BRICS Institutions

The New Development Bank (NDB), based in Shanghai, China has been one of BRICS’ key achievements. The bank was launched in 2014 with the aim of financing infrastructure projects for member states.

BRICS members have articulated that this institution does not seek to compete with traditional international finance institutions, but rather, to complement them.

The bank utilises the model of multilateral development banks. What this means for Africa is that there will be a variety of funding avenues on offer if funding is opened up for non-member countries or if the BRICS Plus outreach is formalised.

Representatives of the African diplomatic community are positive about the bank, saying Africa stands to benefit from a new finance institution as it adds a competitive advantage.

banks and, along with the African Regional Centre, stands to gain and learn from the AfDB. Research undertaken by the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) shows a large amount of interest in the NDB – and, by extension, its regional office – on the part of African leaders.

Identifying and preparing proposals for projects in Africa has met with major bottlenecks. Hence, say SAIIA researchers, “early engagements between Africa and the NDB should include agreements that project preparation goes beyond bankability to the point of integrating those factors that indicate how NDB-funded projects will address and measure poverty alleviation and the empowerment of women”.

find full article in BRICS Journal Print Issue 6

South Africa legalizes the private use of cannabis

The South Africa Constitutional Court made the private use of cannabis legal, yesterday. The court’s confirmed the previous ruling made by the Western Cape High Court in 2017.  The State appealed the Western Cape High Court ruling putting the legal use of cannabis in limbo until yesterday.

The constitutional court’s ruled that, Section 4B of the Drugs Act was unconstitutional and therefore invalid as it prohibits the use and possession of cannabis of an adult in private, for that adult’s personal use in private.  Section 5B of the drugs Act is constitutionally invalid as it prohibits the cultivation of cannabis by an adult in a private place, for that adult personal consumption in private.

The court also ruled that Section 22 A9Ai of the Medicines Act is constitutionally invalid as it renders the use or possession of cannabis by an adult in private for that adult’s personal consumption in private a criminal offence. The basis for these statues being unconstitutional is the fact that they infringes on the right to privacy promised within the constitution.

The constitutional court says that the right to privacy goes beyond the boundaries of a home or a private dwelling and only the use, possession or consumption by an adult in private place for that adult’s personal consumption in private.  No use or possession of cannabis by a child is decriminalized by the court.



China gives SA R375 Billion for recession stimulus package

After it was report that South Africa had fallen into a technical recession last week, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, promise that he would provide a stimulus package to revive the South African economy.

Today it’s been announced China would provide South Africa with R375 Billion to finance the recession stimulus package, improving infrastructure and accelerating industrialization of the country.

Minister of International Relations and Co-operation, Lindiwe Sisulu told the media that if South Africa wasn’t in financial constraints they would have not taken financial aid from China. She also pointed that South Africa needed to elevate the economic pressure and China have made itself available with lessor priced interest rates.

Of the $60 Billion dollars China promised to Africa at the Forum on China–Africa Co-operation last week $15 Billion was reserved for South Africa. President Ramaphosa also acquired another $10 Billion.

Another reason for that Cyril Ramaphosa decides to get financial assistance from China, was because of the lack of a strong enough economic strategy by the economic cluster to boost the economy. Even though China has assisted in the stimulus, South Africa needs a total of R40 Billion to turnaround the economy.


South African government plans to create a Mega City

The Metropolis Annual Meeting will be taking place this week in Gauteng. The aim of the meeting will be to discuss the creation of a mega city consisting of the three biggest metros in Gauteng. The combining of the cities of Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni and Tshwane is estimated to be completed by 2030 and beyond.

This is also part of the South Africa’s National Development Plan vision 2030. Details of the plan include the establishment of new economic hubs, transport networks and the development of industries in different regions.

The first stage of the plan will begin with the extension of the Gautrain services, with 12 new stations in the works that will connect the northern, central, western and eastern parts of the province. The Bus Rapid Transit will also be extended to the townships where there is no coverage.

The second stage of the plan requires the provincial development of a new agricultural opportunities; the expansion of government housing, underdeveloped suburbs and towns; the establishing of a new airport in the West Rand area and the advancing of economic nerve centres in the southern and eastern parts of Gauteng.

The next stage looks at tourism which highlights Magaliesburg and the surrounding areas as a key place for improvement. The end goal of the plan is to have the amalgamation of Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni and Tshwane recognised as a Mega City (similar to that of Toronto and New York), and have Midrand and Centurion become the new financial centre of the province.


Alice Madisha: Creating spaces in the male-dominated market

Meet Alice Madisha, co-founder of Smith and Madisha Construction company that specialises in the completion of construction projects. Smith and Madisha Construction’s clientele ranges from shopping centres, car dealerships, office parks, lobby upgrades and warehouses in the Gauteng province.

