Information Bulletin of the BRICS Trade Union Forum
Issue 49.2018
2018.12.03 — 2018.12.09
International relations
Foreign policy in the context of BRICS
G20 Summit: Looking for Compromise (Саммит G20: в поисках компромисса) / Greece, December, 2018
Keywords: g20, expert_opinion
2018-12-05
Greece
Source: moderndiplomacy.eu

The G20 is an important international forum, a meeting place for representatives of the world's largest economies. Now, we can say that the division into the so-called "developed" and "developing" economies is irrelevant within this forum. Additionally, the G20 generally does, indeed, represent the interests of the global population, since its countries account for over 80 percent of the gross world product and two thirds of the entire population of the planet. It is also important to remember that such venues are very convenient for privately owned businesses, which, through the support of governmental agencies, can get favourable opportunities to hold talks with their foreign partners. Additionally, a rather large number of meetings and talks at G20 summits remains outside the spotlight, but their results confirm the significance of the many unofficial meetings, informal negotiations and talks on the side-lines of the summits. These meetings, which take place in a variety of formats, are vital for understanding the issues that are most important for leading international participants and whether there is consensus among them on the approaches required to resolve these issues. Moreover, as we consider meetings and agreements concluded on the side-lines of G20 summits, we can, to a degree, draw conclusions on the current configuration or re-configuration of international relations.

From the outset, we will note that the importance of G20 summits is gradually growing, even though they started out as meetings of ministers of finance and their initial goal was to formulate a joint response to global financial issues. Today, the summit has transformed into an international venue for discussing issues of global financial and economic policies and other pressing matters of the day. However, economic and financial issues remain significant for G20 discussions.

The summit is also important for the expert and political communities of various countries that assess the prospects of inter-country interactions. Apparently, at the Argentina summit, the meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin attracted the greatest interest, but it never happened, since the U.S. President cancelled it at the eleventh hour, which certainly demonstrates the growing tensions in U.S.–Russia relations.

At the same time, the summit is useful, since its function is not to settle bilateral relations, but to develop common approaches that satisfy different states with different economic indicators and representing different political regimes.

G20 summits are convened to discuss several pressing issues proposed by the presiding state.

The summit held in Argentina was devoted to building a consensus for fair and stable development. Face-to-face meetings between heads of state are particularly important for handling the task. The goal of the summit indicates that the global community is aware of the current tectonic shifts in the global economy and in world politics. For a full-scale scale discussion of the problem, four issues were put on the agenda: the future of work and new professions, infrastructure for development, sustainable food future and gender mainstreaming.

Clearly, the G20 is not just a venue for discussing issues that have been defined as key; it is also an opportunity to "compare notes" via different formats "inside" the summit. For instance, we can say that France, Germany, Austria and Italy did not represent themselves or their interests alone, but were also united by their common tasks as EU countries. In addition, as one of the world's largest economies, the European Union is a member of G20 as a single body. At the present summit, the European Union was represented by the heads of the European Council and the European Commission, Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker. Similarly, BRICS countries use G20 to discuss issues of their own.

G20 in Implementing Russia's Strategic Tasks

Russia's current strategic priority is to take part in the establishment of the concept of a multipolar world and in elaborating new principles of interaction within integration processes in Eurasia. Therefore, special emphasis will invariably be placed on the possibilities for implementing the idea of "integrating integrations" at G20 summits, and this summit was no exception. In particular, special attention was paid to mechanisms for connecting the development of the EAEU with the "One Road – One Belt" strategy. In addition, issues of stepping up cooperation within BRICS are also addressed, and there is an ongoing search for parties interested in bolstering global political and economic stability through the instruments of "integrating integrations," which entails Russia paying attention to China, India and other Asian partners, as well as the gradual stable growth of Russia's interests in Latin America.

As for meetings that have the greatest significance for Russia, the key talks for understanding the development of Russia's foreign policy are the now traditional sessions held with BRICS countries. In addition, a meeting was also held between the heads of state of Russia, India and China (in the RIC format). Objectively, this format could be the most efficient, since interaction between Eurasia's three largest states is of principal significance for both regional and global security. The dialogue on security issues and collaboration in all areas will be continued at the second Belt and Road Summit in April 2019 that Xi Jinping invited Vladimir Putin to attend.

The President of the Russian Federation was probably one of the most active figures at the present summit. Naturally, he had a meeting with representatives of Argentina. It is all the more important today since the EAEU and MERCOSUR are building up their cooperation potential, and a Memorandum on Cooperation is being prepared. What is more, Russia and Argentina concluded an agreement on nuclear power generation that will allow Russia to start construction of Russian-designed nuclear power plants in Argentina.

The main topic of discussion at the meeting between Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin was the Syrian agenda. Indeed, an exchange of opinions on this question now, when various formats of building up the peace process are being discussed, is of particular importance. In addition, the President of the Russian Federation discussed the current situation in Syria with his Turkish counterpart, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who also confirmed the significance of the Turkish Stream for the stable and secure development of the economy of Turkey and other states.

The meeting between the President of the Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman focused on energy issues, with the two parties agreeing to extend the agreement on cutting oil production.

Vladimir Putin also met with Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe, with the Japanese side raising the issue of concluding a peace agreement. For Russia, the issue is not particularly relevant anymore, and at the meeting, the two heads of state agreed to continue active cooperation to increase the level of mutual trust between the two sides.

Of course, a great number of people were interested in the informal conversation between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, who only had time to exchange opinions on the "Kerch Strait incident." Trump's refusal to meet with the President of the Russian Federation means a further loss of confidence between the two countries.

On the whole, meetings between heads of state were of particular importance at the summit, since, for instance, the meeting at the level of ministers of foreign affairs was downsized due to the absence of Russian and French ministers of foreign affairs, the U.S. Secretary of State and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

G20: The International Agenda

The so-called Iran nuclear deal has become one of the most crucial problems in international relations. Russia and the European Union have adopted the same stance on this issue.

In addition to economic matters, G20 also tackled the climate change problem and proposed complete and utter compliance with the decisions of the Paris Agreement on climate change. However, significant progress is unlikely after the withdrawal of the United States from the accord.

No less important were the discussions on the problem of terrorism. The G20 countries agreed that their Leaders' Hamburg Statement on Countering Terrorism needed to be implemented. Incidentally, that statement declared the need to fight terrorism internationally in all its forms and manifestations. However, the current situation is extremely complicated, and discussions concerning Syria confirm this fact.

The influence of the European Union and the United Kingdom on the international security agenda and their claim that Russia is the main disrupting force are just as worrying. The European Union, in the person of Donald Tusk, sought to expand the summit's agenda with a discussion of Russia's so-called aggression against Ukraine, which he likened to the problem of trade wars. However, despite the suggestion put forward by both Tusk and the United Kingdom that the G20 discuss Russia's allegedly impermissible conduct and use some instruments against it, the proposal failed to gain traction. It say a lot that the "Kerch Strait incident" did not overshadow any of the meetings held by the President of the Russian Federation at the G20 Summit.

The attention of international actors was also focused on the meeting between Donald Trump and Xi Jinping, who failed to achieve a consensus on economic interaction, but agreed to a 90-day moratorium on introducing increased tariffs. Accordingly, special hopes are pinned on this interim measure. Clearly, China will not make the unilateral concessions that the United States is calling upon it to do, appealing instead to the idea of a compromise.

Results of the G20 Summit

While the summit's final declaration does not contain specific figures and objectives for the most sensitive issues on the agenda, it does offer mechanisms for their resolution. In this respect, the summit did not turn out to be a breakthrough in resolving pressing issues. However, it demonstrated that no issue will ever be resolved if the parties abandon dialogue and compromise.

The results of Russia's efforts at the summit include the signing of a large set of bilateral agreements between public and private bodies. The summit also demonstrated that Russia is actively and successfully stepping up cooperation with Latin American countries and enhancing its multi-format collaboration with the BRICS nations, particularly with China and India.

It is both curious and telling that the media was most interested in the meetings held by Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, and Donald Trump. However, we should mention the different approaches of these heads of state. For example, the President of the United States demonstrated that his country was not especially interested in following the established rules and was far more concerned about retaining the right to develop new rules of the game independently of other participants in international relations. Meanwhile, China's and Russia's leaders spoke about cooperation and compromise both in their joint meetings held in various formats and in their conversations with other heads of state. Additionally, the fact that the world is changing rapidly was recognized at the summit, meaning that the rules of the game can and should be changed and that new rules need to be formulated, but only through collaboration and compromise.

The heads of state also appealed to the IMF and the World Bank to work towards improving the economic situation in various countries and increasing the transparency of their work in interacting with states. This should help reduce sovereign debt and ensure that the recommendations offered by international financial institutions in individual states are implemented more effectively.

In addition, the leaders of the G20 countries concluded that responses need to be developed to current and future challenges in the development of the WTO and attempts should be made to avoid excessive contradictions, sanctions and tariff restrictions. The parties also agreed that the WTO needs to be reformed for it to work more efficiently. This aspect will be considered at the next summit in Japan.

Interestingly, virtually all countries supported multi-laterality, confirmed their commitment to the rules of international trade and agreed that efforts to overcome crisis trends in the global economy should be stepped up in order to avoid a repetition of the 2008 global crisis. The final declaration states that the global economic growth is increasingly less synchronized between countries, which entails risks to economic security, particularly given geopolitical tensions and financial unpredictability. To overcome this problem, it is important to step up interaction and increase trust among all parties in international relations.

The G20 states also announced that it was necessary to continue joint work on studying the impact that the digitalization of economy has on the global tax system, which needs to be adapted to current conditions by 2019 (final decisions on the matter will be elaborated and published in 2020).

Thus, the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires once again demonstrated the significance of the mechanisms of dialogue and achieving compromise based on constant information exchange between countries. The compromise-based approach was officially adopted as the foundation of all agreements, and was the leitmotif of the event. Given the circumstances, an increasing number of states recognize their significance as participants in international relations and, with each passing year, they strive to more forcefully state their stance on the most sensitive issues. Clearly, the Russian Federation wholeheartedly welcomes this trend.

Therefore, it should be noted that the recent summit in Argentina demonstrated that the G20 is just that – a group of countries – and not a political club. This fact increases its significance as an organization exhibiting a multilateral, multi-format and pluralistic nature of today's international relations. Active discussions in such a format confirm the relevancy of multipolarity and the current processes of reconfiguring the world. In such circumstances, Russia can most fully implement its interests and convey its vision of international matters. An analysis of the volume of news reports in the European media is quite telling in that it proves that EU journalists were primarily interested not so much in meetings of heads of EU states, but in meetings with the participation of the leaders of Russia, China and the United States, meaning that EU representatives were running second in the newsfeeds of many news agencies. Thus, the results of the summit allow us to state that there has been a significant increase in the international community's attention on Russia.

First published in our partner RIAC

India at forefront of creating future-oriented policies: Poddar (Индия на первых рядах создания политики, ориентированной на будущее, говорит Поддар) / India, December, 2018
Keywords: top_level_meeting, quotation
2018-12-07
India
Source: www.dailypioneer.com

Rajya Sabha MP Mahesh Poddar highlighted on the impact the Industrial Revolution would have on businesses, governments and people at the BRICS Political Parties Plus Dialogue in Pretoria on Thursday.

He also informed the audience about how the Narendra Modi government has been instrumental in pioneering Artificial Intelligence in India.

Poddar represented BJP in Johannesburg, South Africa at the BRICS Political Parties Plus Dialogue and reaffirmed India's commitment to upholding multilateralism and working together on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals 2030.

"India is at the forefront of creating future-oriented technology policies, and is demonstrating innovative ways to harness the power of technology for the individual as well as for human society.

To further its success in this capacity, the centre for the fourth industrial Revolution India has been developed in partnership between the government of India and the world economic forum," he said.

Poddar spoke on the challenges and opportunities of the 4th industrial revolution. The BRICS Political Part Plus Dialogue 2018's agenda was 'Inclusive development and multilateralism in the 4th Industrial Revolution'.

It was convened during the centenary on the birth of Nelson Mandela and Albertina Sisulu. Tributes were paid by the delegation heads of each country for their tireless work for freedom from exploitation and apartheid colonisation. Delegates representing Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa came together to develop a common and shared approach, to deal with common economic and political challenges for strengthening multi-lateralism.

