Indian Elections: Modi claims victory for BJP

After seven weeks long and seven phases the India election which started on 11 April, has finally come to a close. Prime Minister Narendra Modi garnered a landslide victory securing he and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) another term – vote counting is on-going.

According to The guardian, the BJP amassed 290 seats. The BJP is expected to gain almost 300 seats out 542 in congress which is up from their previous result in 2014 of 282 seats.

A new five year term for Modi and an endorsement of his policies means that he has more breathing space and stronger mandate to enact policies unable in his previous term.

Modi also promised to unity India after elections, the second most populous country in the world is not without its divisions.  In terms of foreign policy, Modi will now the tackle the tension with Pakistan and  resolve its issues with the US over Iranian oil and Russia weapons purchases.

 

By Mokgethi Mtezuka

Brazil announces plans to drop WTO sugar case against China

“Brazil and China have reached an understanding regarding the consultations made at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on sugar,” Brazil’s Foreign Affairs and Agriculture ministries said in a statement, on Tuesday.

READ MORE:Brazil’s Vice President’s Visit To China

Brazil opened a case last year, questioning China’s anti-dumping tariffs on sugar. The Brazilian government sought the panel at the WTO investigate China’s sugar trade policies. The policy reduced Brazil’s sugar sales to the Asian nation – China used to be one of its top clients.

READ MORE: NDB President And Vice-President Of Brazil Meet

Brazil said without elaborating that, “there will be no need for the implementation of a panel at the WTO”.

 

Source: Reuters

US companies fear retaliation from China after Huawei Ban.

A trade lobby group representing American companies in China has real concerns that china will retaliate to the US ban on Huawei. China so far has retaliated to all US sanctions, tariffs or aggravations in a similar fashion.

The ban not only affects Huawei’s ability to access Android services which is mainly software, but will limit its access to US hardware tech companies as well. This creates problems not only for Huawei but for US tech companies who could lose Huawei’s business and may never regain it again.

China also has a number of measures which it could implement to restrict US companies which operate or are reliant on Chinese companies. The US-China trade war only seems to be escalating as now the US is willing to use Chinese corporations as leverage to gain an upper hand.

By Mokgethi Mtezuka

NDB President And Vice-President Of Brazil Meet In Shanghai, Discuss Bank’s Strategy And Operations In Brazil

( Xangai – China, 20/05/2019) Vice-Presidente da República, Hamilton Mourão, durante Encontro com o Presidente e a nova diretoria do Novo Banco de Desenvolvimento (NDB) Foto: Adnilton Farias / VPR

Strengthening the New Development Bank’s strategy and its operations in Brazil was the main focus of discussion between Mr. K.V. Kamath, the NDB President and Gen. Hamilton Mourão, the Vice-President of Brazil during their meeting on 20 May 2019. The meeting was held at the Bank’s office in Shanghai, during the official visit of the Vice-President to the People’s Republic of China.

“The NDB is a 21st century bank, designed to provide the necessary financial support to emerging economies. We welcome the upcoming inauguration of the NDB Americas Regional Office, based in São Paulo, with a branch in Brasília. Such Office will allow the NDB to become more familiar with the Brazilian business culture and regulatory environment, thus contributing to our efforts to foster investment in infrastructure and sustainable development,” said Gen. Hamilton Mourão.

Mr. K.V. Kamath briefed Gen. Hamilton Mourão on the progress of the NDB, including the growth of the Bank’s portfolio of approved projects.

“It’s a privilege to host Gen. Hamilton Mourão in NDB’s Headquarters. The NDB is fully committed to supporting Brazil’s agenda of infrastructure investments as formulated by the Brazilian Government with a greater participation of the private sector, in line with the Bank’s mandate of mobilizing resources for infrastructure and sustainable development. We are looking forward to opening the Bank’s Americas Regional Office later this year, which will play an important role in project identification and preparation,” said Mr. K.V. Kamath

 

RELEASED BY: NEW DEVELOPMENT BANK (NDB) 

Deputy Minister Landers to lead the South African delegation to the 109th Session of the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP)

The Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Mr Luwellyn Landers, will lead the South African delegation to the 109th Session of the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Council of Ministers and the 44th Session of the ACP-European Union Council of Ministers, scheduled to take place from 21–24 May 2019 in Brussels, Belgium.

One of the key issues for discussion at the Ministerial meetings is the status of the post-Cotonou negotiations, given that the existing agreement between the ACP and the EU will expire on 29 February 2020. Discussions on the regional protocols (Africa-EU, Caribbean-EU and Pacific-EU) commenced earlier this year, following the December 2018 decision of the 108th Council of Ministers that the post-2020 agreement shall comprise a foundation plus three regional protocols.

African Regional Consultations were hosted by Eswatini, in its capacity as the Chair of the African Central Negotiating Group, in Ezulwini on 3 May 2019. African Ministers, supported by technical teams from the African Union, agreed on a draft framework agreement for the African Regional Protocol and negotiations with the EU are expected to commence in Brussels shortly.

