on which its technologies can be shared with developers and automakers.

It also announced plans to unveil Level 3, or eye-of functions, in mass-produced cars by 2019 in cooperation with Chinese carmakers including JAC Motors and BAIC Motor.

China’s SAIC Motor is teaming up with Intel to develop autonomous cars based on its Mobileye technology.

Zhu Jun, general manager of Shanghai E-propulsion Auto Technology Co, a SAIC subsidiary that that develops electric and hybrid propulsion technologies, is cautious. He does not expect affordable cars with real autonomy, which means at Level 4 or above, to drive into daily life within 10 years because of technological issues and costs.

A Level 4 vehicle can drive itself almost exclusively without any human interaction, and a Level 5 vehicle can drive itself without human interaction on any road.

Zhu’s estimate is in line with the view of PwC consultancy subsidiary Strategy&, which predicts that from around 2027 highly or fully autonomous cars will become a reality in daily lives.

Source: Repubhub (China Daily 01/22/2018 page18)
[Photo provided to China Daily]