Over the course of three days, a host of topics were discussed and possible solutions were proposed.

Mahesh Poddar believed that the revolution can enhance comparative advantages, boost economic growth, and promote economic transformation of BRICS countries.

BRICS efforts needed to improve economic growth (Усилия БРИКС необходимы для улучшения экономического роста) / China, December, 2018
Keywords: top_level_meeting, speech, Cyril_Ramaphosa, economic_challenges
2018-12-06
China
Source: www.china.org.cn

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday called on the BRICS countries to work to improve economic growth and better the lives of people.

Ramaphosa was speaking at the BRICS political parties plus dialogue in Pretoria, which is being attended by the ruling parties of the BRICS countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - African former liberation parties and other fraternal parties.

"BRICS political parties must stay ahead of the curve and inform policy decisions as leaders of the countries meet around the world. This meeting is a great inspiration to our people, let us give them hope and live up to their expectations to create a better world order," said Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa encouraged the leaders to work towards shaping progressive perspectives to tackle global challenges. He emphasized that BRICS countries are committed to multilateralism, fair and open trade.

"We should use policy tools to achieve inclusive growth and stepping up the dialogue that must take place to increase confidence in the economic growth that the world requires," he said.

Ramaphosa said countries must seize technological advancement and use it to grow economies and change the lives of the people.

South Africa's African National Congress (ANC) Secretary General Ace Mgashule called on the countries to work together for the economic growth of their countries and improve global economy.

He said countries must not complain about each other's economic potential but appreciate their economic potential.

"Ours is to facilitate trade for the maximum benefit of the majority of the people of the world," he said.

Song Tao, Director of International Liaison Department of the Communist Party of China, also addressed the BRICS political parties plus dialogue.

The three-day event will deliberate on economic development, multilateralism, the 4th industrial revolution, peace and stability.

Keynote Address by the Secretary General of the African National Congress CDE Elias Sekgobelo Magashule During the BRICS Political Parties Plus Dialogue Held in Pretoria South Africa (Выступление генерального секретаря Африканского национального конгресса CDE Элиаса Секгобело Магашуле во время диалога БРИКС +, состоявшегося в Претории, Южная Африка) / South Africa, December, 2018
Keywords: brics+, top_level_meeting, speech
2018-12-04
South Africa
Source: solomonstar.live

SHERATON HOTEL, TSHWANE

  • The Programme Directors
  • The President of the African National Congress and the Republic of South Africa Cde Cyril Matemela Ramaphosa
  • Members of the ANC National Executive Committee present here
  • The Chairperson of the ANC Subcommittee on International Relations Cde Lindiwe Zulu and all other members of the subcommittee present
  • The leader of the delegation of the Communist Party of China Cde Song Tao
  • The leader of the delegation of Bharatiya Janata Party, the
  • BJP of India Cde Mahesh Poddar
  • The leader of the delegation of the United Party of Russia (to participating in the dialogue through Skype and could not attend because of the Congress taking place)
  • The party of Brazil gave an apology (there is change of government after the recent elections and the party leadership is busy handing over to the new leadership) The leader of the delegation of the founding member of BRICS, the Workers Party of Brazil Cde Senator Gleisi Hoffman
  • The leader of the delegation of the founding member of BRICS, the Indian National Congress, Cde Bhubaneswar Kalita
  • Leaders of delegations of political parties from the African Continent
  • Leaders of delegations of the former Liberation Movements of the Southern African region (MPLA,FRELIMO, SWAPO, ZANU- PF, CHAMA- CHA MAPINDUZI)
  • Leaders of the delegations of all our leagues from the former liberation movements of the South African region, the Veterans, women and the Youth leagues.
  • Leaders of delegations of political parties from the Latin American region
  • Leaders of delegations of political parties from the Middle East region
  • Leaders of delegations of political parties from the Far East Asian region
  • The leadership of the revolutionary Alliance present, SACP, COSATU and SANCO.
  • All our invited guests
  • Members of the media
  • Comrades and compatriots
It is our great honour and privilege, to take the opportunity of this rare historic moment of the BRICS political parties plus dialogue, to welcome you to South Africa. We indeed welcome you back home to the cradle of mankind, the country which you yourselves have helped to reorganize through solidarity and internationalism.

In his prophetic terms, the late President of the ANC and the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Chief Albert John Mvumbi Luthuli observed that

" there will be enormous and peaceful changes in South Africa before the end of the century. People of all races would eventually live together in harmony because no one white, black or brown wants to destroy this beautiful land of ours. Women must play an increasingly important role in all areas of the life of the future. They were and remain the most loyal supporters in all our struggles. The big powers will eventually turn away from all of Africa, so we must dedicate ourselves from solving our own problems".

President Chief Albert Luthuli was one of the architects of the Freedom Charter, the blue print document which is the guiding torch of our struggle for a peaceful and a humane world, adopted during the historic gathering of the Congress of the People held in 1955.

The Freedom Charter sets out the basis of the better world we want for all humanity:

"There shall be peace and friendship,

South Africa will be an independent state, which respects the rights and sovereignty of all nations,

South Africa shall strive to maintain world peace and the settlement of all international disputes by negotiation and not war and that peace and friendship amongst all our people shall be secured by upholding equal rights, opportunities and status for all"

For those of us who live in the united, non-racial, non-sexist and democratic South Africa, we keep his memory alive because we live in the home that was designed and built by him. On behalf of the National Executive Committee of the African National Congress and its membership and the entire of the people of our country, from our Headquarters Chief Albert Luthuli House, we welcome you all to your own home South Africa.

We are grateful to host you in our country during the important year in the calendar of the struggle of our people for national liberation. The year of the centenary anniversary celebrations of two of our outstanding leaders of the struggle of our people, the Father of our Nation Tata Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela and the Mother of our Nation Mama Albertina Sisulu.

The two leaders belonged to a galaxy of heroic men and women of our country who dedicated their own lives for the freedom and dignity of our people. As a nation, we will forever be inspired by their selfless contribution towards the noble cause of our struggle for the emancipation of the people of the world.

The last rostrum of the BRICS political parties plus dialogue was held last year during the month of June at Fuzhou in the People's Republic of China under the theme" Pooling Wisdom and Efforts Towards Common Development and a Brighter future". The focus was how to pool together the reservoir of our wisdom, learning from one another, to fulfill the tasks ahead for the aspirations of our common humanity.

More than fifty political parties from the vast spectrum of the human race representing more than two thirds of the world population, gathered at the historic site of the ancient Chinese Archipelago. Its profundity was the impetus of the growing momentum to renew our common effort for the building of a new better world for all our people.

A Common Agenda and the 4th Industrial revolution

This year we are gathered here in the Capital city of Tshwane,Gauteng Province, South Africa, under the theme" Towards Building a Common Agenda, Inclusive

Development and Multilateralism in the 4th Industrial Revolution". The theoretical debate itself represents a great quantum leap in opening the horizons of knowledge in our protracted journey for the better future of human society.

The present historical epoch is the era of the 4th industrial revolution as there were others before, the first, the second and the third, as society moves from the lowest economic formation to the highest, not withstanding the historical facts that society has always been organised in terms of how it produces its food and how it allocates the fruits of those who labour.

The history of human civilization demonstrates that global economic map has always been in the state of becoming and as is never finished, but in the process of its becoming the new does not obliterate the old.

In the early stages of development of human society, there was an agrarian revolution which led to the second industrial revolution. The new demands of the agrarian revolution gave birth to industrial revolution which in the order of things was about innovation and therefore accelerating the pace for human efficiency and productivity.

The third was the epoch of the information superhighway (information technology) which has brought the 4th industrial revolution as society advances forward. The 4th industrial revolution has new technological capabilities of producing machines which posses human intelligence hence called artificial intelligence.

The demands of the third industrial revolution has ushered the world of humanity into the new trajectory of the 4th industrial revolution. This new frontier continues to define the historical necessity of the improvement of productive forces through stages of the development of human society.

Over the years there have been major breakthroughs in the order of the productive relations which have unleashed significant improvement of the living standards of the millions of the people of the world. Therefore the new era of the 4th industrial revolution is a continuation of another paradigm shift reshaping the course of human history.

The more society moves forward, the greater the advancements, the greater scope and depth to deepen our understanding of the material conditions we find ourselves. All human endeavors in the frontier of new technologies, business models, social organisation and industries have made renewed reconnection in the links of the preceding generations.

What is important is how do we manage the negative impact of the artificial intelligence on the bulwark of the unskilled and semi skilled workforce around the world especially in the developing countries. The dominant view is how to ensure that we transform the new epoch of the 4th industrial revolution to serve the needs of the overwhelming majority of the people of the world.

Ours is the movement forward to follow the great footsteps of our common ancestors in our long walk to the top of the mountain peak of civilization. We are rejuvenating the great path of the ancient routes of trade and human relations which have made the world to be what it is today.

Since antiquity major trade routes have been developed to transport goods from places of production to the places of commerce. Scarce commodities available only in certain geographical location of the world such as salt, spices, gold and copper, were the driving force of converging the nations of the world together and at the same time becoming the breeding grounds of new ideas, knowledge and culture.

The famous Silk route that linked the major ancient civilizations of China and the the Roman Empire, the spice route which brought flavor from the East Indies to the major industrial centers of Europe, The Incense route which domesticated camel making supply of Frankincense and myrrh (products of trees to make perfume) from the Arabian peninsula of the present Yemen and Omar to Roman, Greek and Egyptian empires.

The precipitous Tea- Horse route supplying tea from China to India, the Salt route that expanded trade from Rome into the Adriatic coast, the Trans- Saharan Trade route from North Africa to West Africa supplying gold and cooper into the Arabic peninsula and the Tin route supplying bronze and Iron from the Northern Europe into the Mediterranean peninsula.

Even if the discovery of the Americas and the passage to the East Indies by the Cape of Good Hope are the two greatest and the most important events recorded in the history of mankind. The new voyagers of discovery at the time were the continuation of these great historical strides of human development.

The debate is of time in memorial, even today, some of the economic historians of the world are still arguing as to when the first global economic trade was born. Even the Greek philosopher Plato states in his writings that people established themselves around the seashores of the Mediterranean Sea, like the frogs which do the same around the water.

Unity of developing countries

Together we share a proud history of ideological work that has sought to clarify the reading of our individual histories, interpretation of our present and our aspirations and utopia. This is the bond which has kept the unity of the developing and emerging countries together during the difficult dark period of oppression, domination and mechanization of imperialism.

The expanded influence and sphere of the BRICS Political Parties Plus has become an important platform to reposition all progressive forces of the world to renew their bonds, strengthening solidarity, deepening ideological cohesion and consolidating governments cooperation on the basis of mutual respect, territorial independence and sovereignty. BRICS has become the hope of progressive internationalism and solidarity for all of humanity.

The momentum resonates with the spirit of the South to South Cooperation of the historic Afro- Asian Solidarity Conference held during the year 1955 in Bandung Indonesia, of ensuring that the progressive of humanity continues to be a powerhouse within the arena of the global socio economic relations. Indeed the coming together of the Brics political parties plus of the countries of the African continent, South East Asia, Latin America, Euro Asia and South Asia is a tremendous achievement for the fulfillment of all our endeavors for human progress.

We see prospective opportunities in the outreach programme of rebuilding the old lines of solidarity across the oceans in the shared commitment to change the world for the well-being of humanity. In these outreach programmes we see the possibilities of rebuilding revolutionary programmes such as the Organization of Solidarity amongst the peoples of Africa, Asia and Latin America (OSPAAL) and the Afro- Asian Peoples Solidarity Organisation (AAPSO).

The BRICS Political Parties Plus is an important platform to fashion the idea of an economic power block championed by one of the founding fathers of the African liberation movement

President Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, of the United People's Republic of Tanzania, of adopting a new international economic order. Our effort of fashioning the new world order is occasioned by the realities which are abundantly clear that the post Second World War order has not worked for all and has not worked for the people from the developing and emerging countries.

The new trajectory of the post Second World War order is a mantle bestowed upon us by centuries of struggle against imperialism, colonialism and neoliberal globalization. This is a process which has manifested itself with the characteristic features of replicating the centre periphery and reproduction of the richer few and poverty, disease and underdevelopment for the overwhelming majority of the people of the world.

