Brazil and Israel sign a MoU on technological innovation

A new partnership between Israel’s innovation Authority and the Brazilian agency for industrial research and innovation was publicised on Monday.

The innovation agencies signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on technological innovation and industrial research and development. The MoU you is set to increase both country’s competitiveness and capacities in innovation.

According to Xinhua, this partnership is the first joint action aimed at enhancing the technological capabilities of companies, enterprises and startups in the two countries. The MoU is believed to lead to the opening of opportunities for further cooperation between Brazil and Israel – that could lead to innovative processes and products.

Authorities will allocate a budget of $5 million for a five year period to support research and development projects which will lead to finding relevant solutions for technological challenges in both Israel and Brazil.  


Source: Xinhua

India, Brazil, Germany, Japan Ministers plan to review UN security council reform

Forty years since the Security Council Agenda was placed on the General Assembly agenda – Ministers from India, Brazil, Germany and Japan are now expressing their concerns with the security reform.

The Ministers of the G-4 countries met on Tuesday at the Indian Mission to the UN. The meeting was hosted by India’s External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj to review the reform progress.

The Ministers said in statement after the meeting that they spoke of “pathways to reform”. In the statement the Ministers said that they have tasked their diplomats to ways to advance the reform.

The four countries of the G-4 advocate for Council reform and mutually support each other for a permanent seat on an expanded Council, says

Source: Ib Times

Subsea cable launch promises South Africa improved internet

A new fast submarine cable connecting Africa and South America has been launched. The South Atlantic Cable System (Sacs) is the first subsystem across the Southern Atlantic Ocean says Techcentral. 

The Sacs will provide lower latency between South Africa and key internet markets of the US.

Angola cables said in a statement “the new digital information highway is the first and fastest link between Africa and the Americans with lowest latency and will provide more direct routing for internet in the Southern hemisphere”.

These developments will have a noticeable impact for “future growth and configuration of the global internet”.

The cables are constructed by the NEC and connect Brazil and Angola and have onward connectivity to North America on other systems.

“Data transfer speeds will be greatly improved (five times faster than existing cable routings), reducing latency from Fortaleza (Brazil) to Luanda (Angola) from 350 milliseconds to 63ms,” the company said.

“Luanda will also connect to London and Miami with approximately 128ms latency. These two major content hubs will position Angola as a strategic point to serve the transatlantic region with low latency and resilient connections.

“Given the onward connections to the recently completed Monet Cable and the West Africa Cable System (Wacs), Sacs will also offer reduced latency between Miami and Cape Town from 338ms to 163ms.”

The new routing will “dynamically change” the Internet traffic patterns in the southern hemisphere and combined with Monet and Wacs, will “dramatically alter global digital traffic routing options”, said Angola Cables CEO António Nunes. “Sacs is a new thoroughfare for data between networks, major content providers and some of the fastest-growing markets for data consumption.”

“Our ambition is to transport South American and Asian data packets via our African hub using Sacs, and together with Monet and Wacs, provide a more efficient, direct connectivity option between North, Central and South America and on to Africa, Europe and Asia,” Nunes said.

“By developing and connecting ecosystems that allow for local Internet protocol traffic to be exchanged locally and regionally, the efficiency of networks that are serving the southern hemisphere can be vastly improved. As these developments progress they will have considerable impact for the future growth and configuration of the global Internet.”




Lula withdraws from Brazil Election run

The Former President of Brazil Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva withdrew from Brazil’s election run. Silva is currenting serving 12 years prison sentence for corruption charges. Lula sent out a letter saying, “we are millions of Lulas and from today Fernando Haddad will be Lula for millions of Brazilians.”

According to the Brazil’s “Clean Slate” law, candidates can not run for elections if they have been convicted and their appeal has been upheld. After the top electoral court this past week the court gave Lula’s party until the 11th September 2018 time to decide on its candidate, because Lula is prohibited from running.

This led to Lula’s decision to step down and pass the baton to Fernando Haddad, the 55th year old academic and former mayor of Sao Paulo. Haddad will need all the political power that Lula’s backing can offer to make it into a likely runoff vote.

