BRICS role in foreign aid and charity contributions

Foreign aid is one  of the many ways to show soft power in world. From transferring resource, skills, medical assistance and military training to helping countries in economic and  environmental pressures

The BRICS countries as a bloc are in the unique position to leverage their soft power collectively. This  by showing the BRICS more charitable side it may help them in achieving other international goals, as well as allowing them to have a bigger voice in global bodies like they United Nations.

Individually they each BRICS country has shown there Humanitarian side From South Africa’s assisting in Indonesia to China and Russia’s work in aid efforts throughout Africa. There is however, still a strong need for the BRICS collectively to take a leadership role in many of the problems facing the world.

Some area the BRICS humanitarian hand is need is in countries like Venezuela which borders Brazil. Venezuela is going through economic crisis at the moment with its people finding the conditions in country unbearable.  Brazil which is one of the neighboring countries is struggling in its effects of help Venezuelan refugees.

A more collective stance and policy among the BRICS bloc with regards to Humanitarian efforts will go a long way in building BRICS influence and showing the power that BRICS has through charity.  

 

By Mogethi Mtezuka

 

President Ramaphosa concludes a successful visit to Germany

President Cyril Ramaphosa has concluded a successful working visit to the Federal Republic of Germany where he attended the G20 Investment Summit and the G20 Compact with Africa Conference.

The visit reinforced cooperation between the governments of South Africa and Germany on bilateral and global issues and underscored the critical importance of German investment to South Africa’s efforts to stimulate sustainable and inclusive economic growth as a means to reduce poverty, unemployment and inequality.

On Tuesday 30 October 2018 President Ramaphosa addressed the G20 Investment Summit in Berlin in his capacity as Co-chair of the G20-Africa Advisory Group. The Summit was attended by Heads of State and Government of Compact with Africa (CwA) countries as well as German business leaders who affirmed Africa as an attractive destination and partner for trade, investment and the transfer of skills and technology.

The G20 Compact with Africa conference reviewed progress made since the 2017 Hamburg Summit and leaders exchanged views on building on the partnership geared towards promotion of investment in Africa.

Also yesterday –

Tuesday 30 October – President Ramaphosa had a business breakfast with German corporate leaders, trade financiers and investment promotion agencies who were hosted by Prof Heinz-Walter Grobe, Chairman of the Sub-Saharan Africa Initiative of German Business.

German business leaders briefed the President on their experiences in South Africa, including some of the challenges of doing business.

The President emphasised government’s commitment to listen to the needs and concerns of investors, and to address these as a matter of priority.

President Cyril Ramaphosa commended German investors for their continued engagement with South Africa. There are around 600 German companies in South Africa, employing more than 100 000 South Africans.

The President said German companies were among those committed partners who were accompanying South Africa on its journey of renewal after several years of poor economic performance.

President Ramaphosa assured German investors that government was leading an effort to energise South Africans to work in unison to end corruption and achieve sustainable, inclusive growth.

President Ramaphosa commenced his working visit with a bilateral meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel.

In his meeting with Chancellor Merkel, President Ramaphosa expressed South Africa’s appreciation for Germany’s ongoing bilateral assistance in critical development areas like health and skills development.

President Ramaphosa and Chancellor Merkel reflected on measures taken by South Africa to improve the investment environment, including addressing policy uncertainty.

President Ramaphosa also noted that several German companies had made investment announcements during the recent South Africa Investment Conference and that German companies played a significant role in developing skills and building capacity in South Africa.

The two leaders agreed that bilateral relations would be strengthened through the Binational Commission which will be convened early in 2019.

President Ramaphosa and Chancellor Merkel also agreed on intensified cooperation in the United Nations Security Council during the two countries’ respective UNSC terms in 2019-2020.

South Africa and Germany are committed to working together to ensure that the Security Council contributes meaningfully to resolving important questions on international peace and security.

This is of particular importance to Africa, which accounts for more than 60 percent of the Security Council agenda.

The President and the Chancellor also agreed on the importance of continuing with the G20 Compact with Africa initiative, and committed to an expansion of trade and investment between South Africa and Germany.

 

 

Issued by: The Presidency of the Republic of South Africa 

South Africa’s New Bank Zero

Bank Zero is an app drive bank that is providing new look to banking in South Africa, as well as a new level of transparency, launched by Michael Jordaan and Yatin Narsai. The new bank is looking to take advantage of the changing times and advancement in technology.

Bank Zero has initiated its testing phase after the South African reserve bank granted its banking license. The bank has also successfully integrated in to the reserve bank payment system, which will allow the bank to control of payments, value chain and create a saving culture.

