Meeting of BRICS Ministers of Foreign Affairs/International Relations

The BRICS Ministers of Foreign Affairs/International Relations held their annual meeting on the margins of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA73) on 27 September 2018, chaired by Brazil in the country’s capacity as the incoming BRICS Chair for 2019. They exchanged views on current issues of global significance in political, security, economic, financial and sustainable development spheres, as well as three-pillar intra-BRICS strategic cooperation. The Ministers expressed their warm appreciation to South Africa for the success of the 10th BRICS Summit, Johannesburg, 25-27 July 2018, held under the theme: “BRICS in Africa: Collaboration for Inclusive Growth and Shared Prosperity in the 4th Industrial Revolution”. They also welcomed the convening of BRICS Leaders Retreat in Johannesburg that marked the 10th anniversary of the BRICS Summits. The Ministers recommitted to implement the outcomes of the Johannesburg Summit, as well as of the past Summits.

The Ministers also welcomed the hosting of the BRICS-Africa Outreach and second BRICS Plus Cooperation with Emerging Markets and Developing Countries (EMDCs) during the Johannesburg Summit.

The Ministers underlined the progress achieved by BRICS throughout more than one decade of multi-dimensional, inclusive cooperation fostered by the Leaders’ Summits. They expressed satisfaction with the many fruitful results of intra-BRICS cooperation in the areas of economy, finance, peace, stability and people-to-people exchanges, in particular the establishment of the New Development Bank (NDB), including its Africa Regional Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa, the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA), the formulation of the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership, BRICS Action Agenda on Economic and Trade Cooperation and the BRICS Agricultural Research Platform (ARP). They welcomed the constitution of the BRICS Energy Research Cooperation Platform, the upcoming establishment of the Americas Regional Office of the NDB in São Paulo, the BRICS Partnership on New Industrial Revolution (PartNIR), and the BRICS Vaccine Research and Development Centre. The Ministers looked forward to the early and full operationalization of all BRICS initiatives.

  • Ministry of foreign affairs of the people’s republic of China 

 

UK unconditionally supports India’s bid to join Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)

India is bidding to be a part of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). The United Kingdom has fully reiterated its support for India’s membership. The UK believes India has worked and merited entry in to the NSG and will act responsibly when it comes to nuclear trade.

This comes after meeting with India’s foreign ministry, the UK’s foreign and commonwealth officials. India can be a strong partner in protecting international order and regulations. This is India second bid at joining the NSG though it’s facing strong opposition from China.

The USA is also supporting India’s bid after the 2+2 Dialogue earlier this month.  The US evaluated India and the country was given a tier 1 license exemption which allows India to export sensitive defence and high-end technologies.

There are few reservations to India membership which include the proliferation of nuclear weapons by India’s neighbour Pakistan as well as North Korea. However, the US believes that India is the best candidate at this moment.

 

Source: times of India

 

President Cyril Ramaphosa reaffirms there are no land grabs in South Africa

South African president Cyril Ramaphosa was interviewed on Wednesday by Bloomberg on the sidelines of the UN general assembly in New York regarding land reform in South Africa, and US president Donald Trump’s infamous tweet on the issue.

President Ramaphosa said he had met with president Trump but did not have time to discuss the tweet. He also said that president Trumps tweet was clearly misinformed and that there are no land grabs or killing of white farmers in South African, instead South Africa is undergoing a land reform process in which the mistakes of the past are being rectified.

Ramaphosa said the land issue is the original sin in the history of South Africa and if his government doesn’t balance out the problem it could lead to instability in the country.  Ramaphosa’s government is managing risk to promote social cohesion and equal access to land for all South Africans.

 

Source: Bloomberg.com

 

Brazil elections close and unpredictable

Brazilians will be making way to elections in the month of October. 147 million Brazilians will be partaking in the presidential elections. The race so far has been far from ordinary, with an assassination attempt on Jair Bolsonaro who’s currently leading in opinion polls. Bolsonaro currently in recovery.

Second in the polls, former Sao Paulo mayor Fernando Haddad who surpassed former president, Lula da Silva who is in prison serving a 12-year sentence on corruption charges. Lula was made ineligible by electoral court earlier this month for president, before that he was leading in the polls.

It is expected that Jail Bolsonaro and Fernando Haddad will make the second-round runoff taking place on the 28 October. Bolsonaro is said to be leading by 27% in the polls, while Haddad has a 21% lead over the third place candidates Ciro Gomes who only has 12% of the opinion polls. To qualify for the second around runoff candidates will have to gain more than 50% of the vote.

In the end the winner may come down to who voters rejected the least, and which candidates can make the oppositions undesirable to the voters. If no candidate gets 50% then all candidate moves to the second-round runoff to decide who will become Brazil’s next president.

 

Source: aljazeera.com

Emerging market crisis – the BRICS Bank makes headway

 

Formerly referred to as the BRICS Bank, the New Development Bank (NDB) was founded just over three years ago. The BRICS has been a receiving a lot of criticism over the years – it was dismissed a label as a marketing acronym.

With the current cloud hanging over emerging markets the bank is surprisingly making headway. South Africa slipped into an unexpected recession earlier in the month, Brazil and Russia’s economies are still recovering. “A sharp fall in the rupee reflects jitters about India” – the Economist. China is currently in a trade war with the US.

