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

US President Donald Trump hosted Brazil’s right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro at the White House, on Tuesday .The leaders of the two largest economies in the Western Hemisphere held a joint press conference after a private meeting.

During the press meeting US President congratulated Bolsonaro on the October election victory.

The right-wing league discussed mutual priorities, including the Venezuela crisis. “Along with the United States, Brazil was one of the first nations to recognize Venezuela’s legitimate Interim President, Juan Guaidó”, Trump said.

The US President further said that he intends to make Brazil a major Non-NATO ally or a NATO ally. According to President Trump this will greatly advance security and cooperation between the US and Brazil.

READ MORE: BRICS VS NATO: The differences and how they compare

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) , also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance between 29 North American and European countries


By: Kgothatso Nkanyane


The Syrian civil war near its end

The Syrian conflict has raged on for almost 8 Years has led to an estimated 500, 000 deaths and millions of people displaced. As well as a large scale migration of Syrians to the EU and neighboring Middle Eastern countries. The conflict has also made stronger allies of Russia, Iran and Syria.

The three countries have almost removed the entire ISIS threat and are now working to consolidate territory. The US which was also active in the Syrian War announced that it would be leaving Syria as ISIS was not a threat anymore and no longer held significant territory warranting the US to stay.

The Syrian government and Russia have also made repeated calls for the US to leave the conflict as they there presence in Syria violates international law. The conflict which began as a civil protest apart of the Arab Spring has left the country’s infrastructure destroyed and will take years for it to recover again


By Mokgethi Mtezuka


BRICS Multilateral Joint Science and Technology Research Collaboration

Ministers of science and technology from BRICS states on the 18 March 2015 signed a Memorundum of Understanding (MoU) on Joint Science and Technology Research Collaboration. After the signing the agreement, the Ministers established  a working group consisting of National Science, Technology, Research organisations of all the members of the bloc. The working group consists of National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq, Brazil), Foundation for Assistance to Small Innovative Enterprises (FASIE, Russia), Ministry of Education and Science (MON, Russia), Russian Foundation for Basic
Research (RFBR, Russia), Department of Science and Technology (DST, India), Ministry of Science and
Technology (MOST, China), National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC, China) and National
Research Foundation (NRF, South Africa).

The group since has 2016 contributed meaningfully to research capacity development through the provision of Masters’ and Doctoral scholarships and student exchange programmes.

In its third year, it is still calling for joint proposals that involve at least three or more partners from the BRICS countries.

Joint research proposals should be submitted within the following six designated thematic areas prioritised by all BRICS countries; aeronautics, astronomy, biotechnology and biomedicine including human health and neuroscience, geospatial technology and its applications, information technologies and high performance computing, material science including nanotechnolog, new and renewable energy, and energy efficiency, including SSL, ocean and polar science and technology and Photonics.

To find out more about the research collaboration visit:


By:Kgothatso Nkanyane

SA, US explore cooperation possibilities

South Africa and the United States have recently shared perspectives and explored possibilities for cooperation, at regional and multilateral levels, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) said.

This emerged after Dirco Director-General Kgabo Mahoai on Friday co-chaired the South Africa-United States Working Group on Africa and Global Issues (WGAGI), with the United States Deputy Secretary of State, John Sullivan, in Pretoria.

Matters relating to peace and security, sustainable development, trade and investment, and wildlife trafficking, amongst others, were high on the agenda.

The WGAGI is a structured bilateral mechanism that was held at the level of the Director-General/Deputy Secretary of State, which gives both the respective Heads of Delegation an opportunity to engage on African and global issues of mutual interest.

“The meeting shared perspectives and explored possibilities for cooperation, at the regional and multilateral levels, including matters related to peace and security, sustainable development, trade and investment, and wildlife trafficking, amongst others,” Dirco said in a statement. 

Deputy Secretary Sullivan used the platform to provide a briefing on the Trump Administration’s recently announced Africa Strategy and in particular the Prosper Africa initiative, which is aimed at enhancing trade and investment ties for the benefit of both the United States and Africa. 

Bilateral relations between South Africa and the United States are cordial. The United States is an important partner for South Africa for trade, investment, tourism, technology transfer, education and health cooperation.

South Africa is a major beneficiary of development assistance from the United States, especially for health, through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

Trade and investment relations take place under the auspices of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), under which South Africa gains duty-free access to the US market for value-added products.


Minister Sisulu to attend a meeting of the SADC Council of Ministers in Namibia

The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu, MP, will travel to Windhoek, Namibia, for a meeting of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Council of Ministers scheduled for 15 to 16 March 2019.

The SADC Council of Ministers is responsible for overseeing the functioning and development of the region. The Council also ensures that policies and decisions taken are implemented.

The upcoming SADC Council of Ministers Meeting is expected to deliberate on a number of key issues pertaining to the region and will also consider a number of strategic documents and receive update reports on the progress made since the last meeting, which took place in Windhoek, Namibia in August 2018.