To shape society we need to think about the origins of what is now passing, we need to think about the origins of globalization, its promise, its rise and gradual collapse from the mid nineties. If we do not focus on that majestical appearance, rise, hesitation and fall, we may not understand what has happened to us, whether good or bad and where we are now.

We need to look carefully at the other forces that are increasingly setting the pace today, from irregular warfare to NGOs, to invigorated nation states, from the reappearance of genocides, racism, gender stereotypes and hidden forms of inflations, to a new practical interest in ethics and positive forms of nationalism and citizenry. All we can attest is that much of this is exiting, some of it dangerous and but all of it is real.

The rising irresponsible nationalism might have been as a result of the influence from the nineteenth century economist Herbert Spencer who formulated the concept of the survival of the fittest capitalism which Charles Darwin eventually borrowed in his explanation of the evolution of the natural selection. Their firm believe together with Eugenics movement is that it is the duty of the economically strong to drive the economically weak to extinction, the drive which is the secret of the strength of capitalism.

Their notion is that all remedial sound welfare measures simply prolong and expand human agony by increasing the population which will simply die of starvation. The rising phenomenon of irresponsible nationalism believes in the extinction of the weakest which is against the world rhythm of building solidarity and internationalism of the 21st century.

To shape society we need to think about the origin of what is passing through the historical period of the development of human society. We have to wake ourselves from the doldrums of the dangers of some of the irresponsible nationalism spearhead by some of the powerful economies of the world.

The world is confronted by the wave of irresponsible nationalism which seeks to undermine the order of things. Therefore it is our task to build a global trade freed of narrow nationalism, interest and inhibiting regulations to derive more value added export.

Such balanced trade between nation states will in turn unleash broad economic tide of growth for the mutual benefit of all our people. The tidal wave will in turn rise all ships, including that of the poor, whether is in the developed or the developing world.

At the same time as society evolves through these stages of development there are swift changes which are equally impacting on its political, social and economic structure. An unseen and fearful revolution is taking place in the fiber and structure of society.

In today realities of the world, the nation states cannot wish away the global markets and equally global markets cannot wish away the nation states. What is there is to manage the potential friction of the two for maximum output and outcome.

Therefore we are gathered here to appreciate each other competitive advantages and not to complain about each economic potential. Ours is to facilitate trade for the maximum benefit of the majority of the people of the world.

The two have been collaborating harmoniously along side each other over centuries of human civilization. The harmonious relationship of the market forces and the nation state is the best form of pragmatism.

Our struggle into the new era of the 4th industrial revolution is amongst the important birthmarks of a society in the making. The future of our ideal society is at the mountain peak and we have carry one another to the mountain top with all the magnitude of our determination to create a better world for all.

It is for the best interest of the future generations to renew our bonds of solidarity and internationalism in this hostile world dominated by the greed of capitalism. There is a growing offensive to undermine the progressive movement across the world especially in the former colonies and semi colonies.

Therefore our task is to strengthen our people to people relations and share our experiences and lessons on how to build the capacity of our movement to respond to the challenges of our time. We also need to deepen our ideological and theoretical understanding for the common good of unity and cohesion of our movement and the people.

We need to foster our capacities on invest more on the future potentiality of our young generation. The young people are the future of humanity.

The African population is gradually becoming youthful and is therefore important that we inculcate in them the true traditions and culture of our movement. The liberation movement in general has abandoned its political responsibility of infusing political education and preparing our youth as future leaders of society.

We need to take advantage of the rising number of the population of young people in the continent and to equip them with requisite skills and create more economic opportunities through your much needed investment. We need to see more opportunities for investment to rebuild our continent which will help to create more decent jobs and fight poverty and underdevelopment.

Our women have suffered triple oppression, firstly as a gender, secondly as black and thirdly as workers. BRICS formations must be more exemplary in engendering its programmes for transformation.

The leadership role of women is a precondition for all our endeavors for the creation of a better world. Therefore our struggle without the involvement of women will always remain incomplete.

Our struggle is also about solidarity with the oppressed people of the world. We therefore call for the speedy resolution of the Palestinian question and the struggle for the independence of the SAHARAWI people.

We also call for the immediate end of the decade long economic blockade against the people of Cuba. The blockade is a crime against humanity

To achieve this ideal milestones we have to work for the transformation of the multilateral institutions such as the security council, world bank, international monetary fund, world health organization, world food organization and other related institutions. This is the only meaningful way to build the world of peace and prosperity.

These are the tasks we have set for ourselves to achieve. These are the tasks we want to achieve during our lifetime.

We hope you will have fruitful deliberations during the three days dialogue. We hope you will enjoy our warm reception and the beautiful Ubuntu of the people of our country.

Productivity is generated by knowledge and information, powered by information technology.

We thank you
ANC satisfied that Brics dialogue met its objectives (АНК выразил удовлетворение тем, что диалог БРИКС достиг своих целей) / South Africa, December, 2018
Keywords: top_level_meeting, political_issues
2018-12-06
South Africa
Source: www.sabcnews.com

The African National Congress (ANC) says it is satisfied the Brics Political Party Dialogue has met the objectives it has set itself to achieve. The three-day meeting which ended in Pretoria earlier on Thursday was called to discuss the rise in hyper-nationalism and the assault on multilateralism.

The dialogue also focussed on the inclusive economic development, peace and stability.

President Cyril Ramaphosa opening the dialogue said, "We are indeed honoured as South Africa to be hosting this important dialogue between the leading political parties that constitute Brics."

The gathering was called to come up with a common approach to tackle global economic and political challenges and strengthen multilateralism. It was opened by President Ramaphosa on Tuesday and closed by ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule earlier on Thursday.

Magashule says the success of their meeting will be judged by the implementation of the resolutions adopted.

"The entire delegates are very happy and we have looked at the challenges of the world. It is going to depend on how we implement practically the programme of action we have actually adopted, to ensure that the people of Cuba, Western Sahara and Venezuela, the embargoes and issues of tarrifs. We are very confident that the progressive forces are going in the right direction."

A representative from the Paletinian Liberation Organisation -PLO used the occasion to call on Brics countries not to recognise the Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel.

"In the name of Palestine, I would like to call on all your countries not to recognise the Israeli illegal annexation of Jerusalem and the removal of the embassy to Jerusalem as the US has done and is now forcing everyone through blackmail to do that. We would like to end the seizures in Gaza and we would like to send a message that power politics will not prevail … that oppression will not prevail and the exceptionalism will not prevail. "

Reading out their five page declaration document, ANC NEC member Malusi Gigaga reiterated their stance against the emergence of the uni-polar system of governance and elaborated on their programme of action to ensure closer cooperation amongst Brics countries.

He also said they have resolved to consolidate trade and investment between regional trade formations in their respective continents.

"We should ensure that the core members of Brics facilitate and consolidate trade and investment between Brics and regional formations in their respective continents. Brics Political Parties Plus must intensify intra-regional trade including advancement of economic solidarity. Brics Political Parties Plus must design a policy framework which is supportive of the SMME and cooperative sectors … since they are the largest employers in any economy."

The next Brics Political Parties Plus Dialogue will be held in China in 2020.

Russian Parliament Speaker visits India to expand bilateral economic partnership; coop in BRICS, SCO (Спикер российского парламента посещает Индию для расширения двустороннего экономического партнерства; сотрудничества в БРИКС и ШОС) / India, December, 2018
Keywords: top_level_meeting, partnership
2018-12-09
country
Source: economictimes.indiatimes.com

MPs from India and Russia will hold brainstorming session on Monday here on expanding bilateral economic partnership with India in areas of agriculture and energy with support from respective Parliaments.

The session is being held on the occasion of visit of Russian Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Viktorovich Volodin. He is no stranger to India but this is his maiden visit in the current capacity.

Last visit of the state duma speaker to India was in 2015. During the past two years Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan travelled to Russia twice. Last time she guest of honour and was invited to speak at the Duma comprising 450 MPs.

Volodin will also meet PM Narendra Modi and Vice President Venkaiah Naidu. Together with Mahajan they will chair 5th meeting of the Russian-Indian inter parliamentary commission.

Two speakers will discuss inter parliamentary cooperation, including in international parlamentary organizations. They will touch upon development of parlamentary dimension of BRICS and SCO.
Global political ructions in the spotlight at BRICS gathering (Глобальные политические разногласия в центре внимания на встрече БРИКС) / South Africa, December, 2018
Keywords: top_level_meeting, political_issues
2018-12-04
South Africa
Source: www.news24.com

President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers his closing remarks at the Brics Summit in Johannesburg. (File, Photo: Deaan Vivier, Netwerk24)
The politics of protectionism, backward governments and narrow nationalism were rejected in favour of multilateralism and openness at the BRICS political parties plus dialogue on Tuesday.

The event, which took place in Pretoria, was attended by 200 delegates from BRICS nations and leaders of former liberation movements in Africa.

ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa delivered an opening address and the party's secretary general, Ace Magashule, delivered the keynote speech.

Ramaphosa called on delegates to look for ways to reverse the rise of "narrow and extreme nationalism", which he said were taking root across parts of the country.

"This we must do because narrow nationalism serves only to undermine the rules based on a multilateral system of global governance," Ramaphosa said.

He also warned about the impact of rising nationalism across the globe.

"When extreme nationalism rises, so does that potential for one country or a small group of countries to arrogate to themselves the right to determine the fate of the entire world," he said.

Irresponsible nationalism

Reiterating some of the governing party's sentiments, Magashule said the world was confronted by "irresponsible nationalism", which sought to undermine the order of things.

"It is our task to build a global trade free of narrow nationalism which seeks to undermine the order of things."

Dr Vyacheslav Tetekin, of the Communist Party of Russia hailed the growing partnership of BRICS countries as an indication that a "unipolar world" was a thing "truly of the past", with forces from Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East challenging global domination of "old colonial powers".

He said BRICS countries represented a challenge to older powers and he accused them of using "economic blackmail", "information genocide" and "military interventions".

"Production power of BRICS countries surpasses those who built their prosperity on the plunder of human and mineral resources of the east and the south," said Tetekin.

Tetekin commented on ongoing protests over fuel prices in France and US President Donald Trump's trade wars, claiming these were signs that imperialist states were turning on their own people.

"The golden billion is dwindling into the golden hundred million," said Tetekin.

"Inequality is growing in those countries, whose leadership is always claiming to be champions of freedom, equality and brotherhood," he added.

Brazilian threat

Meanwhile, Gleisi Hoffman, president of the Workers' Party in Brazil, used the international platform to defend convicted former president Lula da Silva.

Da Silva is currently serving a 12-year prison term after being found guilty of corruption charges last year. The country recently elected Jair Bolsonaro as its new president.

Hoffman claimed the new leader of Brazil was out to kill communists in the country and accused the country's authorities of being at odds with global organisations such as the United Nations.

She also accused the judge and prosecutors who put Da Silva away of being aligned to small oligarchy families and serving narrow agendas.

Hoffman said Bolsonaro posed a threat to the BRICS partnerships that had been established.

"We believe that all solidarity movements around the world can help us. Bolsonaro is not only a threat to Brazil and the Latin World but to the world and multilateralism," said Hoffman.
Ramaphosa calls for Brics 'common agenda' to promote growth and unity (Рамафоса призывает принять «общую повестку дня» БРИКС для содействия росту и единству) / South Africa, December, 2018
Keywords: top_level_meeting, quotation, cyril_ramaphosa, sustainable_development
2018-12-04
South Africa
Source: www.timeslive.co.za

President Cyril Ramaphosa has urged delegates from Brics countries to find methods of building inclusive growth, multilateralism and unity - while warning against imperialism and oppression.

He was speaking at the Brics political parties dialogue in Pretoria on Tuesday. The event brings together 200 delegates from Brics member states and other fraternal parties from the continent.

"We seek to find the best ways and methods towards building what we could call a common agenda, which is about inclusive growth and multilateralism in the fourth industrial revolution," said Ramaphosa.

"We are bound by our duty to the billions of people we collectively lead to discuss vigorously our common economic and political challenges with a view of developing an approach to deal with these challenges in the framework of Brics."

Ramaphosa said political leaders had a responsibility to forge unity among their countries and act "in concert to make the world a better place for all to live in".

"We must at a political level do two things: firstly, agree on a common frame of reference from which we conduct a proper analysis of the world we live in; and secondly, actively work to change it for the better," he said.


