The NBD has the potential to reshape the world of development finance

 The New Development Bank has the potential to change the world of development finance, says Professor Karin Costa Vazquez, in an article on the Financial Express.

Prof. Vazquez is the Assistant Dean for Global Engagement, Executive Director, Center for African, Latin American and Caribbean Studies at School of International Affairs, O.P Jindal Global University.

The NDB has been in operation for less than four years, however, it has thus far received an AA+ rating international credit rating and built a portfolio of 35 projects worth USD 9.2 billion – nearly half the World Bank’s lending in 2018, reports the Financial Express.

READ MORE: S&P rates Brics New Development Bank AA+

The Professor outlined the key features that set the NBD part; the bank is committed to close the infrastructure gap in developing and emerging countries, it is focused on sustainable development and the bank’s equity in power-sharing.


By: Kgothatso Nkanyane

Cape Town Theatre School to partake in the BRICS Drama Festival in Moscow

Image source: Waterfront Theatre School

Waterfront Theatre School, a Cape Town, South Africa based school will be participating in the BRICS Drama Festival in Moscow. Students from the esteemed theatre school have been once again invited to The University of Theatre Arts in Russia – with the support of the Presidential Grant Fund, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation and the Moscow Culture Department.

Members of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa association during the 10th annual summit of the grouping agreed to more collaboration in arts and culture.

READ MORE:The 10th BRICS Summit outcomes

The 3rd BRICS drama school festival will be held from the 27 May to 6 June 2019. “The project has also received support from the Western Cape Department of Arts and Culture, Proud Partners, the South African National Dance Trust (SANDT) and The M Lahann Trust”, as reported by

This year’s topic is “Greek Theatre and the chosen text is Oedipus Rex”. As per, the Waterfront Theatre School will be focusing on choral scenes in Oedipus Rex. Their performance will be concentrated on the traditional African practices of worship, prophecy, protest, celebration and mourning to the ancient text. The focus will be specifically Xhosa tradition.

Brazil will this year host the 11th BRICS Summit. 

READ MORE: Brazil confirms date for the 11th BRICS Summit



Russia will continue strategic partnership with South Africa

Image: Getty, Alexey NIKOLSKY/AFP

The Russian foreign ministry said on Sunday that Russia will continue to develop strategic partnership with South Africa – this after parliamentary elections in the country.

READ MORE:South Africa takes to the polls

The African National Congress (ANC), South Africa’s ruling party since 1994 won majority votes in the polls, 57.5 % and earned 230 seats out of 400 in the National Assembly lower parliament house.

“Moscow is committed to further development of relations of strategic partnership with South Africa in the political, trade-and-investment, humanitarian and other areas and will continue to coordinate actions within the United Nations, BRICS, the Group of Twenty and other multilateral formats in the interests of ensuring global security and strengthening the polycentric world order,” the ministry said.


Source: Tass

Russia celebrates Victory Day

Russia is today celebrating Victory Day, a national holiday in which the country remembers the end of World War II and the defeat of Nazi Germany. A typical celebration of Victory Day involves military parade showcasing troops and advanced military hardware at Russia has to offer. 

The day will also remember the sacrifices made in order to defeat the Nazi all the millions of soldiers and civilians who died in the conflicts. Family members of those who died during the conflicts, march with their pictures.

The parade which will take place at the Moscow red square and will also be used the government to show off its latest military or security vehicles. The parade is also seen as a way for Russia to demonstrate the world its capabilities and its strengths as a way of discouraging its rivals from any aggression towards Russia.


By Mokgethi Mtezuka

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

China, Russia start ‘Joint Sea 2019’ naval exercise in eastern China

A joint military exercise with the Chinese and Russian navies has begun in Qingdao, east China’s Shandong Province, marking the second time that both navies have met at the port of Qingdao since the launch of the annual drill mechanism in 2012. 

The Chinese PLA Navy sent a warm welcome to the Russian fleet.

Qiu Yanpeng, deputy commander of the PLA Navy, said that through the exercise, both sides will have closer collaboration and greater proficiency in addressing all kinds of security threats.

The subject of this year’s exercise is “joint maritime defensive operations.” Both navies have dispatched two submarines, 13 surface vessels, multiple aircraft, and some 80 marines. 

Reportedly, the “Joint Sea 2019” exercise will be conducted in three phases, namely preparation, execution, and summary. At least ten drills will be held by May 4. 

According to a senior military official, the exercise will focus on joint submarine rescue, air defense, and anti-submarine operations.

On Monday afternoon, the navies of both sides visited each other’s vessels in order to deepen mutual understanding. 

“This is the second time I have come to Qingdao, and I am so happy to be back,” said Alexander Averianov, a chief warrant officer from Russian cruiser Varyag.

They will soon set out to hold exercises in the sea and airspace near Qingdao.

Both navies stressed that the exercise does not target any third party. It only aims to enhance its capability to commonly address maritime security threats. 



North Korean leader Kim Jong Un travels to Russia to meet with President Vladimir Putin

Kim Jong Un leader of North Korea is in the city of Vladivostok for Summit with the Russian President Vladimir Putin. Kim Jong Un arrived in Russia by train on Thursday he met with President Putin for the first time ever.

