Women-in-BRICS: Russia Female Entrepreneur in India

It would be a mistake to think that the concept of housewife does not exist in Russia, but it is far from being a major trend. In India, Russian women married to Indians most often become housewives, especially at the initial stage of adjusting to a new life.

However, a growing number of them are finding corporate jobs, getting involved in part-time projects or working with non-governmental organisations (NGOs). A few Russian wives are even running their own businesses, inspiring others to be brave and daring too.


Her day starts with laundry. Dozens of bed sheets and towels are transported from her salon to her home, before being taken for bleaching, cleaning and drying. The same procedure has been followed every single day for the past five years. “I want to be sure that hygiene standards are met,” says Yuliya Pednekar, the owner of Oracle Salon in the Mumbai suburb of Malad. “This is something I cannot compromise on.”

It took Pednekar a long time to pluck up the courage to open her own business after coming to Mumbai from Almaty, Kazakhstan, with her Indian husband in 1997. A graduate in hospitality management, she kept searching for opportunities and finally got into the beauty sector, first as a make-up artist and then as a hairstylist.

“I didn’t have any education or training as a hairstylist when the manager, Lakme, offered me the job. The staff convinced me that I’d manage,” she recalls. “Well, I messed up a couple of times initially, but I believe that my innate sense of aesthetics helped me a lot.”

After six months of working for Lakme, Pednekar felt that she needed to perfect her newly acquired skills and went to Kazakhstan to study hairdressing. Not only did her education open up new opportunities on her return to India, it also instilled in her greater self-confidence.

Over the past few years, she has obtained the international CIDESCO and CIBTAC certificates – both prestigious qualifications in the aesthetics and beauty therapy industries. “My aim was to be independent from my husband, financially and practically – and to realise my potential, skills, talents and knowledge,” Pednekar says.

Today she manages a salon, leading a team of five beauticians. Although her husband is a proprietor of the company on paper, he hardly interferes in her business. “He deals with all paperwork, taxes and formalities, of course. With my artistic personality and chaotic work style, I would not be able to do such work,” she says.

 “There are other elements that disturb business too, from Mumbai’s municipal officials to quasi-mafia representatives collecting funds for religious festivals and political parties. I’ve learned how to deal with them with the help of my husband.”

Being a foreigner does not make it harder for Pednekar to run her business. Since she’s fluent in Marathi and Hindi, she manages her employees and customers with great ease. “Sometimes people are confused seeing a firangi (foreigner), but the moment you relate to them by discussing kids or Punjabi outfits, they accept you,” she says.

Pednekar believes that for the many young girls she employs, this work offers a different experience. “They feel safe and relaxed here, they explore the world through interacting with people,” she says. “I respect them and trust them. Although I know that bosses should behave differently, I just cannot.”

full article in BRICS Journal’s 6th Issue

China launches emergency farm inspections following swine fever outbreak

China’s Liaoning province plans to increase inspections at pig farms and markets and strengthen the monitoring of hog transportation. This comes after the first African swine fever case was reported in China.

According to an official from Liaoning Provincial Bureau of Animal Health and Production, the African swine fever outbreak poses a major threat to the hog farming industry in the province and the country.

The provincial government has asked local authorities to launch emergency inspections at all pig farms, hog markets, slaughterhouses and harmless treatment sites in the province.

Citizens are advised to report cases of pig deaths due to unknown reasons, and immune failure among pigs after receiving swine fever vaccines.

The Liaoning province ordered the temporary closure of all live hog markets and slaughterhouses in Shenbei district, where the outbreak was discovered.

The animal health bureau official said hogs and products in Shenyang can only be distributed within the city, while those transported from outside must go through strict quarantine.

The case in Liaoning, the first in East Asia, has fuelled concern about its spread in China, which has the world’s largest pig herd, and possibly to neighbouring countries in Asia.

Japan has suspended imports of heat-treated Chinese pork and tightened quarantine operations at airport and seaports, following the outbreak.

Source: Liaoning Daily

100 Men March against women and children violence


The 100 Men March that took place in Pretoria on Tuesday was a call to action by women’s rights groups, religious society, the police and government officials. The march started in Church Square and ended at the Union Builds with the signing of a pledge and the lighting of a torch.


The goal of the march was to make men aware of the responsibility to prevent violence against women and children, to help in making sure women and children feel safe again, feel safe to be in the cities, to use public transport, at home and to feel safe around men.




A strong ANC contingent was also present at the March with the slogan #TumaMina as a rally cry for men to stand up against violence. Police Minister Bheki Cele, Minister of Communication Nomvula Mokonyane and Minister of Social development Bathabile Dlaminirepresented government.

Many religious leaders and rights groups have called for the #100MenMarch to be an annual event for as long as the scourge of women and child abuse continues. A pledge to end violence against women and children was signed, which states “Change begins with me, and I can motivate others to end violence against women and children”.