"As political parties, we must frown upon forces that promote processes that seek to perpetuate any form of imperialism or chauvinism - and any form of oppression of one by another.

"We must also enhance the competitive advantages that each of our countries have. All of our five countries have a number of competitive advantages. We should also boost economic growth and promote economic transformation."

The dialogue will continue until Thursday.
ANC to host dialogue for Brics governing parties in Tshwane (АНК проведет диалог для правящих партий БРИКС в Цване) / South Africa, December, 2018
Keywords: top_level_meeting, political_issues
2018-12-03
South Africa
Source: www.timeslive.co.za

The ANC will on Tuesday host hundreds of delegates from governing parties within Brics to discuss solutions to economic and political challenges in each country.

According to Lindiwe Zulu, who was speaking at Luthuli House on Monday, the Brics political parties plus dialogue will bring together 200 delegates from Brics member states and other fraternal parties from the continent.

"The Brics dialogue will explore common approaches to address economic and political challenges, as well as potential threats that confront Brics member states," said Zulu.

"The ANC sees this programme as part of promoting, advancing and strengthening multilateralism ... It is envisaged that the dialogue will reach an agreement encapsulated in the Johannesburg Declaration."

She was speaking in her capacity as the party's chairperson of the international relations subcommittee.

The dialogue is to be held from December 4 to 6 at the Sheraton Hotel in Tshwane.

Investment and Finance
Investment and finance in BRICS
A Flourishing Partnership (Процветающее партнерство) / South Africa, December, 2018
Keywords: trade_relations, economic_challenges
2018-12-03
South Africa
Source: infobrics.org

China is South Africa's biggest trade partner globally

Over the past two decades, bilateral relations between the two countries have gone from strength to strength, quickly growing from a partnership to a strategic partnership to what is now a comprehensive strategic partnership (CSP). The CSP, signed in 2010, prioritises enhancing frequent high-level political exchanges and advancing trade and investment. To this end, bilateral mechanisms such as the Bi-National Commission, Joint Working Group, and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue have been established to facilitate and enhance political interests and economic objectives.

It is worth noting that the most recent people-to-people exchanges between China and South Africa took place when China designated 2014 as the Year of South Africa in China. Similarly, South Africa designated 2015 as the Year of China in South Africa. In April 2017, South Africa successfully hosted the first South Africa-China High-Level People-to-People Exchange Mechanism (PPEM). This is the latest addition to our structured bilateral mechanisms and the first PPEM China has with an African country. The PPEM focuses on 10 areas of cooperation including culture, education, health, sports and tourism. We expect to make even greater progress through this mechanism in the area of people-to-people exchanges.

Our bilateral relations are central to realising our socio-economic development agenda through our foreign policy as we increase our efforts to implement the National Development Plan, cooperating in the areas of trade and investment, agriculture, the environment and skills development.

During the past 20 years, South Africa and China also cooperated closely with international organisations and strongly supported each other in numerous global affairs. The friendship and mutual trust have been further deepened and strengthened.

In July, the South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, welcomed the General Secretary of China, Xi Jinping, amid his state visit to the country, ahead of the 10th BRICS Summit and discussions between the two heads of state regarding investment deals and memorandums took place. It was announced that China has promised financial investment in South Africa to the value of US$14.7-million (R196 billion). This would be a significant boost to Ramaphosa's international drive to raise US$100 billion in investment over the next five years. President Ramaphosa stated that sectors due to benefit from the foreign investment, include general infrastructure, ocean economy, green economy, agriculture and finance.

At the same joint-press conference, Jinping himself announced that China would take "active measures" to boost imports from South Africa to support the country's development agenda and priorities.

The state-owned China Development Bank has also agreed to lend US$2.5-billion (R33.7-billion) to the cash-strapped power utility, Eskom, to complete the coal-powered Kusile Power Station Project in Mpumalanga. And a US$300-million (R4-billion) loan from Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) will go to another ailing state-owned enterprise, Transnet.

The two loans deals were among 14 different agreements signed between the South African and Chinese government departments, SOEs and private companies after the Ramaphosa-Jinping official meeting.

The Daily Maverick reports that the Trade and Industry Minister, Rob Davies, explained to journalists that the measures which Jinping had agreed to take to boost South African imports included sending more buying missions to South Africa, with a focus on purchasing value-added goods from this country. Pretoria sees such measures as steps towards establishing a more balanced trade with China, rather than just exporting raw materials to that country, and importing Chinese manufactured goods.

As an example of the type of Chinese investment South Africa is looking for, Davies said is the launch of the R10-billion car factory built by the Chinese vehicle company BAIC in the Coega special economic zone near Port Elizabeth.

With an investment of US$800 million from BAIC, the joint-venture with South Africa's Industrial Development Corp is the single-largest Chinese investment on the African continent. With localised production, the plant will create 2 500 direct jobs and 10 500 indirect ones, and will significantly benefit the development of South Africa's auto-industrial chain, consolidating its position as Africa's number one automaker.

At its full capacity, it will generate an industrial added value of 12.4-billion yuan for vehicles and 6.2-billion yuan for auto parts. According to Xu Heyi, the Head of BAIC, more than 50% of the vehicles made in the plant will be exported, contributing to a trade volume of around 6.2-billion yuan to South Africa.

The BAIC plant is situated in the Coega Development Corporation Special Economic Zone. South Africa represents China's largest investment destination in Africa with an estimated accumulated Chinese Investment of over US$25 billion and South Africa's investments in China reaching US$660 million, mainly in beer and metals.

"What's special about the Chinese is when they make a commitment to invest, they're reliable and they make it happen," he said. Davies added that the Chinese TV and domestic appliance manufacturer, Hisense, would also be expanding its local production.

But he also disclosed that South Africa invests a lot more in China and other BRICS countries than they invest in South Africa and that this imbalance needed to be corrected. He said China's accumulated total investment in South Africa to date was about US$11 billion and that South Africa had invested a greater amount than that in China.

South Africa's investment imbalance with the other four BRICS countries as a whole was even greater. Total outward investment was about US$60 billion against only US$18 billion of inward investment. That's why he would be arguing at the BRICS Business Forum that BRICS needed to support more investment-led trade. If South Africa could expand its production capacity, it and other BRICS countries could also increase their manufacture of intermediate goods, which would boost trade in supply chains. Davies said about two thirds of world trade was now in such intermediate goods and that the focus needed to be on investment-led trade, not the other way around (as many economists advocate).

Economic gains

The news that China will invest in the local economy has supported some foreign inflows. South Africa's rand firmed more than 1% to a three-day best after President Cyril Ramaphosa said China would invest US$14.7-billion (R195 billion) in the local economy, spurring some offshore demand for the currency.

"The news that China would invest in the local economy has supported some foreign inflows," said a Senior Trader at Standard Bank, Oliver Alwar. "One of the low-hanging fruit for policymakers is boosting sentiment and the announcement by the BRICS envoys could tip the scales a little bit," said an Economist at ETM Analytics, Halen Bothma.

BRICS

Invited by China, South Africa joined BRICS in 2010 and since then, South Africa has been working closely with China under the BRICS framework. The country's BRICS membership? has enabled us to promote economic development through enhanced trade and investment, expand sectors in which our country holds a comparative advantage and even provide overseas investment opportunities for South African enterprises. BRICS also provides an opportunity to influence policymaking and alignment among developing countries to make the international economic system more inclusive while strengthening the global order and upholding the principle of multilateralism and the centrality of the United Nations.

One of the most important successes of the key achievements of BRICS that reflect the main benefits for South Africa include the first BRICS financial institutions that were created in 2014, namely: the New Development Bank and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement. These institutions are intended not only to complement the existing architecture, but also to additionally leverage the resources of the Global South to directly address the needs (and shortcomings in the existing architecture) of the Global South through mobilising its significant resource base (BRICS foreign reserves are estimated to be around US$4 trillion).

BRICS has been a platform for dialogues among experts/academics youth, businesspersons and others. South Africa values BRICS not only as an economic platform but as the voice for the voiceless mass. The diversity in BRICS in terms of political systems, societies and cultures makes it well-suited to foster new ways of engaging in international affairs.

South Africa has concluded a successful 10th BRICS Summit that was hosted by President Cyril Ramaphosa from the 25 – 27 July. In attendance were heads of state, Brazil, Russia, India and China and the South Africa Government, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Zambia, Angola, Senegal, Namibia, Jamaica, Uganda, Togo, Gabon, Argentina, the DRC, Botswana, Turkey, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

The 10th BRICS Summit was held under an extensive agenda, this was shown in the diversity of discussions—development, economic growth, prosperity, peace and security. According to the statement released by the Presidency, the BRICS countries are firmly in agreement on the need to safeguard and strengthen multilateralism. BRICS leaders committed to the full implementation of the United Nations' 2030 agenda for sustainable development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The bloc emphasised the need for BRICS countries to heighten cooperation in terms of peacekeeping. BRICS pledged to support African development, industrialisation, innovation and infrastructure development as contained in the NEPAD programmes and the African Union's Agenda 2063.

BRICS endorsed an initiative of enhancing BRICS cooperation in health through the establishment of a BRICS vaccine centre, which will promote research and development in the medical field. The bloc recognised the potential inherent in the tourism sector and in BRICS countries, then endorsed the development of a BRICS Tourism Track within BRICS. The leaders also agreed to women's empowerment by establishing a BRICS women's forum.

Members of the bloc also signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Collaborative Research on Distributed Ledger and Blockchain Technology in the context of the development of a digital economy.

Africa in focus

China's robust economic growth and rapidly expanding presence in global markets have greatly intensified its trade ties with sub-Saharan Africa. China's remarkable 10% average growth rate between 2000 and 2012 has fueled a steadily rising demand for oil, minerals and other primary commodities, many of which are abundant in sub-Saharan Africa.

The top 10 destination countries for foreign direct investment FDI) into Africa account for 77% and 75% of FDI in the region as a whole, both by the number of projects and capital investment respectively.

Much of China's outbound direct investment (ODI) in sub-Saharan Africa is closely linked to trade. Official figures from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) suggest that the ODI to sub-Saharan Africa reached US$2.52-billion in 2012 and US$3.4-billion in 2013. In 2012, the total stock of Chinese ODI was US$20 billion, yet this accounted for just 5% of the total inward foreign direct investment stock in Africa. Meanwhile, the importance of sub-Saharan Africa and Africa as a whole in China's total ODI stock remains below 5% and has not changed much since 2006. In other words, Africa has benefited from China's rising ODI outflows, but no more so than other regions.

Throughout sub-Saharan Africa, China is investing most heavily in energy and the extractive industries, a pattern similar to its investment strategy in other parts of the world. In West Africa, however, Chinese ODI is unusually concentrated in the transportation sector. From 2005 to 2012, the West African transportation sector received 36% of China's total ODI flows to the region, substantially higher than the 14% average worldwide. Transport equipment is overwhelmingly related to mineral extraction, a sector where Chinese firms are highly concentrated. Transportation was followed by the mining and metallurgy sector; with 32% of total regional investment also well above the 16% average worldwide. Energy attracted the third-largest share of Chinese ODI at 28%, lower than the 46% worldwide average.

China's economic involvement in Africa has taken many forms and information about its financial and trade ties to the continent is not always easily comparable to that of other countries. While official development assistance (ODA) is defined by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to include grants, interest-free loans and concessional loans, Chinese ODA includes the use of financing mechanisms that are outside the OECD's definition, such as export credits, natural-resource-backed credit lines, subsidies for private investment and so-called "mixed credits", which are combined concessional and market-rate loans. Therefore, African leaders and governments portray Chinese engagement in the region as positive because of China's contribution to infrastructure, which impacts the economy.

One of the most critical questions facing African policymakers as a whole and West African policymakers, in particular, is how to maximise the benefits of their increasingly tight financial and trade integration with China.

New Development Bank Aims to Have Loan Book of $40 Billion by 2027 (Новый банк развития намерен получить кредитную книгу на сумму 40 млрд. долларов к 2027 году) / China, December, 2018
Keywords: ndb, investments
2018-12-04
China
Source: infobrics.org

The New Development Bank (NDB) said it is eyeing a loan book of about $40 billion by 2027 and is aiming to tap into the masala bond market by 2019.