The Limpopo-born entrepreneur grew up with the hope of becoming a civil engineer; however her matric results couldn’t help her qualify for university admission for that career path.

Madisha told BRICS Journal that when she went to the University of Johannesburg for self-application, she qualified to do for construction management.

The 31 year-old never planned to fall in love with construction management, saying it is all fate.

She now holds a National Diploma in Building that she obtained from the University of Johannesburg in 2007. Madisha furthered her studies the following year and got her B-tech degree in Construction Management from Tshwane University of Technology.

Before going into business, Madisha was a junior site agent with C-Pro Construction (Pty) Ltd, working in measurement and tendering (2009).

She was then transferred to be a site assistance at Randridge Mall, Victory Park Shopping Centre and Milpark Virgin Active.

During her stint as a quantity surveyor, Madisha with her mentor Jan Smith identified gaps in the industry and establish Smith and Madisha Construction. 

 “The idea of Smith and Madisha came when we were working together at Randridge Mall. We realised that we make a great team.”

The company was founded in 2011 when the two noticed enough room for other participants in the building construction industry. They saw potential for great change.

Madisha and Smith felt like there were not enough opportunities for growth in the company that they worked for.

Today, their company has overseen major projects such as Northmead Square shopping center, community care centre at Ekurhuleni. 

“We’re at a point where we understand one another; he knows that if he can’t see me during the day, it’s because I’m going about company business, and vice versa.”

Madisha has learnt that you can go far with the people whom they trust and those you know will go the extra mile for your wellbeing.  

She adds that women in the industry are usually faced with more resistance than men. Despite the hardships, stereotypes and discrimination she has had to endure, Madisha says her journey has been full of lessons, losses and victories.

“Honestly, I wouldn’t change anything because if I changed those hardships, I was not going to be the person that I am today,” she says.

If she were to have a conversation with her younger self, she would say: “You are doing your best, don’t doubt that you are doing your best.”

Madisha recalls her proudest moments: “I remember when I was at the Randridge Mall, the first mall that we did under the previous company where I met my business partner.

“We had parked our cars there, where it all began.  I was proud to say I was part of this.”

In addition to her construction company, Madisha co-founded a women’s wear safety clothing label called She’s Alice in 2017.

“With She’s Alice, we have seen that women do not have their specific uniform. Throughout the years, we have been wearing clothing designed for men,” she says.

She’s Alice was co-founded by Madisha and Leago Selahle who is in the mining sector.

With both women being passionate about fashion, they realised they have the same challenges in terms of manoeuvring from office to project sites, without having to carry extra safety clothing or compromising style.

“We are planning to venture in doing business in both provinces, because our clients are all over.”

Madisha added that they are currently planning to spread in the market.

 “I want to see She’s Alice as the next clothing for the ladies in this industry. For me, more than anything, I believe that we are creating our own space in the man’s market.”

She is confident that they will find a supply that will produce constant quality. 

Madisha added that being an entrepreneur has taught her great lessons.

“Whatever you don’t understand you have to ask, because every project is different. You cannot say you know everything. You can be in this industry for 25 years and still do something for the first time.


By Ntsiki Ntsibande



Made in China 2025

Made in China is the strategic plan announced in May 2015 by the Chinese government with the purpose of advancing Chinese technology companies and manufacturing. The idea behind Made in China is to better compete with developed nations. China’s goal is to limit the importing of high value technology products and to be a market leader by the year 2025.

For the US and European countries, “Made in China 2025” poses as a threat to its technology companies intellectual property (IP) as the main reason for the US-China trade war. The Chinese government has stated that Made in China 2025 is in line with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) practices, rules and guidelines and that the plan is open for other countries to contribute to.

The US and European governments and organisations on the other hand, have long accused China of unfair trade practices like IP theft, creating laws that require foreign companies to transfer technology and protecting their domestic market from foreign companies.

Made in China 2025 is the next leap in intelligent manufacturing modeled after the Germany’s Industry 4.0 plan, but more far reaching, China has targeted 10 industries to raise its profile in terms of core components and materials. China has assigned the first 10 years of their plan in 2015-2025; the second phase will be from 2025-2035 and the third phase is 2035-2045.

The 10 industries China is looking to improve or build from scratch are:

  • Information technology in artificial intelligence and quantum computing
  • automation in robotics and mechanical tools
  • aerospace and aeronautics equipment
  • high tech shipping and maritime equipment
  • modernisation of its railway system
  • enhancing automated vehicles and electric vehicles
  • power equipment
  • agricultural equipment
  • new materials
  • advancing Chinese pharmaceuticals and medicine


Two Indian-origin women on Forbes list of America’s richest self-made women

Two India-origin women have made it to the Forbes’ list of America’s 60 richest self-made women.