The meeting between Kim and Putin comes at a time when North Korea and the US were unable to come to an agreement in the second North Korea-United States Summit in Hanoi, Vietnam last year.

One of the reasons for the stall in progress is US Secretary Mike Pompeo, who the Korean have requested to be replaced in any future talks. Kim meeting with Putin could a way for the North Korean leader way his options if they can’t make headway with the US.

For Russia this an opportunity to assist in the peace process and advance movements towards a denuclearized North Korea.


By Mokgethi Mtezuka



Focus sectors for the 2019 BRICS Summit

Brazil, 2019 BRICS host has outlined focus sectors for their host year. The South American powerhouse announced interesting sectors as priorities for the 11th Summit.

Related: Brazil confirms date for the 11th BRICS Summit

Among the focus sectors announced by Brazil are scientific technical and innovative cooperation, digital economy, fight against organized crimes and money laundering. Brasilia will this year be taking the rotating presidency of the bloc created in 2006 that includes also Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

South Africa played a host of the BRICS 10th Summit with a diversity of discussions – development, economic growth, prosperity, peace, and security.

Related: The 10th BRICS Summit outcomes


Source: Economic Times

China and Russia Launch Scientific Cooperation in Arctic

The agreement aimed at the establishment of China-Russia Arctic Research Center (CRARC) was signed on April 10, at the International Arctic Forum held in St. Petersburg.

The Agreement is to document the development of bilateral cooperation between the Pilot National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology (Qingdao) (QNLM) and P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology of Russian Academy of Sciences (IO RAS) targeted at Arctic research and preservation of its indigenous natural wealth.

“The intensive development of Arctic shelf endangers its ecological system thus dictating the necessity for a profound investigation into natural processes happening therein. Being the Great Oceanic Powers, Russia and China boast vast experience and competencies to address comprehensive fundamental challenges associated with the Arctic region. The newly established Center will take ChinaRussia scientific cooperation to a new level. Jointly we will be able to initiate and implement major projects, including joint Arctic expeditions, to foster innovative dialogue as related to exploration of ocean mineral and biological resources to preserve unique subsea ecological systems. This year marks the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Russia and China, and the establishment of China-Russia Arctic Research Center will be the best contribution to the development of partnership between our countries,” noted Aleksey Sokov, Acting Director of the Institute of Oceanology.

“Our cooperation carries great importance for deepening the understanding of the region and identifying the Arctic’s effect on global climate change. It will benefit peoples of our two sides and of the rest of the world, as well. I’m confident that our cooperation will bring the Arctic research great prosperity,” stated Prof. PAN Kehou, Secretary General of QNLM Academic Committee.

The activities of the Center are aimed at joint research in the Arctic, including full-scale measurements onboard the Institute’s research vessels, analysis of climatic, geological, biogeochemical processes and trends of ecosystem changes in the Arctic region. The obtained results will contribute to accurate prediction of ice conditions at the Northern Sea Route and providing recommendations for the environmentally sound development of the Arctic region being intensively developed. Also, the Center will involve outstanding scientists from the major research institutions of Russia and China.

According to Prof. WU Lixin, Director of QNLM Executive Committee, “QNLM has put forward an international cooperation strategy to develop close and efficient research cooperation and partnership. We have established the International Center for Southern Hemisphere Oceans Research (CSHOR) collaborated with CSIRO in Australia. The signing of the agreement to establish CRARC marks an important step forward for QNLM in the process of developing a worldwide collaborative innovation network. After establishment, CRARC will focus on major scientific issues and strengthen researches in such fields as physical oceanography, marine geology and geophysics, marine biology, marine chemistry, and air-sea interaction in the Arctic by pooling in advantageous research resources and teams in China and Russia. Joint efforts will be made in Arctic marine science research, which will promote the construction of ‘Silk Road on Ice’. In the future, QNLM looks forward to more fruitful and efficient partnerships worldwide to contribute to the sustainable development of the world oceans and a shared future for mankind.”

Russia stops all cooperation with NATO

Photo: NATO

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Alexander Grushko said in an interview that Russia has stopped all association with NATO—North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance between 29 North American and European countries. The organization implements the North Atlantic Treaty that was signed on 4 April 1949.

Related: BRICS VS NATO: The differences and how they compare

NATO suspended military and civilian cooperation with Russia in 2014 over the crisis in Ukraine. Russia, in February 2014 had several military attacks into the Ukrainian territory – after the fall of the then Ukraine President, Viktor Yanukovych—Russian soldiers in the absence of insignias took charge of military positions and took control of infrastructure within the Ukrainian territory of Crimea.

Grushko told the state ran media agency, RIA Novosti news agency that “NATO has itself abandoned a positive agenda in its relations with Russia. It doesn’t exist,” as reported by The Moscow Times.

The interview came a day after US military officers said that the lack of communication between the US and US could lead to a nuclear war by “mistake or miscalculation”. The former permanent Russia NATO representative between the years 2012 and 2018 warned NATO against military conflict with Russia.

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


By: Kgothatso Nkanyane

Additional reporting: The Moscow Times