The bank is three and half years old and already has approved projects that cumulatively amount to $7.9 billion, which is a significant achievement, said Leslie Maasdorp, CFO and vice president, NDB

The NDB or BRICS Bank was set up by the five BRICS (Brazil, Russia, China, India, South Africa) countries. The multilateral lending bank has already built an asset under management (AUM) of $8 billion.

The projects are mainly environmental friendly, he said, adding that most of the projects to date are with sovereign guarantee. However, Maasdorp said the NDB has ambitious plans like lending to private sector.

The bank would be devoting about $1.5 billion per annum each to the BRICS countries and roughly about two-thirds of that would be devoted for projects of sovereign guarantee and rest to the private sector, Maasdrop added.

China and India Could be the World's Leading Economies in 2050 (Китай и Индия могут стать мировыми лидерами в 2050 году) / Switzerland, December, 2018
Keywords: rating, economic_challenges
2018-12-05
Switzerland
Source: infobrics.org

In a recent report published by the audit firm PwC, it appears that in 2050, China and India will respectively be the first and second world's leading economies in terms of GDP per capita, ahead of the United States of America relegated to the third place.

Another major information is that Germany (9th) and the UK (10th) will be the only European countries in the top 10 of that ranking. France will be out of that top 10 in which there will be more emerging countries like Indonesia (4th), Brazil (5th), Russia (6th) and Mexico (7th).

China and India made rapid progress in this ranking. Their economies supported by a strong population as well as a productive, competitive and disciplined system helped them greatly reduce their imports and accumulate savings to fund their long-term development.

PwC's ranking also suggests that BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) will be economically more powerful than the European Union. Even though it has the demographic potential and the underground resources, Africa seems not to be fit yet to contest in that battle.

Yet, it should take a real advantage from the change in the world economy thanks to its new relationships with the East (India, Japan, and China) and its presence in the BRICS. It is hard to guess how the West will react with this evolution on the basis of economic rules that its own leaders developed and implemented.

China has now become a real problem for the USA. In his bid to "make America great again", Donald Trump imposed customs tariffs on many products from the country and took measures which helped create a record number of jobs (3.4 million).

Yet, this performance and "found greatness" seems to profit China with which the trade deficit rose further at end October 2018.

Ecofin Agency

Brics must 'fight global domination by old colonial powers' (Брикс должен «бороться с мировым господством старых колониальных держав») / South Africa, December, 2018
Keywords: top_level_meeting, quotation, political_issues, economic_challenges
2018-12-04
South Africa
Source: citizen.co.za

The Donald Trump-led United States-China trade war, was "proof that imperialist forces are determined to retain global domination", according to Gennady Zyuganov, chairperson of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF).

In a message read yesterday to the Brics Political Parties Plus Dialogue by CPRF central committee member Slava Tetekin, Zyuganov said the US' use of sanctions as a political weapon contradicted "the declared freedom of trade, which for centuries was the Bible of the West".

"This shows their contempt to the international law they always claimed to defend.

"The creation of Brics is a symbol of changing times.

"For the first time in history a powerful group of countries representing three continents has emerged to protect the interests, not only of their population but of many other countries not prepared at this stage to challenge the global rule of the West," said Zyuganov.

The world, said Zyuganov, was "an eye-witnesses of the developments of truly historic significance".

He added: "The unipolar world is rapidly becoming a thing of a past.

"New forces emerging in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East are increasingly challenging the global domination of the old colonial powers, which are determined to retain control over the world by economic blackmail, information genocide and military interventions.

"The Brics countries represent the majority of the population of our planet.

"And productive power of these countries is surpassing that of those countries that have built their prosperity on the plunder of human and mineral resources of the East and South.

"As they are no longer able to continue this plunder due to historic changes started by the Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia in 1917, former masters of the world are turning on their own population."

He said the golden billion of the population was "dwindling into golden hundred million".

Zyuganov: "The inequality is growing in those countries whose leaders were always claiming to be the champions of freedom, equality and brotherhood.

"The current courageous struggle of the French people against the increase in petrol price, is an indication that the old order is collapsing even in the centers of this order.

"This is a very natural alliance. Russia is historically connected with China, India and South Africa by decades of common struggle against colonialism and subjugation.

"Brazil is an important partner of our country since the times when Latin America stopped to be the backward of the United States of America."

He added: "We wish the conference success in its deliberations and believe that the results of this important forum will be a major step in the liberation of mankind of the last vestiges of neocolonialism – a guiding star on the road to universal peace and prosperity."

China should deepen economic ties with BRICS countries amid global uncertainty: NDB vice president (Китай должен углублять экономические связи со странами БРИКС в условиях глобальной неопределенности - вице-президент НБР) / China, December, 2018
Keywords: ndb, quotation
2018-12-09
China
Source: www.globaltimes.cn

China should deepen its economic ties with BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries and continue to open up its financial market to serve as a cushion against rising global uncertainty especially the trade war with the US, Leslie Maasdorp, vice president and chief financial officer of the New Development Bank (NDB), told the Global Times over the weekend.

The BRICS countries have been very focused on deepening their collaboration in recent years and as each BRICS nation has unique comparative advantages, this cooperation is going to continue, Leslie said, speaking on the sidelines of the 7th Sanya Forum themed "China's reform and opening-up in a changing world" in Sanya, South China's Hainan Province.

The NDB is a multilateral development bank set up by the BRICS group of major emerging economics in 2014, with a focus on financing infrastructure development in emerging markets and developing countries.

"There are a lot of ways in which other BRICS countries can collaborate with China. For example, India excels in high-tech. South Africa has a strong commodity-based economy and a strong agriculture industry like wines, fruit and avocados. China is a potential market for these goods, and African companies are already looking much more aggressively into China," Leslie said. He is also representing South Africa as the vice president of NDB.

And the NDB, with its financing focus on clean energy and infrastructure, could also play a role in bringing closer cooperation in such sectors, according to Leslie.

China has been the largest trading partner of South Africa for nine consecutive years, with the bilateral trade volume reaching $39.17 billion in 2017, up 14.8 percent year on year, customs data shows. China has been the largest trading partner of Russia for eight consecutive years, and it is also the main trading partner of India and Brazil.

Considering the negative impact resulting from the China-US trade frictions, Leslie also suggested that China open up more of its financial markets, like financial services, insurance and bond and asset management to boost the economy and prepare for the next stage of qualitative growth.

"If the Chinese market is open to international competition, [the country] can have more capital inflows to further stimulate growth in China," he said, while also taking note of China's shift to a consumption-driven economy, which he said is supported by the large number of people in the middle class and bodes well for its economy in the next decade.

Regarding the NDB's future fundraising plans, Leslie said the multilateral financial institution is registering a 10-billion-yuan ($1.45 billion) Panda bond (issued in the yuan) program over the next two years, and will make the first issue under the program in the first quarter of 2019.

Despite some recent fluctuations in the yuan against the US dollar since trade tensions ramped up, the Shanghai-based institution will continue to raise funds in yuan because "we believe China has deep and liquid capital markets," Leslie said.

Currency fluctuations in emerging markets are cyclical and a natural part of the business cycle, he added. "Emerging markets like China have fundamentally been transformed. They're now the largest contributor to global growth, and most of the foreign exchange reserves reside in emerging markets."

The NBD has so far provided loans to several infrastructure projects in China, including an offshore wind project in East China's Fujian Province and a solar photovoltaic project in Shanghai.

G20 ever more important for global economic governance, says QNB (G20 все важнее для глобального экономического управления, считает QNB) / Qatar, December, 2018
Keywords: g20, rating, economic_challenges
2018-12-08
Qatar
Source: www.gulf-times.com

As large emerging market (EM) economies catch up and continue to grow faster than major advanced economies, the G20 dynamics evolve, making it an ever more important arrangement for global economic governance, QNB has said in an economic commentary.

The recent detente in bilateral trade between the US and China, agreed last week during the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires, is just the latest expression of both the new dynamics and overall importance of the forum.

"The G20 has indeed gone a long way from its origins in the late 1990s and is set to become even more central as global economic convergence takes place. Our analysis focuses on the underlying economic factors behind the G20 growing influence," QNB said.

The G20 is an international forum for the governments and central bank governors of some of the largest economies in the world, deemed of systemic significance for the international financial system.
Membership includes 19 countries and one bloc, the European Union, represented by the European Commission and the European Central Bank. Member countries are comprised of the traditional G7 countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the US), Brics countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), MIST countries (Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, and Turkey), Argentina, Australia as well as Saudi Arabia.

Taken together, the G20 makes up more than 90% of the world economy. While this number has been stable since the official creation of the group in 1999, the economic clout of different countries within the group has changed dramatically. Indeed, the strength of the G-7 has dwindled, while large EM economies, led by the Brics and MIST countries, have increased substantially.

Curiously, the G20 was initially conceived by the G7 countries to tackle international financial stability issues associated with the spillover of EM balance of payment and debt crisis in the late 1990s. Back when the G20 was created, EM economies were still seen as the most important sources of international financial crisis. However, perceptions changed significantly after the Great Financial Crisis (GFC) of 2007-09, when the G20 was chosen as the preferred forum for a co-ordinated response to the crisis. The status of the G20 has then changed and activities started to include a summit of heads of state or government.

The 2009 G20 London Summit was a watershed moment for global economic co-ordination, as member states pledged to mobilise $1.1tn to support trade finance and international financial organisations.

Since then, the G20 evolved to become the premier forum for discussing, planning and monitoring the global economy. Importantly, EM members of the G20 started to be seen as equal partners or part of the solution to the crisis originated in the advanced economies rather than sources of financial problems.

The change in the status of the EM economies within the G20 was and still is mostly associated with their economic performance and growing influence in both global activity and finance. While the G7 countries represented 73% of the nominal GDP of the G20 (in dollar terms) when the forum was created, this number has shrunk to 60% during the peak of the GFC and now hovers around 50%.
In contrast, EM economies increased their GDP share within the G20 from the initial 15% to 25% in the peak of the GFC to the current 34%. Large Brics and MIST countries spearheaded the way.
China, India, Indonesia, Turkey, South Korea and Russia were the G20 growth champions over this century. Under their leadership, the Brics and MIST were able to expand respectively 8.6 and 2.4 times faster in nominal terms (dollar) than G7 countries.

The Brics currently represents around 27% of the G20 economies, while the MIST represents nearly 5%.

Over the next five years, the International Monetary Fund estimates that the Brics and MIST are going to continue to grow faster than the G7 economies. From 2019 to 2023, the Brics and MIST are expected to grow respectively 2.2 and 1.8 times faster than the G7 economies, representing 31% and 6% of the G20 USD nominal GDP, respectively.

In short, QNB noted global economic convergence is expected to continue and the importance of the G20 as a forum for governance is set to increase accordingly, as key EM economies become systemically significant for financial stability and global growth.
Political Events
Political events in the public life of BRICS
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's speech and responses to questions at the International Volunteer Forum, Moscow, December 3, 2018 (Выступление и ответы на вопросы Министра иностранных дел России C.B.Лаврова на Международном форуме добровольцев, Москва, 3 декабря 2018 года) / Russia, December, 2018
Keywords: mofa, speech, sergey_lavrov
2018-12-03
Russia
Source: www.mid.ru

Dear friends,

I am pleased to have this opportunity to address participants at the International Volunteer Forum, a dynamic and proactive group of people. I understand my compatriots are here, but also representatives from over 120 countries. I am also happy to welcome representatives from international organisations who encourage the volunteer movement.

I would like to say from the onset that we have seen that you have a powerful and infectious energy. A sympathetic approach to an issue and a willingness to come to the rescue have turned the volunteer movement into an important factor in uniting society, a tool for resolving urgent issues in various areas. I would like to express my deepest respect for your noble efforts.

The fact that you are here at the volunteer forum shows Russia's openness. We are invariably ready to develop the broadest possible cooperation with our foreign partners in all geographical areas and in all formats, based of course on consideration and respect for each other's interests.

Russia consistently stands up for the principles of international law, primarily the fundamental principles in the UN Charter such as equal rights for all people, sovereignty, non-interference in the domestic affairs of others, and the peaceful resolution of debate. Unfortunately, we are seeing a drifting away from these principles by a whole group of nations. They are trying to slow, if not reverse, the objective process of an evolving multi-polar world order which relies not on one or two poles but on several large poles, poles that are now objectively evolving.

