Information Bulletin of the BRICS Trade Union Forum
Issue 4.2021
2021.01.25— 2021.01.31
International relations
Foreign policy in the context of BRICS
Conscience of a Centrist: Brics not pulling its heavy weight (Совесть центриста: БРИКС не тянет собственный вес) / South Africa, January, 2021
Keywords: expert_opinion
South Africa

Johannesburg – As the world is caught in the pandemic of the century, developed countries have failed to take on a leading role in global cooperation for an equitable vaccine rollout.

This should have been the time when Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) should have risen to the occasion and shunned the dogmas of the past.

The grouping represents more than 3-billion people and a combined gross domestic product of more than $15-trillion (R226-trillion).

The boys club is said to be the "third giant" after the EU and the US.

The body has made some strides since its establishment in 2009. In 2014, at the Fortaleza Summit in Brazil, important institutions were created – the New Development Bank and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement.

However, the impact of the group is still in question. The failure of Brics to establish its own Covid-19 vaccine funding facility outside the Covax hoax is an indictment on the group. It is further proof that Brics cannot overhaul the US-led liberal world order in our lifetime.

The refusal of erstwhile president Donald Trump to be part of Covax, the globally pooled coronavirus vaccine procurement and equitable distribution effort, was a show of strength by the US.

It was a message to Brics and the world that the globe needs the US to get things done, hence the decision by the Joe Biden administration to join Covax cements America's place as the world's best hope.

This should have Brics hanging its head in shame. The grouping accounts for nearly half of the world's population. Surely the leaders of the stokvel should have come together and devise credible plan to vaccinate their people and lift economies in the group out of the doldrums.

The good book might yet be proven true when it cautioned: Where there is no vision, the people perish. The Brics group's potential to challenge or threaten the US-led world order is seriously undermined by its response to the pandemic.

The potential of Brics to reshape the world order should not be stymied by visionless leadership.

The five countries are the world's most important emerging economies and must aggressively push their muscles on the world stage as power dynamics shift. The bloc represent a strategy for creating a world order that includes a bigger role for developing nations and is becoming a meeting place for developing countries.

The handling of the pandemic and the vaccine rollout should serve as a wake-up call to the bloc that it must shape up or be reduced to an insignificant group with no teeth.
China-Brazil Relations, the Win-Win Strategy, and Third-Parties' Bad Faith (Китайско-бразильские отношения, беспроигрышная стратегия и недобросовестность третьих сторон) / Israel, January, 2021
Keywords: expert_opinion, political_issues

By Giancarlo Elia Valori

Brazil is a key country in the BRICS cooperation mechanism. It has been China's main trading partner in Latin America since 2009. After the son of Brazilian President Bolsonaro, Eduardo Nantes Bolsonaro (whom his father pathetically appointed Ambassador to the United States in July 2019, despite not having any specific qualifications: he resigned without even taking office after being offered the leadership of the Partido Social Liberal instead) visited the United States in March 2020, and tweeted condemning China for hiding the new coronavirus epidemic, by saying that China had a "dictatorial government", etc., a diplomatic crisis was triggered.

At the same time, Brazil asked China for assistance, hoping it would provide five million Covid-19 test kits, and a total of 14,000 air conditioning and ventilation systems. Later, thanks to the efforts of Brazil's then Minister of Health, Nelson Lutz Sperle Teich (April 17 - May 15, 2020), China eventually gave Brazil 228 million dollars in medical supplies, which helped the country alleviate the extreme shortage of hospital equipment, as well as treatment and prevention supplies. Additional two tons of hospital supplies arrived in Brazil.

There were some minor twists and turns. Although the relations between China and Brazil were not affected by the personal views of President Bolsonaro's son, it can be seen that the development of Sino-Brazilian relations was not so smooth under the influence of the epidemic.

The newspaper Folha de S. Paitio claimed that the Brazilian government deliberately minimized the impact of Chinese diplomacy by hiding it and maximizing U.S. aid to 'avoid becoming a victim of Chinese foreign propaganda'.

The aid received from China is substantial, while the aid received from the United States (the country with the highest Covid-19 death toll) is far less. Nevertheless, the U.S. aid is vigorously publicized by the White House, which avoids mentioning aid from China. This reflects the tendency of changing sides.

This is the aspect on which we have been dwelling for some time: the United States is more important in the positioning of Latin America's foreign relations. The development of China-Latin America relations is largely limited and constrained by the development of relations between the United States and its 'own' South.