Key issues to be deliberated upon will include the status of finances of the organisation and the approval of the 2019/20 budget. Furthermore, Council will also reflect on progress made towards Continental and Regional Integration.

In addition, Council will receive a progress report on the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap and on the implementation of the current theme of the 38th SADC Summit “Promoting Infrastructure Development and Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development.”

South Africa will also report on the state of readiness relating to the hosting of the upcoming SADC Solidarity Conference with the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, scheduled to take place in South Africa from 25 to 26 March 2019.

The SADC Council of Ministers Meeting was preceded by meetings of the SADC Standing Committee of Senior Officials on 11 March 2019 and the Finance Committee on 12 March 2019.

Minister Sisulu will be accompanied by the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Bulelani Magwanishe and senior officials from other departments.



South Africa and Namibia to co-host SADC Solidarity Conference on Western Sahara

South Africa and Namibia will co-host the SADC Solidarity Conference on Western Sahara, from 25-26 March 2019 in Pretoria the Solidarity Conference will be “in support of the struggle of the Saharawi people against the colonial occupation of their territory.”

The conference will highligh South Africa’s continuous support of the Saharawi people fight for freedom, Western Sahara since 1975 has had a long suffered from fighting for territorial  claims of Morocco and the Saharawi people.  Even though the region is mostly desert with a population of only over 500, 000 it has become somewhat of a unsolvable issue in North Africa and for African Union.

Western Sahara does have rich fishing seas, phosphate reserves and untapped offshore oil deposits. The Saharan Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), has been the unofficial name of the country declared by the Polisario Front in 1976 but is not completely recognised by all members of the African Union.



South Africa hands over humanitarian package to Zimbabwe

Following the successful two-day Bi-National Commission between Zimbabwe and South Africa, held in Harare, the Ministers of International Relations and Cooperation and Transport, Hon. Lindiwe Sisulu, and Hon. Blade Nzimande, respectively, handed over a humanitarian package to the people of Zimbabwe on behalf of the NGO, Gift of the Givers.

Handing over the package, which consists of medical supplies, school stationery and other immediate personal needs, the Ministers said the gift is from the people of South Africa to the people of Zimbabwe.

“On behalf the Gift of the Givers, we extend this consignment to the people of Zimbabwe. We hope this little contribution of medical and other urgent necessities will assist families,” Minister Sisulu said.

The Zimbabwean Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Lt General Sibusiso Moyo, said: “On behalf of the Zimbabwean people, we welcome the gift; and this shows the strong bond of friendship that exists between the two countries. This is a true, lifesaving friendship between the people of South Africa and Zimbabwe”.


South Africa to test new road made of plastic

The Kouga municipality in the Eastern Cape will test South Africa’s first plastic road. The municipality is partnering with Scottish company MacRebur and South African engineering experts Jeffery Bay to bring the project to life.

The cost of road construction in the Kouga municipality is more than R500 million even though Kouga is one of the better performing municipalities in the Eastern Cape it still struggles to meet the costs of repairing roads.

This is why MacRebur’s plastic roads are seen as a new innovation which will help in lowering road costs for the region. Plastic roads have many benefits including the enhancement of asphalt, which will reduce maintenance cost, as well as the use of waste plastic will help with environmental issues.

The plastic road will look and act as exactly like a normal asphalt road even the process of making the road won’t change, the only change will be the additive of plastic into the asphalt will in increase the roads lifespan and melting point.

MacRebur will be trailing the plastic road in the Kouga Municipality free of charge as proof of concept. There are still many regulations that need to overcome as well as other competitors that the plastic road will have to out due before the government can commit to full implementation.


By Mokgethi Mtezuka

China calls for US and European companies to join the Road and Belt

China has called on the US and Europe to join its Belt and Road initiative, this after Chinese President, Xi Jinping was criticized that the initiative would be used used to increase his country’s influence at the expense of host countries.

China has pledged cooperation with European and American companies.
According to Zhou Xiaofei, deputy secretary general of the National Development and Reform Commission of China, The People’s Republic wants to combine their knowledge of construction and manufacturing with that of Western countries.

The Road and Belt is not just China’s initiative, says Zhou in an international cooperation event promoting the Road and Belt.



Source: Bloomberg

Putin’s popularity tied in massive construction projects in Russia

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin remains widely popular in Russia due to his extensive is infrastructure project that he and his administration has spearheaded. 

The Eastern Siberian town of Tuva has a new bridge which connects it to the regional center of Kyzyl allowing for easier access for medical and food supplies which it had struggled maintaining before the bridge.

Even though critics have called the infrastructure program a waste of money – small towns in outskirts of Russia like Tuva view these types of programs as god sent.

Its measures like this one which keeps President Putin popular, Russia due to its massive length as a country needs just as massive and detailed Infrastructure to connect regions and small towns which are unable to gain access to services that those in urban and cities get with ease.

There are 12 other infrastructure projects that Putin signed off on last in May. Putin has also noted that Infrastructure development is key for the future and prosperity of Russia.