Russia to train Indian Astronauts for Gaganyaan at its Space Centre

India is planning on launching its first manned space mission the Gaganyaan in 2022 and Russia may be aiding in training  astronauts.  Indian and Russian cooperation in the space sector has been going for almost four-decades.

This will just further expand Russia and India’s relations. Moving into a new scope between India and Russia, strengthening ties is also a priority and will be on the agenda when India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets President Vladimir Putin for the annual bilateral summit this Friday.

At the annual bilateral summit 10 agreements in the sectors of hydrocarbon, transport, agriculture and nuclear energy, besides defense are expected to be signed. The Indian astronauts are expected to be trained by the Russian space agency at the home of Russian cosmonauts, Star City near Moscow.

The crew of Gaganyaan may also be taken to the International Space Station (ISS). The two the countries are also planning on working together to build ground stations for Glonass, the global positioning system of Russia, and Navic, India’s home-grown GPS, according to the people cited earlier.



Putin expected to talk military cooperation with India

Russian President, Vladimir Putin will be visiting India in this week. According to Kremlin as reported by Reuters, Putin will be discussing military cooperation. Kremlin did not specify whether the possible sale of S-400 surface air missiles was on the agenda.

Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin spokesperson when questioned if the President will talk the possibility of the S-400, did not comment. Peskov just emphasised that military cooperation was on the agenda. The spokesperson did not provide further details.

Russia said in April it expected to sign a deal with India this year on the sale of the S-400.


Source: Reuters

France PM to visit South Africa

France Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe will be visiting the Republic of South Africa to hold talks with the country’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa.

The French Prime Minister will meet with Ramaphosa and SA deputy president, David Mabusa on Thursday. The leaders will hold talks on “shared economic and international interest and preside over signing a number of bilateral agreements” reports The Citizen.

Philippe will later on Thursday address the South African French Business Forum in Johannesburg. The PM will be briefing investors on changes in France, where the country’s is implementing pro-business reforms and seeking to make the labour market more flexible.

The French Prime Minister will travel to Cape Town where is he expected to handover digitised sound archives of the Rivonia Trial, which were restored by the French National Audio-visual Institute, to South African authorities.


Source: The Citizen

Russia closes 93 prisons due to a decrease in the number of prisoners

The Russian Deputy Minister of Justice, Valery Maksimenko announced that there has been a decrease in the number of prisoners throughout the country; this has led to 93 prisons closing in the last seven years.

 Minister Maksimenko said: “because of changes in the crime-related policy of the state, the number of inmates in various penal institutions in our country has dropped by more than 200,000 since the year 2000 and today it amounts to 484,000,”

In the recent month, the Russian prison system has been faced with a lot of criticism lately from civil rights activists and politicians. Maksimenko used the criticism and the decease in the number of inmates as a reason to improve the current national prison system.

 One of the changes in the system is allowing the inmates to serve their sentence in prisons closer to their homes. The closed prisons are in regions that are mostly isolated and hard to reach. Maksimenko also stated that he will decrease the number of officers in the administration.

(Source: RT)

India explore ways of improving relations with Nigeria

India says it is looking into ways of improving relations with Nigeria, 2018 marks 60 years of bilateral relation between the countries says India’s high commissioner to Nigeria.  Reddy said this on the side line on discussions of India-Nigeria relations in Abuja on Thursday.

The High Commissioner said that “relations between both countries would be defined by a progressive agenda that is guided by the 10 principles on India-Africa relations recently announced by his government”.

The trade between the countries was in favour of the African state with a volume of $12 billion, said Reddy.

Reddy said “in this context, the priorities which we will like to set out of these 10 guiding principles are agriculture, in this how to address climate change, how to collectively fight the scourge of terrorism, create employment and enhance investments.

“The focus will also be to engage the two countries so that the priorities of the countries are considered and we have also talked about how Indian markets will be open for more goods coming from Africa.”

Reddy said, “at the cusp of 60 years of engagement between India and Nigeria, we have developed a unique connect in diverse areas: diversity, democratic, demographic, development, defense, trade, energy, business, agriculture, medical, education and people-to-people connect.”


Source: The eagle online

May and Ramaphosa tighten partnership

During her first premiership visit to South Africa this week, Prime Minister of Britain, Theresa May met with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to discuss plans to strengthen the relationship between the two nations.

This visit kicked off her three-African-country tour. Her next stops are Nigeria and Kenya.

The United Kingdom has been one of the largest global trade partners to South Africa; a 2017 reports shows the UK as the 6th largest partner with a total trade at R79.5 billion. In terms of export, Britain in 2017 was number 8 with R46.3 billion worth of SA goods. Over the years, the UK has been a key tourism source for South Africa, with an estimated 448 000 visitors recorded to have visited South Africa last year. Ramaphosa and May used the state visit to renew their commitment to each other and tighten the partnership between the two countries.

The conversation between the two heads of states also involved identifying key areas of investment that will help boost economic growth and development. Ramaphosa after talks with the UK leader stated: “We have noted with great satisfaction the strong relationship between South Africa and the United Kingdom in wide-ranging areas of co-operation including energy, science and technology, education, health, arts and culture.” The key sectors identified included manufacturing, agro-processing, infrastructure development, mining, energy and tourism.

(Additional Reporting: African News Agency)

Moscow set to host BRICS international school

Russia will be hosting the BRICS international school from 27 – 31 August 2018, organised by the Russian National committee on BRICS research in collaboration with the Alexandra Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund.