All the signee’s pledged: “to help break the culture of silence that accompanies violence and abuse, not to commit violence, and to act when I see violence against women and children and to teach those in my care the values of human dignity, equality and respect”.



South African Police trainees also marched to the Union Buildings, and were told to never turn away abused women and children. Total Shut Down, a women and gender equality rights group spoke vehemently about the lack of statistics and accountability in the police force regarding the protection of protect women, children, LGBQ and transgender people.



By MokgethiMtezuka

Dr Judy Dlamini and Dr Zanelle Mngadi vie for first black female chancellor of Wits

University of the Witwatersrand has confirmed that Dr Judy Dlamini and Dr Zanelle Mngadi have emerged as the candidates to replace former chief justice Dikgang Moseneke. 

The announcement comes after the university made a call for nominations to fill the chancellor vacancy in April 2018.

The Director of alumni relations at Wits, Peter Maher said: “Of the two candidates‚ it is guaranteed that one will be the next chancellor”.

Moseneke’s term ends in November this year, and the university hopes to fill the position before then.

Head of Communications at the university, Shirona Patel and the Director Maher confirmed that around 160‚000 graduates‚ full-time academic stuff‚ and retired academics with 10 consecutive years of service with the university‚ make up the university’s largest statutory body of persons eligible to participate in the election process.

Dlamini is a businesswoman‚ entrepreneur‚ author and philanthropist. She holds an MBChB (Natal)‚ DOH (UFS)‚ MBA (Wits) and DBL (Unisa).

Mngadi is an academic and renowned turn-around strategist. Her qualifications include: a BComm (Hons), an LLB, MCom‚ MBA and PhD.

Source: businesslive

#TravelTuesday : Claim To Fame

Brazil is home to the biggest carnival in the world, and the Rio Carnival sees over 2-million people per day on the city’s streets. www.festivalsherpa.com

Russia is home to the world’s longest rail journey – the Trans-Siberian. It starts in Moscow and ends in Vladivostok, with the train crossing several time zones. In addition to the endless birch forests of Siberia, the scenery includes the Ural Mountains and Lake Baikal, the largest freshwater lake in the world. Distance 5,753 miles while duration is in six days. www.telegraph.co.uk/travel

India has the largest postal network in the world with over 155, 015 post offices. A single post office on average serves a population of 7,175 people. The country is also home to the world’s only floating post office, which has been operating in Dal Lake, Srinagar since August 2011. www.india.com 

China is where toilet paper was invented, with simple but much-needed product’s origins dating back to the pre-1300s, when it was exclusively for the emperor’s use. www.factretriever.com

South Africa is home to the world’s largest bird (ostrich), largest mammal (bull elephant), smallest mammal (dwarf shrew), largest reptile (leatherback sea turtle : 1,500 pounds), largest earthworm (African giant earthworm), fastest animal (cheetah ), tallest animal (giraffe) and the largest fish (whale shark). https://everything-everywhere.com 



Celebrating Africa Day: African Union Agenda 2063

Africa Day is the annual commemoration of the formation of the African Union which was then known as the Organisation of African Unity. The Union was formed by thirty African nations on the 25th May 1963, with the aim of working together to encourage the decolonisation of African countries still colonized. The Union vowed to assist the work of freedom fighters and remove military access to the colonised nations. The day was named African Liberation day but when the African Union replaced the Organisation of African Unity in 2002, the day was renamed Africa Day.

Africa Day continues to be celebrated both in Africa and around the world on the 25th of May, marking the significance of Africa’s identity and unity. The theme for this year is African Union Agenda 2063, with focus on Combating Corruption across African States.


By: Ntsikelelo Kuse

WCW: Remarkable African women in Politics & Economics

The last few years has seen a slow but steady shift of political and economic power. We’ve highlighted these five phenomenal African women who are making strides in their respective designations. 

  1. Trudi Makhaya (South Africa) – Economist, entrepreneur and writer who was recently appointed to be South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s economic advisor. Makhaya’s duties include coordinating the work of investment envoys as they travel the world in a bid to attract at least $100-billion (R1.2-trillion) in new foreign direct investment to the economy over the next five years.
  2. Bience Gawanas (Namibia) – was recently appointed by the United Unions Secretary General António Guterres as a new female Special Advisor on Africa. Gawandas who is currently the Special Advisor to Namibia’s Minister of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare has also served as Special Advisor on health, social affairs and poverty in Namibia and is known as a champion of women’s health and rights on the continent.
  3. NneNne Iwuji-Ewe (Mozambique) – She became the United Kingdom’s first female ambassador. She spent 16 years in the British Foreign Office and will take up her role as British high commissioner to Mozambique, taking over from Joanna Kuenssberg.
  4. Bogolo Kenewendi (Botswana) – She is the youngest minister in Botswana’s parliament. She first joined parliament in 2016 as an elected MP by former president Ian Khama, and she is now the Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry. Her appointment has received a lot of praise as most political positions are given to older people.
  5. Obiageli Ezekwesili (Nigeria) – is Senior Economic Advisor to the Africa Economic Development Policy Initiative. She was a co-founder of Transparency International, serving as one of the pioneer directors of the global anti-corruption body based in Berlin, Germany.