Powerful centres of economic growth and financial influence are being established, and they include the potential to effect political relations on the global arena. It is this process that is being targeted in order to preserve a system that is historically dead, while trying to replace universal multilateral structures with bloc-based mechanisms that advance the policy of one group of nations to the detriment of others' interests. Thus, the premise of multilateral agency is being undermined, something that was enshrined, among other things, in the UN Charter and which was widely developed in past decades especially after the Cold War. In this sense your forum offers an example of true dialogue where people listen and heed, respect their partner's opinions, where they try to find a balance of interests rather than simply impose their view on their partners.

We are interested in boosting all areas of humanitarian contact. The fact that we are actively supporting contact between people is evident in our hosting of the Olympic Games in Sochi, the 29th World Festival of Youth and Students, the FIFA World Cup when millions of foreign fans and visitors came to see Russian cities and life in today's Russia. And also to see how the real picture of life in Russia differs from what is read in biased media outlets.

I would like to sincerely thank all the volunteers who have put their backs and hearts into helping to organise these major events in the Russian Federation. I have no doubt that the accumulated experience will be fully used by the volunteer movement in the future as an integral part of what we call public diplomacy. In 2020, the world will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Victory in World War II. For us, this means the Great Patriotic War, first and foremost. Now, the Volunteers of Victory National Public Movement is establishing the International Volunteer Team of the 75th Anniversary of Victory to contribute to the organisation of events dedicated to this great anniversary. We expect that volunteer organisations of our compatriots abroad will join this initiative.

I know that the UN General Assembly set the objectives of integrating volunteering into the causes of peace and development. In accordance with these decisions, volunteering has already become an important tool for the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. We are aware of your contribution and appreciate it.

The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme remains the key contributor to global volunteering. It is gratifying that volunteers in 126 countries, where 30 UN agencies work, take part in its work. Volunteers actively help to implement projects aimed at strengthening peace and security, protecting the climate, providing basic services to the population, including in the field of primary health care, fighting various infections, developing education, reducing poverty, and much more.

Russia actively encourages the volunteer movement. A network of volunteer associations has been formed, and volunteer support programmes have been launched. This year, as you know, was declared the Year of the Volunteer in our country. We want to see Russian volunteers being represented as widely as possible at multilateral venues and having opportunities for greater interaction and experience sharing with colleagues from other countries.

In July 2018, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation and the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme signed an agreement to implement a joint innovative volunteering project. The Memorandum of Financing involves the participation of 20 volunteers from Russia in the activities of the UN organisations in such areas as peaceful settlement, the creation of partnerships in social areas, environmental protection and much more. The selected Russians are sent to the states of the CIS, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East for a period of one year. I hope that they will share their experience when they return, and we will be able to put cooperation with UNV on a regular basis.

Another initiative to develop the volunteer movement, supported by the Foreign Ministry, is the Consolidation of the Volunteer Movement in the CIS project of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). A special account was set up to finance it, the so-called 'youth window' as part of the Russia-UNDP Trust Fund. It is our expectation that this practical project will also help bring together volunteer organisations in the CIS countries.

We continue to contribute to consolidating the international volunteer movement, among other things, by getting Russians involved in the common efforts to fulfil the 2030 agenda. In 2020, Russia will submit a national survey on progress in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). We would be happy if volunteers, as an integral part of Russian civil society, also participate in this work in addition to federal government agencies and business and academic circles.

Dear friends,

We are your allies in supporting the atmosphere of friendship and mutual understanding between nations. We are always open for a constructive dialogue with you. We will continue to encourage your initiatives.

In conclusion I would like to congratulate you on the occasion of International Volunteer Day coming in a few days. All the best to you.

Question: What is your attitude to the initiative of the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area to set up a volunteer humanitarian aid corps? This year this organisation was represented at forums held by the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation. Its goal is humanitarian missions to deliver food and basic necessities to Russian regions and abroad.

Sergey Lavrov: I do not have specific information on the subject but I always strongly support such initiatives. Currently, the Russian Humanitarian Mission, headed by well-known journalist Yevgeny Primakov, is working in the Middle East, primarily in regions inhabited by Christians but not only Christians. The mission gives priority to Christians because in recent years they have been leaving this region on a mass scale. There is a real danger that the Middle East and North Africa that were the cradle of Christianity, as well as of other world religions, will remain without this integral part of its peoples.

If you have projects for rendering humanitarian assistance to those who need it in other countries, do not hesitate to write to us. We will assist you in getting visas if required and help solve other logistical issues.

Question: We would like to organise legal education for volunteers. Will you help us?

Sergey Lavrov: As a citizen of the Russian Federation I one hundred percent agree with you. But, as you might understand, the Foreign Ministry can hardly be of assistance in this area.

You are right in raising this question. I believe that First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Administration Sergey Kiriyenko and his staff have heard you and will organise the legal education of volunteers, all the more so as today we are taking part in an event focused on the exchange of experience on these matters.

Question: There are 14th-16th-century maps on the Russian Geographical Society's website where our country is designated as Great Tartary. Is our country prepared to present its globalisation concept?

Sergey Lavrov: Our country, in particular the late Academician Yevgeny Primakov, was the first to have put forward this concept. Yevgeny Primakov did quite a lot for our foreign policy in his post as Foreign Minister and to preserve and make our Foreign Intelligence Service more effective when he was in charge of it, and, of course, as Prime Minister when the country was going through a very hard time, and also when he held other offices, including at the Russian Academy of Sciences.

It was he who after being appointed Foreign Minister in 1996, put forward a multi-polar world concept and proposed a new Russia-India-China format that has survived to this day. The day before yesterday, a regular top-level meeting in this format took place in Buenos Aires. This group of three countries is at the core of the BRICS organisation of like-minded people that was created to promote the globalisation concept on terms of equality, mutual respect and respect for one another's interests, rather than through dictating various decisions [to other countries], exerting economic pressure and imposing illegal sanctions.

The fact that the aggregate GDP of the BRICS countries, who are also members of the G20, has already exceeded that of the G7 countries means a lot. The creation of the Group of 20 countries that meets every year to address key challenges facing the world today also shows that the G7 countries are unable to take decisions concerning everyone in the world alone. They might want this but it's already impossible.

The BRICS countries have supporters among other G20 countries who are not members but who share our approaches and views, I mean, say, Mexico, Argentina and Indonesia.

As they say, dripping water wears away a stone. A multi-polar world is gradually forcing its way through not because someone has put forward a concept but because someone has seen the objective processes that cannot be stopped.

Question: Mr Lavrov, where does Motherland begin for you?

Sergey Lavrov: With my mother. I think this is obvious. My mother is still alive. May God keep her healthy. She turned 90 recently.

Question: I have lived in Russia for five years. My mother is Russian and my father is from Syria. Based on my roots, I would like to establish a Russian volunteer centre in Damascus. How realistic is this goal?

Sergey Lavrov: I believe it is quite realistic. You have my sincere support. There may be only one difficulty, which is security situation. Please explain your concept in writing and submit it through the International Volunteer Forum. I promise to read it personally and we will recommend things you can do.

Question: Are there any plans to adopt a document providing visa-free travel for volunteers?

Sergey Lavrov: I am absolutely in favour of this. The thing is that it is very difficult to establish criteria. Suppose we suggest that the world community should sign a treaty on visa-free travel for volunteers all over the world. I can tell you immediately that there will be a lot of questions from many countries. The main one is who will issue the document in addition to the passport which will give the right to visa-free travel?

We have signed and ratified one agreement with the European Union on facilitating the visa regime when the EU still saw its core interests in developing a strategic partnership with Russia, among other things. Then we agreed to sign another document which enumerated groups of people entitled to visa-free travel. It included journalists, human rights activists and participants of youth and academic exchange. However, that document did not have a direct effect and, sadly, did not come into force. If it had, then each of the groups I mentioned would have been to be interpreted. How do you decide if someone belongs to an academic or youth exchange? The agreement assumed that each trip would be preceded by sending a list which, for example, would be officially sent on behalf of our youth delegation to the European Union explaining that this delegation falls under the category of people who do not need visas. All this must be specified.

However, I am ready to support the idea of volunteer exchanges on extremely relaxed terms. Probably, it is easier to affirm or approve of this concept than to agree upon the concrete parameters of its implementation, especially now. People take advantage of many different situations. For example, many people join migrants from Africa and the Middle East going to Europe, even though these people have nothing to do with legal migrants who qualify for refugee status. They are either wealthy people or people with hostile intentions.

We should take every idea to its logical conclusion. I am ready to support this idea but at the moment I cannot see how we could get it to a point where it's functional.

Question: We were born in the Soviet Union. It also had volunteers but they were called Timurites, or members of Timur's Squad. Do you remember anything you did as a child that makes you proud and for which you could be called a Timurite?

Sergey Lavrov: I have never been an official member of Timur's Squads, and so I do not have a squad card. But I was an Octobrist, a Pioneer and a member of the Komsomol movement. My mother taught me to help the elderly and to stand up for them. When I lived in a village as a child, I helped bring water from a well or buy foods. But I was never a member of Timur's Squads.

Question: There is a special project under which couples will take care of orphans: they will set up special villages with separate houses for such families. The foster parents are trained to properly take care of orphans, after which they take eight or nine orphans and live with them in these special villages. However, there is not enough money for building and maintaining such villages and for training foster parents. There are about a hundred such villages across Russia. Where can they turn for government funding?

Sergey Lavrov: I think you should go to the Education Ministry. I know about this movement. I have a very good friend, a priest from Pushkin in the Leningrad Region, who has created a similar village. Both the children living there and their foster parents are happy. They feel that they are part of a very good and noble cause. They received funds from a private investor. I can help you contact them. He cannot finance all your projects, but he can tell you which methods you can use. Please, leave your phone number with the organisers, and he will call you.

Question: We have created a mobile application based on the neural network technology, which people can use to help each other. Could you consider this project and consult us on how to better promote it to our foreign colleagues from neighbouring countries?

Sergey Lavrov: I suggest that you start with proposals to launch this cooperation within the CIS. As soon as you are ready to work with your CIS colleagues, we will support you by proposing roundtable discussions where you can present your project.

Question: I have been living in Russia for 18 years. It is said that Russia is a land of opportunities. What opportunities does Russia offer to its people and to foreigners?

Sergey Lavrov: This is a question for you. I was born in Russia and feel at home here. It's terrific that you have felt good living here for 18 years. As for the details, we can discuss them.

Question: How do you deal with or hide your emotions?

Sergey Lavrov: There is always a place for emotions, but sometimes you must keep them in check. Sometimes you have to check your emotions even though you want to give them free rein.

Question: Who can we ask to open a Sberbank branch in Sevastopol or elsewhere in Crimea, so that we won't have to go to mainland Russia for the presidential grants?

Sergey Lavrov: I'm sure you know that I have nothing to do with banks. The government cannot order banks to work in the regions on which absolutely unfair sanctions have been imposed. Crimea and Sevastopol residents cannot receive Schengen visas. I suggest that you take your problem to the Presidential Executive Office and the financial bodies whose representatives are here. I wholeheartedly support your desire to have the same standard of living as other Russian citizens do.

Question: We often use volunteers from Georgia, who have had problems with Russian visas. Are there any forecasts for the improvement of relations with Georgia?

Sergey Lavrov: We not only have forecasts but also hard facts. Air service was restored between some cities in Georgia and Russia several years ago.Dear friends,

I am pleased to have this opportunity to address participants at the International Volunteer Forum, a dynamic and proactive group of people. I understand my compatriots are here, but also representatives from over 120 countries. I am also happy to welcome representatives from international organisations who encourage the volunteer movement.

I would like to say from the onset that we have seen that you have a powerful and infectious energy. A sympathetic approach to an issue and a willingness to come to the rescue have turned the volunteer movement into an important factor in uniting society, a tool for resolving urgent issues in various areas. I would like to express my deepest respect for your noble efforts.

The fact that you are here at the volunteer forum shows Russia's openness. We are invariably ready to develop the broadest possible cooperation with our foreign partners in all geographical areas and in all formats, based of course on consideration and respect for each other's interests.