The school presents a distinctive opportunity for training young specialists in the field of studying BRICS politics, economics and humanitarian issues. The scientific and educational program also seeks to trainin areas of interaction between the five countries.

Approximately 35 diplomats, practitioners, young scientists, journalists, students and graduates from Russia, Brazil, India, China, South Africa, CIS countries, Europe and Asia are expected to attend. Participants of the school will be offered lectures from international experts on BRICS issues.

The program is aimed at developing communication skills and broadening professional horizons. On the agenda will be specifics of BRICS cooperation, BRICS position on the global arena and prospects of institutionalisation.

The international school is a first for Russia; China has hosted similar education meetings between members of the bloc. The Shanghai summer program has been in existence since 2014 and has seen attendance of undergraduate and postgraduate students from BRICS member countries. The month-long program as per recent news reports hasseen an increase in attendance.  China hosted the program from 12 July – 7 August 2018.

By: Kgothatso Nkanyane

Alibaba Business School launches “Global E-commerce Talent” program in Rwanda

This week in Rwanda, Alibaba Business School launched its Global E-commerce Talent (GET) program for the country’s university teachers, and in partnership with Rwanda’s Higher Education Council and the Rwanda Development Board. This marks the first time GET is offered in Africa, and is the first piece of a broader cooperation to bring the Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP) initiative to Rwanda. 

The GET program is part of the commitment that Jack Ma, Alibaba’s Executive Chairman, made upon his first trip to Africa and Rwanda last year to support education and e-commerce in Africa. GET aims to deepen the understanding of the e-commerce industry among Rwandan university teachers, so that they in turn, can train individuals to compete in the digital economy. Fifty lecturers from nine of the country’s top universities attended the weeklong program.

GET’s introduction in Rwanda follows the launch of the Jack Ma Foundation’s “Netpreneur” Prize for African entrepreneurs working to address Africa’s most pressing challenges, as well as Alibaba Business School’s eFounders Fellowship that will train 200 African entrepreneurs to become catalysts for digital transformation. To date, 52 African entrepreneurs from 14 African countries have participated in the Fellowship.

For more information on the GET program in Rwanda, click here.

Supplied by Holly Zhao
International Corporate Affairs, Alibaba Group

African leaders want a share in the BRICS pie

Through the growth of BRICS, we have seen an increase in partnerships between the bloc and emerging economies. At the 2018 BRICS Summit which was held in South Africa in July, the African continent saw inclusivity under the BRICS-Africa Outreach programme. Seven African President were invited to the Summit, as BRICS aimed to reach out to fellow developing and emerging market economies. BRICS leaders interacted with African leaders to find ways on how best they can bring about the “inclusive growth” and “shared prosperity” as per the Summit’s theme.

At the Summit, President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, who is also the Chair of the African Union, emphasised that “strengthening cooperation with BRICS contributes to medium and long-term human security and wider benefits, especially employment, for Africa’s young population.” The AU wants to strengthen its partnership with the BRICS countries and Kagame stated that the goals of the partnership will be to collaborate on key sectors like industrialisation, infrastructure, peace and security; which are of importance on the African Union agenda for 2063.

Malawian President Peter Matharika agreed with President Kagame, stating that the BRICS New Development Bank is a key that will ensure that the Malawi infrastructure master plan will be possible. The President commended South Africa for including African countries with the Summit’s African Outreach. Many African countries need structures that will ensure that the interest of developing and emerging economies are put ahead in global economies.

In his view, Namibian President Hage Geingob added that Africa is counting on the support of BRICS, in order overcome its many challenges. He said: “Africa has strong, trusted and reliable partners. In our endeavours to move forward, we need partners to support Africa.”

The BRICS and Africa partnership comes to Zimbabwe at an important time for their country, as the country looks at redevelopment. The new Zimbabwean President, Emmerson Mnangagwa took the partnership to fast-track their plans to develop “infrastructure, mining, agro-processing, light to heavy manufacturing, ICTs and financial sector.”

The BRICS countries have been Zimbabwe’s biggest allies in recent years, with China being the biggest investor in Zimbabwe, Russia commissioning a multi-million-dollar mining project, Brazil supporting agricultural reform in the country and South Africa being the biggest trade partner.

African leaders at the BRICS summit all indicated that the partnership brings practical development plans for African countries, as Gabonese President and chairperson of the Economic Community of Central African States, Ali Bongo Ondimba, said: “Resources are here, potential is here. We are ready to engage in a win-win partnership with BRICS. We have been shown the way, let’s sit down and talk for the good of our future and our children.”

By Ntsikelelo Kuse

Putin praises solid ties with China

According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, China and Russia’s relationship has been developing in a positive, mutually beneficial direction, thanks to the efforts of both governments.

Putin met with Yang Jiechi, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee.

Putin stressed the importance of the bilateral relationship to both countries as well as to the world.

Jiechisays that 2018 marks a milestone for the development of Sino-Russian ties.

Putin and China’s President, Xi Jinping met twice this yearand exchanged guidelines to the direction of future bilateral relations.

The Chinese government plans to work together with Russia to convert the agreements made by the leaders.

Putin said the Russian government will continue to engage in strategic communication with China and closely cooperate on global and regional issues.

“I met President Xi Jinping last month. We exchanged opinions on our bilateral relations and on international issues during the BRICS Summit, and reached important new agreements,” Putin said.

In June, the two leaders met in Beijing during Putin’s state visit to China, during which Jinping described the Sino-Russian comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination as “mature, stable and solid”.

“I look forward to meeting with President Xi again,” Putin added.

Source:China Daily