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

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

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

President Ramaphosa undertakes Working Visit to Arab Republic of Egypt

President Cyril Ramaphosa has today, 22 April 2019 departed South Africa to undertake a Working Visit to the Arab Republic of Egypt to attend an emergency African Union (AU) Troika Summit convened to discuss the political and security situations in the Republic of Sudan and Libya.

President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi has called the Emergency Summit in his capacity as Chairman of the African Union. The AU Troika consists of Egypt current Chair; South Africa incoming Chair and Rwanda outgoing Chair. The Summit will also be attended by the AU Commission Chairperson, Mr Moussa Mahamat Faki who is expected to report on the AU initiatives undertaken to resolve these crises. Mr Faki has just concluded a visit to Sudan.

South Africa is serving as non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for the period 2019-2020 and these political and security challenges in Libya and Sudan are already before the UN Security Council.

President Ramaphosa has prioritised regional and continental peace, stability, security and integration and development and will attend the Emergency Summit to contribute towards the African Union’s stated goal of silencing the guns by 2020.

The President will be accompanied by Ministers of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu, Defence and Military Veterans, Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and State Security, Ms Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba.

Minister Sisulu to brief media on the Ministerial Review Panel final report

The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu, on wednesday  received a final report from the Ministerial Review Panel on its review of South Africa’s foreign policy.

Minister Sisulu appointed the Review Panel in 2018 to make an in-depth evaluation of the country’s foreign policies, including reviewing the strengths, weaknesses and possible gaps of the existing policies as well as their implementation.

The Minister will be joined by the Deputy Ministers of International Relations and Cooperation, Mr Luwellyn Landers and Ms Reginah Mhaule, as well as members of the Review Panel.

 

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

Preview of the South African Elections

The South African general elections will be taking place 8 May 2019 and the election according to polls is widely expected to be dominated the current ruling party the African National Congress (ANC), with president Cyril Ramaphosa expected to get a new term with a new mandate.

The ANC in its manifesto promised its own land forms, capable honest government and a growing economy.Pledged with corruption allegations on multiple party members this year’s election may be toughest the party has had to face since 1994.

There are 3 other opposition parties which will be looking to cut the ANC voter share, those being the Democratic Alliance (DA) lead Mmusi Maimane which is also the official opposition party which has promise to stop corruption and bring good governance to South Africa.

Third in the running is the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) lead by Julius Malema which has pledged to bring land reform, job opportunities, prosperity and dignity for South Africans. The party is seen as the radical option for voters but is widely popular with South African youth.

The fourth main opposition party is the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) lead by Mangosuthu Buthelezi 90 year old and will be looking to maintain its long standing party position in parliament with its “Trust Us” campaign slogan. The IFP has promise to lower crime rates, create jobs and put education first.

By Mokgethi Mtezuka

French President Macron plans tax cut to end yellow jacket movement

 (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP) (Photo credit should read CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP/Getty Images)

President Emmanuel Macron held multiple town hall meetings in order to address the growing social unrest of the French people in the form of the Yellow Jacket Movement. They have been protesting Macron’s reforms and calling for him to resign.

After holding 10,000 meetings the French president came to a conclusion that the main reason for the ongoing protest was France’s very high tax rate which is rated to be the highest among developed countries, according to bbc.com.

The reduction in tax may come at the expense of social welfare, as France is also the one of the highest in social spending among developed countries – 46.2% of national output (GDP) from tax revenue and with social welfare spending of 31.2% of GDP in 2018.

 

Source: bbc.com

 

 

100 days of Bolsonaro’s Presidency – wins, struggles & blunders

Elected with 55.1% on October 2018 and officially sworn in as the President of the Republic of Brazil, succeeding Michael Temer, on 1 January 2019—Bolsonaro is a day away from reaching  100 days in office. With 99 days in office, Bolsonaro’s Presidency has had few wins, struggles, and blunders.

The Brazil economy has grown the second year in a row, the country’s trade surplus reached US$ 3,67 billion in February, inflation estimate has reduced and jobs have been added to the economy. The President has attained some of his campaign promises: “he signed a decree easing restrictions on gun ownership as an anti-crime move, privatized some state-run companies, installed a Cabinet with eight members of the military”, reported by Washington Post.

Bolsonaro visited the US in March and during the trip, he declared himself a bold devotee of the US. This trip infuriated most Brazilians, with most taking to Twitter with the #BolsonaroEvergonhaOBrasil – #BolsonaroShamesBrazil. Citizen’s of the Republic accused President Jair Bolsonaro of prejudice, misrepresenting Brazilians and trying to please US President, Donald Trump, which many Brazilians found offensive including members of his base. The hashtag trended across the world. Many cartoons were created showing Bolsonaro as Trump’s pet and subordinate.

Twitter post: @moema4

READ MORE: Trump to designate Brazil as a “Major Non-NATO ally”

The month of March was marked with Bolsonaro’s Presidential visits, it was first the US, followed Chile. The Chile visit sparked controversy, the President praised Chile’s former military dictatorship that led to the first-ever boycott of a presidential visit by influential Chilean politician. This caused in Chile anger and a rare political boycott.

RELATED STORY:Bolsonaro’s official trips spark controversy

The President concluded March with a visit to Israel. Day 2 of the visit Bolsonaro visited the Western wall which caused Palestinians to be angry. Bolsonaro’s plan to move Israel’s capital to Jerusalem angered the Muslims. Recent reports have had the right-wing leader saying he has not changed his mind about moving the capital.

The Bolsonaro Presidency has been marked by insults to adversaries and allies, fighting among his administration and praise for Brazil’s dictatorship (1964 -1985) – Washington Post.

 

By: Kgothatso Nkanyane

BREXIT deadline closes in with deadlock still in place

BREXIT is still at a standstill as Prime Minister Theresa May is weighing her options as to how to pass the  BREXIT deal and avoiding a no deal situation. Some leaders in the EU have stated that a no deal divorce will be seen as the lesser even if May’s deal is not passed by the British Parliament.

May is now holding talks with oppositions Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbin in a new effort to pass her deal which has failed to be passed three times in the British Parliament. There calls for either May to compromise her deal or resign as many believe she no more than sitting duck prime minister now.

The EU has given the United Kingdom (UK) till the 12 April 2019 as the new deadline for BREXIT.  Time is running out for the UK leaders to come to an agreement as a no deal scenario looks to be the most like option if parliamentarians can’t come to an agreement for the British people.

 

By Mokgethi Mtezuka

South Africa’s support for the Saharawi people may hurt Sanlam’s billion dollar deal in Morocco

South African insurance and investment company, Sanlam may have a problem pushing through a billion dollar deal in Morocco. Sanlam is in the process of trying to purchase Saham Finances SA, and it may come in to conflict with the South Africans government support of the Saharawi people.

According to fin24.com Moroccan billionaire Othman Benjelloun spoke out on the deal and said “Sanlam’s acquisition of insurer Saham Finances SA”. He further said that  South Africa has chosen the wrong side in a territorial dispute. The South African government last month hosted the Southern African Development Community (SADC) heads of State meeting which was held to show the regions solidarity with the Saharawi.

Benjelloun is very influential and is the chairperson of Morocco’s BMCE Bank. He also called for South Africa to change strategies with regard to Morocco or the deal will receive no support.

 

Source: fin24.com