Secondly, China needs to attach importance to third-party forces to develop relations with that region. Within the rise of trade protectionism and anti-globalization, the proactive use of third parties to promote the development of relations, as well as the creation of new cooperation models, will contribute to reduce China's risks and create a win-win situation from a multilateral perspective.

China has always proposed win-win cooperation in its foreign policy and has different interpretations from the U.S. win-win cooperation. First and foremost, the United States distorts the meaning of the expression. Attorney General William Barr said that win-win meant that China won twice. There are also those who believe that win-win means that China wins first, and in their opinion China always puts its interests first.

In the context of the demonization strategy by Latin American media, there are obviously those having negative opinions. For example, during the election campaign, Brazilian President Bolsonaro pointed out that China was buying Brazil. His remarks raised concerns in all walks of society.

Due to the investment of Chinese companies in Brazil in 2016, 2017 and 2018, they have shown a trend of fast development, particularly through mergers and acquisitions. Latin American countries have more mineral resources and China has more energy and infrastructure projects. Therefore, the bulk of Chinese investment in Latin America is made by mining energy companies, which is an important sector of Chinese investment.

Indeed, the Chinese companies' merger and acquisition targets are mostly assets driven by European and U.S. companies. Just consider, for example, the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) (the largest utility company in the world, established in 2002), which acquired a number of electricity companies in Brazil, many of which were Portuguese, Spanish and U.S. companies or subsidiaries of these countries or major shareholders, and were merged by SGCC.

Strictly speaking, China did not buy those assets from Brazil, but from Europe and the United States. However, when European and American countries controlled those assets with purely colonialist attitudes, Brazil had not such strong public concerns. Instead, when the Chinese purchase took place, public concern was stirred up by the paid media.

For example, in Brazil, the Chinese companies Longping Hi-Tech Park (established in 1997) and CITIC Group Agriculture Fund (established in 1979) have acquired the trade in certain products of the U.S. company Dow Chemical (one of the world's most important chemical companies), and the Chinese company Wanhua Chemical will take over from Dow Chemical. The acquired companies are actually U.S. companies and such large-scale operations have raised fears among the local public.

Many Latin American countries are now facing economic and even debt crises triggered by the public health crisis. Therefore, they may not be able to keep on operating some assets and will return them at a relatively low price.

The U.S. and European companies have been hardest hit by the pandemic, but they are recovering. When Chinese companies acquire shareholdings in these energy or resource companies, they can cooperate with companies in Europe, the United States, Japan, South Korea and other Asian countries, so as to raise less concern among the public in Brazil, Chile and Peru.

China's actions record shared interests and provide an image of inclusive and open cooperation. The State Grid Corporation of China says it is keen to work with European and U.S. companies to acquire some assets in Latin America

In terms of financing methods, Chinese companies should also strengthen cooperation with the World Bank (established in 1945), the Inter-American Development Bank (Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo, established in 1959), the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the New BRICS Development Bank.

They are multilateral financial institutions with a very broad investment experience. For example, the Inter-American Development Bank has been operating for over sixty years and it is the world's leading regional lender, which has funded over 20,000 infrastructure projects in Latin America. Its experience and expertise are therefore unrivalled.

Obviously China also established multilateral investment bodies such as the aforementioned Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (established in 2014) and the New BRICS Development Bank (established in 2014). Nevertheless, compared to the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank, the experience of Chinese financial institutions in transnational investment and financing is relatively less. Many infrastructure projects have a very long construction period and require a relatively large scale of investment. They entail high risks, which can be reduced through cooperation with these multilateral institutions.

In short, all this is necessary to strengthen cooperation with third parties without spreading fears and terror artfully created by malicious disinformation.

Professor Valori is President of the International World Group

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of InfoBRICS.

Interview of Ambassador with TASS on 25th January, 2021 (Интервью посла Индии в Москве агентству ТАСС 25 января 2021 г.) / India, January, 2021
Keywords: mofa, quotation, chairmanship

In an interview with TASS, Indian Ambassador to Russia Bala Venkatesh Varma spoke about the imminent registration of the Sputnik V vaccine in the republic, plans to supply the drug to third countries and the resumption of air traffic. The diplomat also assured that New Delhi will be guided by the interests of its own defense in the procurement of S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems, despite the threat of sanctions from the United States.