According to mybroadband.co.za the testing phase the bank has started and  will encompass the bank’s validating its end-to-end live system and processes. Bank Zero is also registered as a mutual bank is said to be more than 45% black owned and 20% women owned.

 

By: Mokgethi Mtezuka

India and Japan sign a currency swap deal

Japan  Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe and Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi met in Japan on Monday in a 2+2 dialogue. The meeting led to the  signing of a new currency swap deal valued at $75bn, aimed at helping foreign exchange in capital markets.

The deal will also advance economic cooperation between the two countries through deepening and diversifying the type of trade they engage in. This is the third currency swap deal between the two countries with the first in 2008 and the second taking place in 2013.

The swap deal opens up flexibility for India to gain access to foreign capital when the need arise, it also supports the Indian rupee and foreign exchange reserves. The deal also allows India to attain dollars from Japan when needed.

The swap deal also means the easing of regulations regarding foreign borrowing and review of regulations on foreign portfolio investments in debt. It will further reduce raised customs duty to curtail imports of non-essential items and allow oil marketing companies to fund standing working capital through long-term external borrowings.

 

Source: economictimes.indiatimes.com

 

 

DR Iqbal Survé applauds SA Chapter of BRICS Business Council successes

Dr Iqbal Survé, outgoing chairperson of the BRICS Business Council (the South African Chapter) has applauded the successful efforts of the chapter. The South African chapter of the Business Council held a successful annual meeting in KwaZulu Natal earlier in the year.

Dr Survé described the opportunity of  hosting of the BRICS Business Council as a ‘honour and privilege’ both for South Africa and him.

The outgoing chair said in a statement, “during this time, we have worked collaboratively to build the BRICS Business Council and have developed close ties with our colleagues in the BRICS countries, as a result.”

Survé thanked all outgoing members of the South Africa BRICS Business Council for their commitment and dedication to serving their country through the Council.

Survé said: “We have been party to many successes in the BRICS Business Council such as the MOU on Strategic Cooperation with the New Development Bank signed in 2017; the ongoing and important discussions in  relation to the BRICS Credit Rating Agency; the New International Payment System (NIPS); the Roadmap on Cooperation in Eliminating Trade Barriers and the proposed BRICS Business Women’s Alliance, referred to in the Johannesburg Declaration.

“These are but a few of the important initiatives that have arisen directly within the framework of the BRICS Business Council.”

According to the outgoing chair, most the newly established institutions are a result of the newly reconstituted Council in collaboration with the Council Chapters, through nine working groups that constitute the engine of the BRICS Business council.

Source: Africa News Agency (ANA)

 

NDB AND FAO AGREE TO STRENGTHEN COLLABORATION THROUGH JOINT INITIATIVES

The President of the New Development Bank (NDB), Mr. K. V. Kamath, and the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Professor Graziano da Silva, met at the NDB’s Headquarters in Shanghai to discuss opportunities for joint initiatives in areas of common interest, including rural development, water management and irrigation.

On the occasion, Mr. K. V. Kamath and Professor Graziano da Silva exchanged drafts of a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a framework for cooperation between the NDB and FAO. The Memorandum will be signed and enter into force following the conclusion of internal procedures.

Mr. K.V. Kamath and Professor Graziano agreed to co-organize a knowledge-sharing workshop on the topic of development impact in early 2019 to promote technical exchanges between staff and experts in water management, irrigation, sanitation and related fields. Several other forms of collaboration were also explored, including research and technical cooperation to support the design, monitoring and evaluation of sustainable development and infrastructure projects.

The collaboration between the NDB and FAO will aim to drive progress on their shared objectives of growth and development, in particular in light of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the role of international organizations in helping countries achieve their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“Strengthening the collaboration between the NDB and FAO is an important step towards further aligning the activities of our institutions in support of our member countries’ development efforts. This partnership will leverage the development expertise of FAO as a custodian of 21 SDG indicators, within the NDB’s capacity and mandate to mobilize resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in emerging and developing economies,” stated Mr. K. V. Kamath.

“In order to achieve SDGs on time – there are less than 12 years left – we need consistent, committed financing. Food and agriculture, water and sanitation, energy and transportation infrastructure can – and must – contribute enormously. This is why FAO is pleased today to join forces with the New Development Bank, so that together we can draw on our combined strengths and deliver tangible results for the countries we support,” stated Professor Graziano da Silva.

Background Information

The NDB was established by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa to mobilize resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging economies and developing countries, complementing the existing efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global growth and development.

FAO is a specialized agency of the UN established in 1945 to lead international efforts to defeat hunger. The goals of FAO are to eradicate hunger, improve nutrition and agricultural productivity, raise the standard of living of rural populations and contribute to the growth of the world economy.