In addition to the post-Cotonou negotiations, the ACP is also in the process of carving a new vision, mission and mandate, through a revision of its founding document, the Georgetown Agreement. The 109th Ministerial will consider a draft revised agreement incorporating input from Member States.

As South Africa is serving in the sub-committee on Development Finance and Intra-ACP Programming for the period 1 February 2019-31 January 2020, the South African delegation will also participate in the ACP and ACP-EU Ministerial meetings on Development Finance.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

The US-China Trade War forecasted to get worse

The US-China trade war is “going to get worse before it gets better,” an expert said on Tuesday.

US President Donald Trump announced that he would increase tariffs on $200 billion in goods from 10% to 25%. China responded by upping the tariffs on $60 billion of U.S. goods. The relations between the two countries are on a decline – trade talks between the US and China stopped abruptly.

American multinational technology company that specializes in Internet-related services and products, Google revoked Huawei’s operating license for its Android devices, a source familiar with the matter said on Sunday – Googles decision is believed not to be separate from the trade war.

READ MORE:Google cuts Huawei’s access to androids licencing

 

Additional reporting: CNBC

By: Kgothatso Nkanyane

The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) make plans for digital currency

South_African_Reserve_Bank_logo

SARB is looking in to the development of creating a digital currency which will be backed by the Rand; they have plans to test out at least three different types of currency models and launch it year. SARB is also looking into finding vendors and seeing if it’s feasible and viable.

SARB has been conducting research in to electronic legal tender (ELT) since 2016, as to better understand its implications and to keep up with global trends. The South African Central Bank will issue the digital currency which will be backed by the SARB and South African Government.

Thus far SARB has only dipped their toes in to digital currency to better their understanding, the next stage will be the application of what they’ve learned so far, they have already identify potential test areas they would like to pursue.

Source: businesstech.co.za

Google cuts Huawei’s access to androids licencing

The US-China trade war is escalating and Chinese telecommunication giant Huawei has now become a casualty to the US technology trade ban with China. Alphabet the parent company of Google has suspended Huawei’s smart phone division from accessing Android services.

Android which is also owned by Google will be restricted its service licence from Huawei which could have big implications in the future of the smart phones manufacture as well as future phone revenues. Google has stated that the restrictions are in line with US government policy imposed on Chinese technology companies.

The reason for the technology ban is because of China’s alleged abuse of US intellectual property. For consumers of Huawei smart phones this means that future updates of their android software may be disable, Huawei will still have access to Android Open Source Project (AOSP) licence to develop its software.

The AOSP licence does not encompass applications such as Gmail, YouTube, and the Chrome browser according to businesstech.co.za; these applications require a commercial agreement with Google.

By Mokgethi Mtezuka

China retaliates to US trade tariffs

Beijing has responded to the US increase in tariffs on Chinese goods of $200 Billion with their own tariff of $60 billion on US exports. There was hope that the US and China would find a way to reconcile before the trade war deepens and becomes a crisis.

These new tariffs do not show positive prospects for the coming days, with the US also expecting to put new duties on all Chinese goods entering the US valued about $300 billion, as reported by edition.cnn.com. China media has also promised that China will survive its trade war.

China believes that US President Donald Trump is the only reason for this trade war and that one man has brought the US and China under great risk and uncertainty. At the moment neither the US and China  look to be ready to surrender – this could result in  further escalation of the trade tensions.

By Mokgethi Mtezuka

How BRICS can use AI to lead in the 21st century

In October 2017, Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev took part in an online conference with people in China. During the conference, one of the participants asked what China-Russia ties would look like in 2050.

Medvedev’s response did not make headlines. It should have – because he talked almost entirely about artificial intelligence (AI). Several months later, in May 2018, a similar development took place.

Following a trip to China by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, China and India launched an AI corridor, boosting co-operation between Indian software companies and Chinese firms in high-tech manufacturing and information technology projects.

As with Russia, this development did not make headlines. In June 2017, a Sino-India standoff occurred over disputed territory near the three-way border between India, its ally By Abishur Prakash

How BRICS can use AI to lead in the 21st century Bhutan, and China. The dispute lasted a few months and nearly led to war. Then, in an effort to “reset” or mend ties, India and China turned to AI.

A few months after this, in July 2018, at the 10th BRICS Summit held in Johannesburg, a memorandum of understanding was introduced to bolster co-operation on the Fourth Industrial Revolution, also known as “Industry 4.0”.

As AI and robotics create new opportunities and challenges, BRICS member states are starting to look to each other for support. The writing is on the wall for anyone paying attention. BRICS, a grouping of nations that represent 25% of the global economy, is looking to AI for its future.

For now, AI is being used to strengthen ties between members. But in the future, BRICS could go beyond this. The bloc could start using AI to redefine and restructure geopolitics – a move that could take the world in brand new directions.

Full Article in BRICS Journal Issue 7