Russia consistently stands up for the principles of international law, primarily the fundamental principles in the UN Charter such as equal rights for all people, sovereignty, non-interference in the domestic affairs of others, and the peaceful resolution of debate. Unfortunately, we are seeing a drifting away from these principles by a whole group of nations. They are trying to slow, if not reverse, the objective process of an evolving multi-polar world order which relies not on one or two poles but on several large poles, poles that are now objectively evolving.

Powerful centres of economic growth and financial influence are being established, and they include the potential to effect political relations on the global arena. It is this process that is being targeted in order to preserve a system that is historically dead, while trying to replace universal multilateral structures with bloc-based mechanisms that advance the policy of one group of nations to the detriment of others' interests. Thus, the premise of multilateral agency is being undermined, something that was enshrined, among other things, in the UN Charter and which was widely developed in past decades especially after the Cold War. In this sense your forum offers an example of true dialogue where people listen and heed, respect their partner's opinions, where they try to find a balance of interests rather than simply impose their view on their partners.

We are interested in boosting all areas of humanitarian contact. The fact that we are actively supporting contact between people is evident in our hosting of the Olympic Games in Sochi, the 29th World Festival of Youth and Students, the FIFA World Cup when millions of foreign fans and visitors came to see Russian cities and life in today's Russia. And also to see how the real picture of life in Russia differs from what is read in biased media outlets.

I would like to sincerely thank all the volunteers who have put their backs and hearts into helping to organise these major events in the Russian Federation. I have no doubt that the accumulated experience will be fully used by the volunteer movement in the future as an integral part of what we call public diplomacy. In 2020, the world will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Victory in World War II. For us, this means the Great Patriotic War, first and foremost. Now, the Volunteers of Victory National Public Movement is establishing the International Volunteer Team of the 75th Anniversary of Victory to contribute to the organisation of events dedicated to this great anniversary. We expect that volunteer organisations of our compatriots abroad will join this initiative.

I know that the UN General Assembly set the objectives of integrating volunteering into the causes of peace and development. In accordance with these decisions, volunteering has already become an important tool for the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. We are aware of your contribution and appreciate it.

The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme remains the key contributor to global volunteering. It is gratifying that volunteers in 126 countries, where 30 UN agencies work, take part in its work. Volunteers actively help to implement projects aimed at strengthening peace and security, protecting the climate, providing basic services to the population, including in the field of primary health care, fighting various infections, developing education, reducing poverty, and much more.

Russia actively encourages the volunteer movement. A network of volunteer associations has been formed, and volunteer support programmes have been launched. This year, as you know, was declared the Year of the Volunteer in our country. We want to see Russian volunteers being represented as widely as possible at multilateral venues and having opportunities for greater interaction and experience sharing with colleagues from other countries.

In July 2018, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation and the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme signed an agreement to implement a joint innovative volunteering project. The Memorandum of Financing involves the participation of 20 volunteers from Russia in the activities of the UN organisations in such areas as peaceful settlement, the creation of partnerships in social areas, environmental protection and much more. The selected Russians are sent to the states of the CIS, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East for a period of one year. I hope that they will share their experience when they return, and we will be able to put cooperation with UNV on a regular basis.

Another initiative to develop the volunteer movement, supported by the Foreign Ministry, is the Consolidation of the Volunteer Movement in the CIS project of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). A special account was set up to finance it, the so-called 'youth window' as part of the Russia-UNDP Trust Fund. It is our expectation that this practical project will also help bring together volunteer organisations in the CIS countries.

We continue to contribute to consolidating the international volunteer movement, among other things, by getting Russians involved in the common efforts to fulfil the 2030 agenda. In 2020, Russia will submit a national survey on progress in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). We would be happy if volunteers, as an integral part of Russian civil society, also participate in this work in addition to federal government agencies and business and academic circles.

Dear friends,

We are your allies in supporting the atmosphere of friendship and mutual understanding between nations. We are always open for a constructive dialogue with you. We will continue to encourage your initiatives.

In conclusion I would like to congratulate you on the occasion of International Volunteer Day coming in a few days. All the best to you.

Question: What is your attitude to the initiative of the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area to set up a volunteer humanitarian aid corps? This year this organisation was represented at forums held by the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation. Its goal is humanitarian missions to deliver food and basic necessities to Russian regions and abroad.

Sergey Lavrov: I do not have specific information on the subject but I always strongly support such initiatives. Currently, the Russian Humanitarian Mission, headed by well-known journalist Yevgeny Primakov, is working in the Middle East, primarily in regions inhabited by Christians but not only Christians. The mission gives priority to Christians because in recent years they have been leaving this region on a mass scale. There is a real danger that the Middle East and North Africa that were the cradle of Christianity, as well as of other world religions, will remain without this integral part of its peoples.

If you have projects for rendering humanitarian assistance to those who need it in other countries, do not hesitate to write to us. We will assist you in getting visas if required and help solve other logistical issues.

Question: We would like to organise legal education for volunteers. Will you help us?

Sergey Lavrov: As a citizen of the Russian Federation I one hundred percent agree with you. But, as you might understand, the Foreign Ministry can hardly be of assistance in this area.

You are right in raising this question. I believe that First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Administration Sergey Kiriyenko and his staff have heard you and will organise the legal education of volunteers, all the more so as today we are taking part in an event focused on the exchange of experience on these matters.

Question: There are 14th-16th-century maps on the Russian Geographical Society's website where our country is designated as Great Tartary. Is our country prepared to present its globalisation concept?

Sergey Lavrov: Our country, in particular the late Academician Yevgeny Primakov, was the first to have put forward this concept. Yevgeny Primakov did quite a lot for our foreign policy in his post as Foreign Minister and to preserve and make our Foreign Intelligence Service more effective when he was in charge of it, and, of course, as Prime Minister when the country was going through a very hard time, and also when he held other offices, including at the Russian Academy of Sciences.

It was he who after being appointed Foreign Minister in 1996, put forward a multi-polar world concept and proposed a new Russia-India-China format that has survived to this day. The day before yesterday, a regular top-level meeting in this format took place in Buenos Aires. This group of three countries is at the core of the BRICS organisation of like-minded people that was created to promote the globalisation concept on terms of equality, mutual respect and respect for one another's interests, rather than through dictating various decisions [to other countries], exerting economic pressure and imposing illegal sanctions.

The fact that the aggregate GDP of the BRICS countries, who are also members of the G20, has already exceeded that of the G7 countries means a lot. The creation of the Group of 20 countries that meets every year to address key challenges facing the world today also shows that the G7 countries are unable to take decisions concerning everyone in the world alone. They might want this but it's already impossible.

The BRICS countries have supporters among other G20 countries who are not members but who share our approaches and views, I mean, say, Mexico, Argentina and Indonesia.

As they say, dripping water wears away a stone. A multi-polar world is gradually forcing its way through not because someone has put forward a concept but because someone has seen the objective processes that cannot be stopped.

Question: Mr Lavrov, where does Motherland begin for you?

Sergey Lavrov: With my mother. I think this is obvious. My mother is still alive. May God keep her healthy. She turned 90 recently.

Question: I have lived in Russia for five years. My mother is Russian and my father is from Syria. Based on my roots, I would like to establish a Russian volunteer centre in Damascus. How realistic is this goal?

Sergey Lavrov: I believe it is quite realistic. You have my sincere support. There may be only one difficulty, which is security situation. Please explain your concept in writing and submit it through the International Volunteer Forum. I promise to read it personally and we will recommend things you can do.

Question: Are there any plans to adopt a document providing visa-free travel for volunteers?

Sergey Lavrov: I am absolutely in favour of this. The thing is that it is very difficult to establish criteria. Suppose we suggest that the world community should sign a treaty on visa-free travel for volunteers all over the world. I can tell you immediately that there will be a lot of questions from many countries. The main one is who will issue the document in addition to the passport which will give the right to visa-free travel?

We have signed and ratified one agreement with the European Union on facilitating the visa regime when the EU still saw its core interests in developing a strategic partnership with Russia, among other things. Then we agreed to sign another document which enumerated groups of people entitled to visa-free travel. It included journalists, human rights activists and participants of youth and academic exchange. However, that document did not have a direct effect and, sadly, did not come into force. If it had, then each of the groups I mentioned would have been to be interpreted. How do you decide if someone belongs to an academic or youth exchange? The agreement assumed that each trip would be preceded by sending a list which, for example, would be officially sent on behalf of our youth delegation to the European Union explaining that this delegation falls under the category of people who do not need visas. All this must be specified.

However, I am ready to support the idea of volunteer exchanges on extremely relaxed terms. Probably, it is easier to affirm or approve of this concept than to agree upon the concrete parameters of its implementation, especially now. People take advantage of many different situations. For example, many people join migrants from Africa and the Middle East going to Europe, even though these people have nothing to do with legal migrants who qualify for refugee status. They are either wealthy people or people with hostile intentions.

We should take every idea to its logical conclusion. I am ready to support this idea but at the moment I cannot see how we could get it to a point where it's functional.

Question: We were born in the Soviet Union. It also had volunteers but they were called Timurites, or members of Timur's Squad. Do you remember anything you did as a child that makes you proud and for which you could be called a Timurite?

Sergey Lavrov: I have never been an official member of Timur's Squads, and so I do not have a squad card. But I was an Octobrist, a Pioneer and a member of the Komsomol movement. My mother taught me to help the elderly and to stand up for them. When I lived in a village as a child, I helped bring water from a well or buy foods. But I was never a member of Timur's Squads.

Question: There is a special project under which couples will take care of orphans: they will set up special villages with separate houses for such families. The foster parents are trained to properly take care of orphans, after which they take eight or nine orphans and live with them in these special villages. However, there is not enough money for building and maintaining such villages and for training foster parents. There are about a hundred such villages across Russia. Where can they turn for government funding?

Sergey Lavrov: I think you should go to the Education Ministry. I know about this movement. I have a very good friend, a priest from Pushkin in the Leningrad Region, who has created a similar village. Both the children living there and their foster parents are happy. They feel that they are part of a very good and noble cause. They received funds from a private investor. I can help you contact them. He cannot finance all your projects, but he can tell you which methods you can use. Please, leave your phone number with the organisers, and he will call you.

Question: We have created a mobile application based on the neural network technology, which people can use to help each other. Could you consider this project and consult us on how to better promote it to our foreign colleagues from neighbouring countries?

Sergey Lavrov: I suggest that you start with proposals to launch this cooperation within the CIS. As soon as you are ready to work with your CIS colleagues, we will support you by proposing roundtable discussions where you can present your project.

Question: I have been living in Russia for 18 years. It is said that Russia is a land of opportunities. What opportunities does Russia offer to its people and to foreigners?

Sergey Lavrov: This is a question for you. I was born in Russia and feel at home here. It's terrific that you have felt good living here for 18 years. As for the details, we can discuss them.

Question: How do you deal with or hide your emotions?

Sergey Lavrov: There is always a place for emotions, but sometimes you must keep them in check. Sometimes you have to check your emotions even though you want to give them free rein.

Question: Who can we ask to open a Sberbank branch in Sevastopol or elsewhere in Crimea, so that we won't have to go to mainland Russia for the presidential grants?

Sergey Lavrov: I'm sure you know that I have nothing to do with banks. The government cannot order banks to work in the regions on which absolutely unfair sanctions have been imposed. Crimea and Sevastopol residents cannot receive Schengen visas. I suggest that you take your problem to the Presidential Executive Office and the financial bodies whose representatives are here. I wholeheartedly support your desire to have the same standard of living as other Russian citizens do.

Question: We often use volunteers from Georgia, who have had problems with Russian visas. Are there any forecasts for the improvement of relations with Georgia?

Sergey Lavrov: We not only have forecasts but also hard facts. Air service was restored between some cities in Georgia and Russia several years ago.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's interview and answers to questions for the programme "Moscow. Kremlin. Putin" on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, December 2, 2018 (Интервью и ответы на отдельные вопросы Министра иностранных дел России С.В.Лаврова для программы «Москва. Кремль. Путин» «на полях» саммита «Большой двадцатки», Буэнос-Айрес, 2 декабря 2018 года) / Russia, December, 2018
Keywords: mofa, quotation, sergey_lavrov
2018-12-02
Russia
Source: www.mid.ru

Question: It was a highly unusual G20 summit, with very many factors. I don't remember Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel having to overcome so many obstacles just to get to a meeting. The death of President George H.W. Bush cast a pall over the event. And then there is this strange situation with presidents Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump and the US president's reaction to the incident in the Black Sea.