Chinese automakers thrive in South Africa by meeting local needs

By Lu Anqi | NO. 47 NOVEMBER 24, 2016

In its spacious showroom in Isando, a small town northeast of Johannesburg, Chinese automaker FAW Group displays its most popular vehicle models assembled in its plant in Port Elizabeth, one of South Africa’s largest cities, located east of Cape Town.

“It’s called the J5,” Ngoni Chaitwa said, pointing at a large white truck. “It can pull a trailer with a load of up to 34 tons. We call it ‘Beautiful Africa’ because it is doing very well in Africa.”

Chaitwa, a salesman with the company for three years, said FAW vehicles are doing well in the market because they are reasonably priced and most importantly, made in South Africa. This makes having access to spare parts and maintenance much easier.

Pioneer footprints
With the deepening of China-Africa cooperation, Chinese automakers have begun setting up factories in Africa, turning the dream of “Made in Africa for Africa” into a reality.

As a pioneer Chinese automaker, FAW’s journey to Africa began in the 1970s when its vehicles were used in the construction of the Tanzania-Zambia Railway. “The demand has kept rising ever since,” said Hao Jianyu, Deputy CEO of FAW South Africa. “We are probably the first Chinese brand to have set foot on the continent.”

According to Hao, FAW started selling and shipping trucks to South Africa in 1994 and 10 years later established an assembly plant with an annual producing capacity of 5,000 trucks in the Coega Industrial Development Zone outside Port Elizabeth. The total investment in 2004 stood at $80 million.
“The launch has proved to be a big step forward in FAW’s localisation,” Hao said. “People know that we invest here and are determined to ‘take root’ in Africa, so they have confidence in us. Our market share has witnessed continuous growth since 2013, rising from the 0.9 percent growth rate then to 4.2 percent in the first three quarters of 2016, despite the weak market demand resulting from the global economic downturn.”

In 2015, the Coega plant produced 1,000 vehicles, mainly sold in South Africa. In 2016, the target is between 1,200 and 1,300.

Hao attributed the growth also to the fact that Chinese automakers have become better known and are adapting to local needs. FAW South Africa has 28 dealers in the country and more than 100 on the continent. It is building sales and after-sales networks to expand business and improve service.

This article first appeared on Beijing Review. Beijing Review is China’s only national English weekly news magazine published in Beijing by the China International Publishing Group (CIPG). 

Growing your business in India


It’s the fastest growing democracy in BRICS countries. More and more global companies are working on expanding within India, which is home to a fifth of the global population. But it’s a high-patience game that requires you to follow a golden global rule: respect for a local way of doing business.

India offers a very large and long-term market with more than 50% of its population below the age of 25 and more than 65% below the age of 35


3 reasons India’s the most attractive market right now

  1. Of all listed companies in India, 67% are family businesses and the majority of them are still run in a traditional setup. Most of these are in the manufacturing of general products and trading commodities.
  2. With the economic policies getting more liberal and foreign direct investment (FDI) being permitted in the majority of the sectors, many traditional businesses are facing tough competition due to limited finances and an ecosystem less conducive for research and development (R&D).
  3. The cost of capital in India is high and profit margins are shrinking, so it’s essential that businesses create real value propositions for their sustenance and profitability. While India is a large, execution-based market, those with strong ideas and a willingness to collaborate will flourish. This opens up new opportunities for companies from around the globe to enter the market.



If you’re looking at expanding in the Indian market, it is important to dwell deeper into these points:


Choose the right business partners

You need to bank upon the wisdom of a local expert to help you drive your business with the resources they already possess. Finding a partner whose vision is aligned with yours is important. Before entering into any agreement, invest in proper due diligence – it can save you time and money.

Have faith in your Indian partner. Indians are usually trustworthy and born accustomed to the challenges of doing business. They do not too much interference when it comes to decision making, but at the same time are receptive to suggestions and changes, if it is for the benefit of the business.


Raise strategic investments

This model is very helpful for startups or mid-size companies which have unique technologies, but don’t have access to the capital necessary for expansion. Finding local partners, who have access to customers, to invest in the business is ideal. Many large Indian corporations like Reliance Industries, Adani Group and Infosys are actively scouting to invest in companies strategically aligned to their businesses.

Indian software giant Infosys recently made investments in Israeli startup CloudEndure – a cloud-based migration and disaster recovery service – and Silicon Valley-based data analytics startup Trifacta, with a view to increasing their value offering to their existing customers.

Read more on BRICS JOURNAL