President and CEO of a computer networking firm Arista Networks, Jayshree Ullal is ranked 18th in the list of 60 self-made women, having a net worth of 1.3 billion dollars.

Her career began with engineering and strategy positions at Advanced Micro Devices and Fairchild Semiconductor.

Ullal was born in London and raised in New Delhi India, she is now one of America’s wealthiest female executives.

Forbes said: “America’s top female entrepreneurs have shattered ceilings and scaled new heights, creating companies and building fortunes in everything from genetic testing to aerospace. Increasingly these self-made starters are tapping social media to cement their brands and build businesses ever more quickly”. 

Neerja Sethi is the vice president of IT consulting and outsourcing company Syntel, a company she co-founded with her husband Bharat Desai in 1980 in their apartment in Troy, Michigan.

She is ranked 21st on Forbes’ list of America’s 60 richest self-made women with a net worth of one billion dollars. 

Forbes added that Syntel racked up USD 924 million in 2017 revenues and has 23,000 employees, 80% of whom are in India.

Source: Forbes

Jair Bolsonaro is leading the polls in the upcoming Brazil elections

The Far-right nationalist Jair Bolsonaro, has moved up to the lead position in the polls of the upcoming Brazil elections, since former Brazil President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Lula), (who was the front runner) has been sent to jail for corruption and money-laundering.

Jail Bolsonaro has taken the opportunity as well as use a paralysing trucker driver’s strike, to rally his support. The Brazilian elections are set to take place on the 17th of October 2018 and competition is has been tightened, so any lead in polls may have a significant impact come October.

Related Story: Truck strike sets Brazil economy back

Folha de S.Paulo newspaper conducted the poll which showed that Jair Bolonaro had moved from 17% to 19%, while his competitors, Marina Silva the former environmental minister poll numbers moved from 14 – 15% and leftist Ciro Gomes poll numbers increased from 10 – 11%.

Former Brazil President Lula was originally in the lead with 30%, but with his arrest Jair Bolsonaro has become the favourite. The Brazilian election still remains wide open as there is very little difference in poll number, as well as the fact that polls have been proven to be wrong in past.



#BRICSFashion: Lan Yu uses her designs as tools to introduce oriental culture

Chinese fashion designer Lan Yu is a maven at integrating traditional embroidery with Western advanced materials in her designs. She is believed to be one of China’s new generation of designers and most influential designers in Asia.

Lan Yu’s designs display a knowledge of Su Xiu, a form of traditional Chinese embroidery handed down through three generations of her family. Her mother taught her embroidery skills from a  young age.

This fashionista is now the owner of LANYU Studio that was founded in 2006.

Yu studied at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology after graduating from the Beijing Institute of Clothing Technology. She spent months studying the market on New York before opening her office there.

“New York City is a world fashion centre. We believe in our fashion, it’s been a national brand for 11 years and feel ready to test a brand-new market. If I can dress Chinese girls pretty, I can dress American girls pretty as well,” she said

With all her hard work and dedication to the fashion world, she has won several awards such as the Best Minority Style Evening Wear and The Star’s Favourite Designer.


In 2012 she was rewarded Executive Master of Business Administration degree by the China Europe International Business School.

She was the first Chinese designer to be invited to Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week in 2014. Her collections represent the elegant oriental beauty, with modern western design perspectives.

Yu has dressed big names such as Kim Kardashian, Lady Gaga and Ruby Lin.


Source: Forbes


#FashionFindsWednesday: Ulyana Sergeenko built her antique and vintage empire

From graduating in the Faculty of Philology to becoming Russia’s big deal in the fashion industry.

Ulyana Sergeenko is a Russian-based fashion designer, who has worked with many celebrities, including Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian and Natalia Vodianova.

The Ulyana Sergeenko brand was launched in Moscow in April 2011 with a first collection designed for autumn-winter 2011/12.

Her debut collection featured clingy knit tops, quilted skirts, floor-sweeping greatcoats, and enough sable to swaddle the Russian army.

Today, the designer has the Moscow-based company that has ready-to-wear women clothing, bags, jewellery and headpieces.

Sergeenko has always love fashion.

With all the love she is receiving, Sergeenko has built a fashion empire that consists of a a collection of antique and vintage clothes and accessories, ranging from the rare ancient jewellery to Soviet school uniform.

The designer frequently visits flea-markets and vintage boutiques as her way of inventing new styles, whereas all her fabrics and trimmings are bought in France, Italy and Japan.

Sergeenko collaborates with highly-skilled ateliers from Russia, along with numerous craftsmen from former Soviets republics. She did that to help them preserve their precious knowledge in the process.

In her 2018 collection called Haute Couture Spring Summer, she designed gowns with long bell-shaped skirts and puffed sleeves with vivid colours. She said that her collection was inspired by the 40s and 50s styles codes.