Additional reporting: cbnc

Brazil and China talk trade and investments for 2018 & 2019

A Chinese delegation from the government visited Brazil’s Ministry of Industry, Foreign Trade and Services (MDIC) in Brazil on Monday. The delegation discussed issues relating to the two countries’ bilateral trade and investment agenda for 2018 & 2019.
The delegation met to discuss Brazil’s industry 4.0 agenda, investments and scheduling meetings for 2019, when Brazil will chair the BRICS bloc.

Industry 4.0 according to Macauhub is a term relating to technologies and concepts for organisation of the value chain. “Within the intelligent and modular manufacturing factories of industry 4.0 cyber physical systems (CPS) monitor processes, create a virtual copy of reality and make decentralized decision” says Macauhub.

Brazil in 2017 exported approximately US$47 billion to China and imported goods worth US$27 billion from China’s market, which resulted in a surplus of more than US$20 billion for Brazil.

Source: Macauhub

Brazil’s Arco Platform seeks to raise up to $200 million in IPO

Brazilian learning systems company, Arco Platform is planning to raise up to $200 million in an initial public offering (IPO) on Nasdaq expected in September.

According to a document the company filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, they will only issue new shares in a so-called primary offering, and the amount raised will go to Arco’s coffers.

Arco was founded in 2004 and sells learning systems to 1,140 Brazilian private schools with more than 400,000 students. The company’s content is delivered to schools through both digital and hard copies.

According to Reuters, Arco posted a net income of 54.3 million reais ($13.88 million) in the first six months of 2018 and a net revenue of 195.1 million reais.

The company has hired the banks Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Itaú BBA, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Allen & Company, BTG Pactual and UBS to manage the offering.

A second source revealed that banks would like Arco to raise the size of the offering to up to $300 million, but the company prefers to keep it smaller.


Source: Reuters

Volkswagen to dismiss 1,000 workers in Brazil due to slow sales

Metalworkers’ union representatives have indicated that Volkswagen AG will furlough about 1,000 workers at its largest factory in Brazil, due to weaker economic growth and slumping exports to Argentina.

According to the union, the month-long furlough will start on 21 August at the VW plant in Sao Bernardo do Campo, on the outskirts of Sao Paulo. 

The factory produces the Jetta, Saveiro and Polo models, along with its Virtus sedan variant, and employs about 8,000 workers.

Reuters stated that furloughs are common as an alternative to costly job cuts in Brazil’s auto industry, allowing carmakers to trim production and payroll more easily when demand softens.

Volkswagen spokeswoman stated that tools to add flexibility to production are a possibility and that  sales have actually increased this year.

She said: “From January to June 2018, in relation to the same period in 2017, Volkswagen registered a 33%growth in sales.”

Volkswagen is expecting the overall car production in Brazil to increase 12% in 2018.


BRICS Friendship Cities, Local Government Cooperation & Meeting of the BRICS Ministers of Disaster

The BRICS Friendship cities, Local Government Cooperation and Urbanisation Forum and the meeting of the BRICS Task Force on Disaster Management took place from the 28 June – 1 July in Buffalo City, East London.

A declaration regarding the engagement of BRICS states/provinces through cities and local bodies was signed at the Ministerial Meeting. The Urbanisation Forum’s main goal is to promote people to people cooperation amongst BRICS nations and collaboration at local government level.

The Meeting of the BRICS Ministers of Disaster was hosted by the Deputy Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Mr Andries Nel. It was an opportunity to discuss South Africa’s socio-economic development and inclusive growth plans, and how BRICS could help in achieving those plans. It also provides a platform in addressing challenges facing the BRICS countries like eco-building, eco-city design, the upgrading of infrastructure and informal settlements as well as new city enlargement proposals.

The disaster meeting was also a chance to learn and share ideas on disaster recovery, how to help municipalities in trouble, how to build durable urban areas, risk management, migration management, how to use urban development to end poverty and help the disadvantaged.

The BRICS meetings was also a knowledge exchange on waste reduction, recycling, climate change and energy usage efficiency. The conclusion of these meetings ended in the signing of two separate declarations as a commitment, to affirm cooperation of BRICS countries with in this department and to create a guideline for moving forward.