What are your feelings over this? Have these events spoiled the G20 meeting or prevented the participants from implementing the agenda?

Sergey Lavrov: I believe that all these circumstances have had their effect on the events that are taking place in Buenos Aires. However, they have hardly had any serious effect on the agenda.

Just as it happened in 2008, when the G20 convened at the top level to discuss the root causes of a crisis that had spread to nearly all the countries, we are now amid a period of transformation in the global economy. There is, first of all, the digital transformation, an unprecedented rise in protectionist policies, up to trade wars, the sovereign debts of many countries and a shadow over the future of free multilateral trade, as well as many other factors. There is also the problem with the reliability of reserve currencies and the obligations of the countries that have them. It is these factors that influenced the preparations for the summit and discussions at it.

I have not mentioned the sanctions, the restrictive, prohibitive or punishing duties and tariffs, all of which created a serious and contradictory background for and influenced the essence of the discussions. It is good that a final declaration has been adopted. This is better than nothing. However, all the sharp angles which I mentioned have been smoothed over. But I don't think this is connected to the circumstances we were talking about.

Anyway, the G20 has made rather useful decisions. We have outlined our position on the digital economy and the need to start adjusting the labour and education markets to it. We have also put forth our views on the situation when it comes to food security. Russia as a major grain producer is playing an increasing role in these matters.

There was also a thorough discussion on migration, refugees and approaches to this new problem. I would like to say in this connection that we have rejected the attempts to force the "concept of equal responsibility" on the G20 and the international community as a whole for the refugees who fled their homes, for various reasons, in the hope of finding a better future in foreign countries. We clearly pointed out to our colleagues that the root cause of this unprecedented wave of migration in Europe and other countries is the irresponsible policy of flagrant military interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states, primarily in the Middle East and North Africa. The most serious factor is, of course, the aggression against Libya, which has destroyed the country and has turned it into a black hole for the transfer of illegal weapons, drugs and organised crime to southern Africa. The northbound transit, above all via Libya, has brought migrants to Europe where they have become a major problem, including for the EU.

Another subject on which Russian delegates spoke actively here is the fight against terrorism. We drew the international attention to a new phenomenon of the so-called foreign terrorist fighters who return back to their home or other countries after completing criminal jobs in Libya, Syria, Iraq or some other places. It is vitally important to trace the movement of these dangerous people. Several years ago, Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) created a database of foreign terrorist fighters. This database involves 42 security services from 35 countries, including G20 members, such as the BRICS countries, Turkey and South Korea. The UN Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC), Interpol, the CIS Anti-Terrorism Centre, the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure (RATS) and other international organisations have joined this database. We actively promoted this experience at the G20 summit where it aroused keen interest.

Question: Have you managed to bring across to our European partners the truth on what really happened in the Black Sea (and not in the Sea of Azov, as they usually write)? Have they finally heard our position?

Sergey Lavrov: I think they could not but hear it because President Vladimir Putin, while meeting with President of France Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, personally explained "in lay terms" how all this happened, how the provocation had been planned and how its execution was attempted, as well as how responsibly the Russian border guards performed their functions trying to prevent any undesirable incidents. Regrettably, the [Ukrainian] agents provocateurs (and the provocation, carried out by two craft and a tug, was controlled by two Ukrainian Security Service officers) did their best to fulfill the order, which was found after the Russian border guards stepped on board these fire-support craft. It said in no uncertain terms that they should secretly penetrate the neutral waters, perform a breakthrough under the Crimean Bridge without giving any previous notice or hiring a pilot, and sail through the Kerch Strait to the Sea of Azov. President Putin personally told his interlocutors about this. I did not hear from them a response that would be based on different facts.

Question: It is important to note a totally different level of cooperation between Russia, India and China. One gets the impression that this time a unique mutual understanding took shape within the G20 between the three countries that together account for one-third of the world population. They have a totally different point of view than, for example, America and its partners, whom it is easier to call "satellites."

Sergey Lavrov: It was the first Russia-India-China summit (RIC Group, as we call it) since 2006. The leaders of our three countries have agreed that this format should be maintained, including by holding regular summits in addition to ministerial and expert contacts that, basically, have not been discontinued during these years. What unites our countries was emphasised at the RIC meeting. This is primarily the striving not to allow the disintegration of multilateral universal organisations that are based on the UN Charter and the principles enshrined in it, such as equality, respect for sovereignty, and non-interference in internal affairs. Generally, an intention was voiced to defend the foundations of the multilateral, open economic and trade system. Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi clearly spoke out against the sanctions that were increasingly often used in this sphere by the United States in the hope of enhancing its competitiveness and getting unfair competitive advantages.

As I said, the [three] leaders have agreed to continue holding summits, while instructing their foreign ministers to prepare for the RIC leaders proposals on how to make this cooperation more effective and promote it in new spheres.

Question: Is there any hope that these three countries – Russia, India and China – will have a common understanding and will vote unanimously in the UN Security Council?

Sergey Lavrov: India is not yet a full member of the UN Security Council, but it was elected several times as a non-permanent member for two years. We have identical views on the overwhelming majority of subjects. It is notable that our countries' positions often overlap not only in the UN Security Council but also during voting on matters of fundamental importance at the UN.

Another example has to do with the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and concerns a scandalous process which the West has launched in gross violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). When the Western countries proposed giving the OPCW's Technical Secretariat the prerogatives that actually belong to the UN Security Council, India, Russia and other like-minded countries unanimously voted against this. The BRICS countries co-authored a statement in which they sharply criticised such inappropriate actions and demanded that all states respect the CWC and their obligations under it. I have mentioned BRICS for a reason, because President of Russia Vladimir Putin, President of China Xi Jinping and Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi have said that these three countries are the driving force behind such organisations as BRICS and the SCO, which India has recently joined. We are connected geographically and politically, share common views on the key aspects of the world order, want all disputes to be settled peacefully and would like to have a free, open and fair trade and economic system, which, taken together, makes us allies in these matters.

Question: Presidents Putin and Trump have held a short meeting after all. As for US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, was he evading you, or did he have to meet with you?

Sergey Lavrov: Of course, I did not pursue him, and he did not try to meet with me. To be quite frank, I do not even know if he is here, because I have not seen the full US delegation. US National Security Adviser John Bolton said in a conversation with Presidential Aide Yury Ushakov, who deals with political matters, that they [the US administration] would like to resume and normalise our dialogue. We are ready to do this as soon as our colleagues are.

Question: As far as I know, there have been very interesting discussions on Syria. Has Russia managed to move the Western countries towards the realistic Russian view on the Syrian problem?

Sergey Lavrov: I don't know how close we have managed to move them towards our position, but it is becoming increasingly clear that they don't have any alternative strategy or tactic on this matter. Likewise, it is becoming clear that unacceptable things are taking place on the eastern bank of the Euphrates. The United States is trying to create quasi-public structures there, investing hundreds of millions of dollars so that the people could resume a normal peaceful way of life in these regions. At the same time, they refuse to rebuild the infrastructure in the regions that are controlled by the Syrian government. It is becoming obvious to everyone that the developments on the eastern bank of the Euphrates run contrary to the general commitment to Syria's territorial integrity as sealed in a relevant UN Security Council resolution, although the United States has been trying to present its activities there as a temporary solution.

The US activities on the eastern bank of the Euphrates and in other Syrian regions where it has special forces and advisers include playing the Kurdish card. It is a very dangerous game, considering that the Kurdish question is very acute in several countries apart from Syria, such as Iraq, Iran and, obviously, Turkey. President Putin discussed this matter at a meeting with President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the last day of the G20 session. They have confirmed their commitments regarding the Idlib de-escalation zone. We pointed out that not all extremists have heeded the demand to leave the 20-mile demilitarised zone, despite the active and consistent operations of our Turkish colleagues. We have coordinated further moves to ensure compliance with the agreement on the demilitarised zone and also to prevent the extremists from sabotaging this crucial agreement, which all sides welcomed.

The third aspect of the Syrian subject is the political process. The overwhelming majority of countries agree that the Constitution Committee, which is being created at the initiative of the three guarantor countries of the Astana process as per the decisions of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress held in Sochi, is the only viable method to start implementing UN Security Council Resolution 2254, under which all Syrian sides must hold negotiations to coordinate common and mutually acceptable views on life in their country and on its future development. This is exactly what is stipulated in the above-mentioned UN Security Council resolution. After they reach this understanding, they should adopt a new constitution and hold elections based on its provisions. However, as I have said before, no reasonable alternatives have been proposed over the past years to the initiatives advanced by the three Astana countries on combating terrorism, creating conditions for the return of the refugees and internally displaced persons back home, providing humanitarian aid and launching a political process.

Question: When the death of President George H.W. Bush was announced, President Putin expressed his condolences in a very emotional message. George Bush Sr. believed that one of the worst mistakes of his presidency was failure to prevent the Soviet Union's dissolution. Did you meet with him? What are your impressions of him?

Sergey Lavrov: I did not meet with him often, but we did meet. I believe that George Bush Sr greatly contributed to the development of the United States and ensured that his country responsibly played its role in the world, considering its weight in international affairs.

I remember very well how President George H.W. Bush visited Moscow, I believe it was in 1991, and then he went to Ukraine where he encouraged the Soviet republics' political forces to act responsibly and do their duty by preserving the country rather than create huge, tragic problems for millions of people who became citizens of different states the next morning after the Soviet Union collapsed.

Mr Bush was a great politician. I believe that every word that will be said about his achievements reflect the people's true attitude to this man. However, one comment among the great number of condolence messages can be connected to your question about the link between President Bush and the demise of the Soviet Union. I watched CNN and Fox News on the day he died, and I heard a commentator say that George Bush Sr made history by helping Mikhail Gorbachev soft-land the Soviet Union. In fact, George Bush Sr never did that; he simply wanted to protect the millions of people who had lived in one country for decades or even centuries from political games. This is what we can say confidently about him.

***

Question: Do you think there is a connection between the provocation in the Kerch Strait and the US cancellation of the planned meeting between our presidents?

Sergey Lavrov: I don't believe in the conspiracy theories. However, there have been too many coincidences, when a provocation that takes place ahead of a major event is used for fanning hysteria over sanctions. British Prime Minister Theresa May has demanded that Brussels further worsen its Russia policy, even though Britain has almost exited the EU.

We know our partners very well, and we have masses of questions about the adequacy of their approach to serious problems. There are very serious and very real threats. The fight against these challenges cannot be improved by making sacrifices to immediate geopolitical considerations.

Question: When will President Putin and President Trump hold a full-scale meeting after all?

Sergey Lavrov: I won't even try to guess.

World of work
Social policy, trade unions, actions
Brics Business Council's Success Chronicled in New Book (Успех Бизнес Cовета БРИКС в новой книге) / South Africa, December, 2018
Keywords: business_council, expert_opinion
2018-12-05
South Africa
Source: infobrics.org

It was a night of reflections at the Brics Business Council Celebration and Commemorative Book Launch.

Outgoing chairman Dr Iqbal Survé launched a book which delves into the work of the council since its formation in 2013.

Speaking at the gala dinner, the entrepreneur, investor, philanthropist and physician, affectionately known as the Struggle Doctor for treating apartheid victims, said the special night was to celebrate the journey and the progress of the Brics Council.

"Sometimes you forget what Brics means. Let me contextualise. We are here to serve our people, country and continent. I grew up with a social justice welfare framework and trying to see how we could lead and participate in the global economy. And so we serve with pride and pleasure, and do so with no expectations," he said.

Dr Survé said the book was a reflection and documentation of the council's successful activities over the past five years and would move readers.

He wished the next chairman well and thanked all who supported him.

ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte said the institute that started as merely an idea had made a huge difference in the country.

"We have an opportunity to shift and redirect South Africa's resources to other parts of the world. Of course, people will say it is the Chinese way of being imperialist, but we need not be negative."

Duarte also said the ANC believed it was important for business people in all the Brics countries to do business with no fear.

She wished Dr Survé and his team well in their future endeavours after they hand over the baton to the new group who will lead the council.

Addressing guests, Chinese ambassador Lin Songtian said it was a great honour for him to celebrate the council's fifth anniversary as well as the book launch. "China has developed to be the number one manufacturer, and its economic contribution is more than 30% to the world. China is ready to open the market to South Africa."

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