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

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

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.



10 of South Africa’s top trading partners

South Africa exports more than $90 Billion of products in 2018 to its trading partners globally, though limited by the countries geographical distance from its main export partners South Africa still manages to increase trade by 7% since 2017, which is 0.5% of global trade.

China the biggest buyer of South African (SA) goods with almost $9 Billion spent in 2018, making up more than 9% of foreigner exports. Germany and the United Sated making up SA’s second and third biggest importers of goods with 7.5% and 6.8% of foreign trade.

In terms of African trade partners Botswana 7th, Namibia 8th and Mozambique 9th which along with South Africa make up the Southern African Development Community contributing a combined $11 Billion showing how the African bloc is very key growth in the region and for South Africa.




First co-production between South Africa and China currently in development

The first-ever co-production between South Africa and China – a conservation-inspired story entitled No Man’s Land – is in advanced stages of development.

With Darrell, Roodt set to direct and Murray Clive Walker slated for a starring role, the project represents an exciting partnership between the two BRICS countries.

No Man’s Land is largely set in China’s Qinghai Province, situated in the northern foothills of the Himalayas, as well as the northern wetlands of Gauteng. It tells the story of a conservationist who strives to protect China’s endangered red-crowned crane. When she comes across a blue crane with a South African tag, she decides to return the bird to its original nesting-ground.
The production of No Man’s Land plans to bring Africa and Asia together in a friendly, cultural collaboration. The film will be the first co-production of its kind between China and South Africa, and will also mark a big step towards greater cultural collaboration between the BRICS countries.

“In the future, we hope to shoot more films that communicate to the world the beauty, charm and ethnic diversity that these countries possess. China and South Africa have a good political relationship and we want to strengthen it through this kind of cultural storytelling,” says Murray Clive Walker, who is also acting as co-producer of the film.

Walker explains that he set up Colony Films “six months ago, with the express purpose of doing a co-production with China. I got back to Johannesburg at the end of 2017, after working in China for 14 years, and it was a question of deciding to ‘do what I know.’ It occurred to me that I could leverage my Chinese resources and the experience I had of working in both countries.”

Walker continues: “I was in conversation with producer Jin – who I met about seven or eight years ago doing another movie – and he was on the lookout for a top director for this project of his. I told him I knew Darrell Roodt, who is an Oscar-nominated director – but the more we spoke about it, the more we both realized it would be ideal to make it a co-production.”

Providing an update of the progress of the project, Walker explains that “we have completed the first stage of three. We have just invited two Chinese representatives to Cape Town and Johannesburg to meet with Darrell and producer Greig Buckle at Enigma Pictures – a company which has done great work over the years in production services, including five months on Mad Max: Fury Road. The representatives also visited Cape Town Film Studios, Atlantic Film Studios, and Refinery Post Production, and conducted meetings at the Gauteng Film Commission, the Department of Trade and Industry and the Chinese Embassy.”

Walker and Roodt are “currently working on the script to adapt it for the co-production. We need to flesh out the local scenes and make sure we have twenty-one filming days in South Africa – and next, we’ll fly over to Beijing in April. There’ll be a whole delegation of us, hopefully with representatives from the Gauteng Film Commission and the DTI, to participate in the official signing of the contract. And after that,” he concludes, “we’ll be able to head into production.”


RELEASED BY: Screen Africa 

Fourth Industrial Revolution Centre opens in South Africa

The South African Science and Technology Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane this morning spoke at a breakfast forum announcing the establishment of the World Economic Forum’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (C4IR) in South Africa.

In the very near future, the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) will infiltrate every facet of life and inseparable from economic growth globally, according to minister Kubayi-Ngubane. The centre is the beginning of the journey and will provide a platform for cooperation between government and business.

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) will host this centre and has already identified priorities that the centre must develop which include artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, the Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain, distribution ledge technology, and precision medicine.

4IR has the potential to help South Africa overcome some of persisting challenges like unemployment, poverty, and inequality but only if the country can ready itself and be ahead of the techno-economical curve.



South Africa’s first digital economy summit

South Africa’s Communications Minister, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams announced the launch of South Africa’s first digital economy summit. The Minister said this at the University of Witwatersrand (WITS), Johannesburg, on Thursday.

The summit endorsed by the cabinet will take place after South Africa’s elections – at the end of June.

Related story: Preview of the South African Elections

According to Ndabeni-Abrahams, people should be placed at the center of the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) conversations.

“As the government, this is woven into all our 4IR interventions and, as such, we have been deliberate in seeking collaborative efforts that build a capable 4IR army. In the same breath, we must ensure that we create our own solutions that respond to our unique requirements as a country. Lastly, it is impotent that all sectors find expression in the 4IR conversation, ” she said, as reported by Engineering news.

Source: Engineering News

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

Remembering Chris Hani| 26 years on

Today marks 26 years (10 April 1993) since the assassination of fierce apartheid opponent, Chris Hani. Born Martin Thembisile Hani, he was a leader of the South African Communist Party and chief of staff of uMkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing of the African National Congress.

Hani is remembered as a hero with physical and moral bravery, compassion and the spirit of Ubuntu – humanity.

On this day the ‘popular hero’ as he returned to his home in Dawn Park (Boksburg), Johannesburg he was assassinated by an anti-Communist Polish refugee, Janusz Walus. With him was his daughter Nomakhwezi, who was then 15 – witnessed his death. This in the run-up of South Africa’s first democratic elections. Nomakhwezi died ‘mysteriously’ 7 years after her father’s passing.

The ‘people’s Hani’s’ death was the darkest time in South Africa. People of the Republic till to this day commemorate the anniversary passing Hani annually – the 10th of April is marked by several events in remembrance of struggle steward, Hani.

Here’s how remembered Chris Hani in 2017: [PHOTO ESSAY] Remembering Chris Hani

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa is today celebrating the struggle hero and has referred to Hani as the President South Africa never had.


By: Kgothatso Nkanyane