 

Issued by: The New development Bank

image source: NDB Twitter

Naspers pledges R4.6 billion in support of SA tech entrepreneurs

Naspers will for the next three years invest an amount approximating R4.6bn in South Africa’s tech sector. R3.2 bn of the amount will be allocated to existing South African technology companies – OLX, Takealot and Mr D food. The remaining amount will the be committed to a foundry. The Naspers Foundry was announced at the inaugural South Africa investment conference, last week Friday in Johannesburg.

The Naspers initiative is set to provide funding in supporting SA tech entrepreneurs establish and develop.

“The Naspers Foundry aims to both encourage and back South African entrepreneurs to create businesses which ensure South Africa benefits from this technology innovation,” said Naspers Chief Executive, Bob Van Dijk.

According to the statement released by the group, South Africa’s innovative spirit is what led to the investment. The group CEO further said that they believe that innovative ideas are established locally, with passionate entrepreneurs starting businesses meant to meet their community needs – with financial backing the entrepreneurs can expand their businesses beyond their communities.  

Naspers CFO Basil Sgourdos added, “When we invest in an entrepreneur, we are able to bring much more to the table than just funding: we understand what it’s like to build and grow tech businesses, and we share that knowledge to help them succeed. We also recognise the important role that local businesses can play in boosting local economies, which in turn boosts the wider South African economy. That’s why a significant portion of the Naspers Foundry investment will be focused on black-owned South African start-ups.”

 

By: Kgothatso Nkanyane

 

BRICS 4th Industrial revolution cooperation

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

Science, technology, engineering and mathematics sectors are the fast growing sectors in the world.The fourth industrial revolution (4IR) is a silent revolution currently taking place around the world.

Members of the BRICS bloc for this reason have decided to cooperate in the science, technology and innovation sector.

BRICS is preparing for the 4IR, they believe they can get ahead of the curve is by upskilling, creating an environment for new opportunities, developing correct policies to deal with challenges as well as cooperating with each other.

BRICS countries have already signed a partnership agreement with regards to the 4IR as reported by mg.co.za. The fear is that the ever increasing growth and scale of technology could result in certain countries in position where they cannot compete with more developed countries or with countries that have taken the necessary steps to keep with trends.

The BRICS countries believe together they can take on the challenges they face in the 4IR. Leaders of the bloc have said that  having policies which will guild their cooperation is necessary in achieving success and tackling challenges. Connecting the mass in education, culture, tourism, sports, politics, economics and media are some of the key area the BRICS are looking at.

They are also looking people to people skill exchanges and joint venture as a way to drive citizens to learn from each other creates opportunities and to build sustainability.

 

By Mokgethi Mtezuka

 

Springboks gear up to take on England

The springboks are in London getting ready to take on England on Saturday 3 November. The Boks will then face France, Scotland and Wales on consecutive Saturdays throughout November.  The springboks will be playing the English at twickenham stadium.

The Boks are entering the tour in an inconsistent manner, even though they beat England in previous test series. The Boks away form has struggled in recent months to impress, after finishing 4th in the Rugby Championship as well as defeats from Italy and Ireland.

According to sport24.co.za this will be the fourth test between England and South Africa this years,after the they faced off in a three match series in June where the Boks won 2-1. The Springboks team that will take on England is expected to be named by coach Rassie Erasmus on Thursday.

 

By Mokgethi Mtezuka

OPINION| South Africa’s upcoming elections

There are  three major parties contesting the 2019 South African national elections, the ruling party the African National Congress (ANC), the official opposition the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the third most popular party the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).

South Africa is undergoing a harsh economic period with a technical recession, high fuel prices and low job growth. The ANC under the leadership of South African president Cyril Ramaphosa has made strives to alleviate these pressure by holding a successful investment conferences, campaigning for international investment and obtaining loans from China and the New Development bank.

Even though the ANC is inspiring business confidence, average South African citizens are worried about inflation and employment prospects from themselves and their family and whether this new business confidence will translate.

The DA leader, Mmusi Maimane has put job creation education and accountable government as their key campaign pledges.The Democratic Alliance as also promised to maximize on service delivery.  The DA problem now may lie in South African president Cyril Ramaphosa who brought a new euphoria to the ruling party. Previously the DA gained voters due to ANC corruption scandals, now the DA will have to prove substantially to the electret that they can do better than the ANC.   

The EFF has been gaining ground in the university institutions banking on the youth vote to gain in the poll numbers, as well as put land reform at the forefront of their campaign strategy. The EFF is hoping to shake up the status quo regarding land and land ownership.

The next elections may come down to which political party is most likely to deliver on jobs or which party the people believe can deliver. Key on people’s mind is the unemployment rate and  the standard of living for the average citizen.

 

By Mokgethi Mtezuka