The BRICS Youth Seminar hosted by Moja Institute

The Moja Research Institute in partnership with the University of Western Cape (UWC) SRC hosted the BRICS Youth Seminar on the 22nd June 2018 at the Western Cape University. The event saw youth people from all walks of life come together to have an effective discussion around the participation of young people in the BRICS bloc. Representatives from the Russian Consulate, the NYDA, the Black Lawyers Association, the UWC student body, the media and general public were in attendance.

The event was a celebration for the Nelson Mandela Centenary and was opened by the SRC of the University of the Western Cape, the treasurer, Mongameli Philiso, of the WCU. The representative of the Russian Consulate, Taisiia Rylova, highlighted the significance of South Africa’s BRICS chairship coinciding with Former President Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday.

“The anniversary BRICS Summit in Johannesburg scheduled for the 25-27 of July will mark a decade of concerted efforts of the five countries, efforts that have been yielding tangible results.” Speaking on the youth involvement in the BRICS bloc, Taisiia said: “All such initiatives that engage young people – be it student exchange and scholarships or forums like the BRICS Young Diplomats Forum – are the cornerstones that help us build our common future characterised by strength and stability as well as the convergence of our diverse and vibrant cultures.”

The Moja Research Institute used the platform to launch the SA/China Students Exchange programme. Senior researcher at Moja Institute, Fazlin Fransman, says the SA/China Student exchange programme opens door for young people, giving them the opportunity to benefit from the BRICS collaboration. The Institute also announced that Moja Media is launching the BRICS Channel and the University Channel, which makes out part of the 7 channels that the Institute will be launching in 2018. The aim of the channels is to change the narrative and allow the BRICS countries to tell their own stories in their own voice, stated Moeshfieka Botha, head of the Moja Media.

Chairperson of the NYDA, Sifiso Mtsweni, President of the Black Lawyers Association, Luyolo Mohambehlola and the UWC SRS Treasurer, Mongameli Philiso, were part of the panel discussion led by Moja Institute’s Fazlin Fransman. In his opening remarks, Sifiso highlighted the upcoming BRICS Youth Summit, stating: “The BRICS Youth Seminar will give a voice to young people in BRICS policies, thus it is before the BRICS 10th Summit”. He added that South Africa should use its position in the BRICS Bloc to give opportunities to young people.

Luyolo Mohambehlola, the President of Black Lawyers Association, emphasised that many people do not know what BRICS is and what it stands for, so it’s time for ordinary citizens to be taught about BRICS and how it benefits them. He added: “If policies and opportunities by BRICS are not accessible to ordinary citizens, then it is useless”. On the topic of law, Luyolo proposed the creation of a law student exchange programme in the BRICS Bloc, which will allow students to learn about the law policies in the different countries in order to improve law in South Africa and other BRICS countries.

The discussion was filled with a lot of contribution from the audience, highlighting both dissatisfaction from young people on many issues, including the inclusivity of young people in BRICS related projects and were happy to know that their suggestions will be on the discussion table at the BRICS Youth Summit which will be chaired by the NYDA Chairperson, Sifiso Mtsweni.

An audience member challenged the panel on the topic of access to opportunities without resources, highlighting the high data costs in South Africa. The BRICS Youth Summit will be held ahead of the BRICS 10th Summit, in order for the resolutions of the Summit to be addressed at the 10th Summit.

By Ntsikelelo Kuse

Trucker strike lifts Brazil inflation to two-year high in mid-June

Brazil’s inflation rate increased rapidly to the central bank’s official target range in mid-June after a nationwide protest by truckers drove product shortages across the board, lifting consumer prices by the most in more than two years.

Economists have stated that the short-term spike in prices was unlikely to drive the bank to increase interest rates soon.

The Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics said the benchmark IPCA index rose 1.1% from mid-May.

The national trucker protest over high diesel prices diesel blocked major highways, nearly paralyzing key sectors, and resulted in higher food and gas prices added the most to inflation during the month.

According to Reuters, an increase in power rates also helped to drive the 12-month inflation rate to 3.68%, sharply higher than the 2.86% reading at the end of May. 

The central bank has struggled to get inflation back to its target range of 4.5%, plus or minus 1.5% points after understanding it for the first time ever last year.

According to the bank’s policy statement, the bank acknowledged that the trucker strike would likely add to inflation and weigh on economic activity at a time when price pressures remain muted.

Source: Reuters