The bank aimed at reshaping world development finance, has been constantly compared to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) which was launched after the NDB. The BRICS Bank was viewed to be of lesser influence and effectiveness.

The Economist. Com at a closer look inspect both financers and noticed the following; both banks are busy as each other. The New Development Bank has approved $5.7bn in loans and the AIIB has approved $5.3bn. Both the NDB and the AIIB are adding to their ranks daily. Both have international credit rating, three rating agencies rated AIIB triple -A scores last year. The NDB was rated S&P and Fitch AA+ in August.

The BRICS bank is gaining traction and has been admired by economists. “Why do we need another World Bank? The AIIB looks a lot like what’s out there. The NDB is looking more innovative” says Gregory Chin, economic diplomacy specialist at the University of Canada.  Chin added by saying that the BRICS walls are shaky, but the banks looks more solid.

 

Source: The Economist

BRICS wants to have influence in global financial and economic affairs – Russia

China’s President Xi Jinping, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa, Brazil’s President Michel Temer and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin pose for a group picture at the BRICS summit meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa, July 26, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

From its inception the BRICS bloc goals were more than just economic development. The coalition of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa was formed because of the need for the nations to have greater influence in global financial and economic affairs.

These statements were made by Russia’s ambassador to South Africa, Mikhail Petrakov. The ambassador was speaking at a South Africa Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) event, addressing BRICS and Russia’s bilateral relations with South Africa. The event held in Cape Town on Wednesday evening is one of many hosted by the SAIIA.

Petrakov was quoted by Africa News Agency (ANA) saying that Russia wants all BRICS members to have improved economic conditions and heightened reasoning standards for citizens. “We want our countries to have more weight in international and global financial and economic currency, and we want improvement in global economic architecture” the ambassador said.

 

Source: Africa News Agency

India, Brazil, Germany, Japan Ministers plan to review UN security council reform

Forty years since the Security Council Agenda was placed on the General Assembly agenda – Ministers from India, Brazil, Germany and Japan are now expressing their concerns with the security reform.

The Ministers of the G-4 countries met on Tuesday at the Indian Mission to the UN. The meeting was hosted by India’s External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj to review the reform progress.

The Ministers said in statement after the meeting that they spoke of “pathways to reform”. In the statement the Ministers said that they have tasked their diplomats to ways to advance the reform.

The four countries of the G-4 advocate for Council reform and mutually support each other for a permanent seat on an expanded Council, says ibtimes.com.

Source: Ib Times

10 massive projects China is financed on the African Continent

China is investing heavily into Africa and is now funding some of the biggest projects throughout the continent. China after the 2018 China-Africa Forum for Cooperation (FOCAC) has pledged $60 billion for the development of Africa and advance China-Africa cooperation.

The investments and the building of mega projects in Africa is part of China’s “One Belt One Road” initiative.  The initiative includes the building of key infrastructure like telecommunication, roads, railways and bridges, sea ports, power stations and skills development.

In terms of railway projects China is heavily invested the African countries of Kenya, Ethiopia, Angola, Djibouti, and Nigeria. The biggest railway investment by China is in Kenya for the Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway costing over $4 billion.

The second mega project China has already funded is the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia costing over $200 Million. Another African headquarters China has built is the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria at a cost of $31.6 million.

China has also invested $10 Million in Ghana to explore there solid mineral deposits. China is building two Hydro power plants one Angola for $4 Billion another in Guinea for $270 Million. The sixth project is the economic zone planned to be built in the Republic of Congo.

Nigeria will also be receiving a $2 Billion oil refinery, while Zambia is building a cement factory for over $500 million funded and Egypt is building a city worth $21 Billion.

The tenth projects that China is invested in is the Zimbabwean parliament.

Source: businessinsider.co.za

Azerbaijan to further increasing trade and investments with Russia

Russia’s neighbouring country Azerbaijan has declared that it is interested in increasing trade and investment with its neighbour country Russia. The country’s Minister of Economy, Shahin Mustafayev made this statement at the extended meeting of the Azerbaijani and Russian business councils on the 27th of September 2018.

The meeting was part of the 9th Azerbaijan-Russian interregional forum, the forum is focused on developing trade, economic and humanitarian ties between the two countries, encouraging joint work between the two countries. In attendance were ministers, ambassadors and business groups from both countries.

There has been positive development in the Azerbaijan and Russia bilateral trade over the years. Russia is one of Azerbaijan main trade partners, with Azerbaijan having invested over $1 Billion so far into the Russian economy and Russia having invested over $4 billion to the Azerbaijani economy. Minister Shahin also mentioned that there are 760 businesses from Russia that are operating in Azerbaijan currently.

 

Source: Trend News Agency

 

Eskom expo for young scientists

The annual Eskom Expo for Young Scientists International Science Fair (#EskomExpoSF) will be taking place on Tuesday 2-5 October in Johannesburg at the Birchwood Hotel.

The Eskom Expo is designed to bring together Young Scientists and students to show case their own creative ideas, projects, investigations and experiments.

The goal is encourage the youth and students to participate more in science, build awareness, add to their knowledge and broaden their understanding of science.

The Eskom Expo has also been running competitions, were student from 35 Expo Regions in South Africa compete against the best young scientists from around the country and around the world.

Winners of these competitions take home bursaries for local and international studies. There are also cash prizes available for winners and the honour of representing South Africa at the international science fair.

Find out how to enter the competition on: http://www.exposcience.co.za/