Q: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, speaking at the general meeting of the Russian International Affairs Council, said that the United States is harshly pressing India to weaken military-technical cooperation with Russia. Do you agree with this assessment? Do you think Washington's policy on the Russian-Indian strategic partnership will undergo any changes under the Joe Biden administration?

Ambassador: Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov spoke in detail about the essence of the Russian-Indian partnership at a press conference on January 18. He called it very close, special and privileged and strategic, which is a very accurate description. As for your question about military-technical cooperation, India-Russia ties go back decades. This is one of the pillars of our strategic partnership. India also has a global strategic partnership with the US. New Delhi's relations with each country are independent. India has an independent policy, and we make every decision in the military sphere in accordance with the interests of our defense and national security. This principle is relevant for military-technical cooperation with all our partners.

Q: In December, the United States imposed sanctions on Turkey for the purchase of S-400 air defense systems from Russia under the law "On Countering America's Adversaries through Sanctions" (CAATSA). According to former US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, the restrictions are a "clear signal" that the US "will not tolerate significant deals with the Russian defense and intelligence sectors." Are there any concerns that sanctions will be imposed against New Delhi as well? Are these concerns discussed in contacts with our American colleagues?

Ambassador: All our partners are aware of India's defense policy and needs. For any country it should not be a surprise that India is making decisions on its defence policy independently, in accordance with its own needs in defense and security.

Q: Therefore, the possible sanctions will not force India to withdraw from the acquisition of s-400?

Ambassador: I will only say that all of our partners in military-technical sphere know about the policy and the defence needs of India.

Q: On January 16, India began mass vaccination of the population against coronavirus. One of the promising vaccines is the Russian Sputnik V, which is currently undergoing clinical trials in the republic. When is the Russian vaccine expected to be registered?

Ambassador: We are very pleased that during the pandemic, India and Russia worked closely together through the health authorities. We congratulate Russia on the development of three vaccines. The Sputnik V vaccine is already well known, the second stage of its clinical trials in India has been completed, and the third has begun. The vaccine approval process will take another couple of weeks. Once the registration is completed, it can be used in India. And I am sure that in the coming months, the Sputnik V vaccine, produced in India with the cooperation of RDIF and Indian companies, will be exported both to Russia and to third countries. In other words, this is another area of fruitful cooperation between India and Russia.

Q: To which countries, except Russia, India intends to supply the Sputnik V vaccine?

Ambassador: We must wait for the registration of the vaccine, then this issue will be considered.

Q: Is India interested in cooperation on other Russian coronavirus vaccines, in particular on the drug" Epivaccorona "of the Vector center?

Ambassador: So far there have been preliminary contacts. But if more information is provided, I am sure that India will show interest in these vaccines as well.

Q: If I may, I would like to ask you a personal question: do you and the embassy staff plan to get vaccinated against coronavirus with Russian vaccines?

Ambassador: I'm very happy to tell you that I already received my first dose of the Sputnik V vaccine last week. I feel very well, there are no side effects. Many of my colleagues at the embassy have also been vaccinated, and many are going to do so. We believe that vaccination is part of normal precautions, such as wearing masks, maintaining social distance. After all, we are vaccinated against the flu in the same way.

Q: Recently, Russia announced the resumption of air traffic with India. Flights from Moscow to New Delhi will be operated twice a week. Are there any plans to increase flights? When will India open to Russian tourists?

Ambassador: We will be happy to welcome Russian tourists again as soon as the epidemic situation normalizes. So far, this has not happened. Aeroflot is already in contact with our aviation authorities regarding the resumption of flights, which are scheduled at least twice a week. As soon as the agreement is reached, I am sure that the flights will be carried out. At the moment, charter planes fly every two weeks, which are very popular. We would like to resume regular flights as soon as possible, but this will depend on the decision of the aviation authorities of both countries, taking into account the epidemic situation.

Q: Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the annual Russian-Indian summit was not held last year. Your colleague, Russian Ambassador to New Delhi Nikolai Kudashev, noted that Putin's visit to India could take place in the first half of 2021. Is there already an understanding on specific deadlines?

Ambassador: There is an agreement between the two countries that President Putin will visit India to participate in the bilateral summit, which could not be held in 2020 for the only reason — the situation with COVID-19. As soon as the epidemic situation allows, both sides will agree on a specific date for the visit. We hope to have a summit by the middle of the year, but again it depends on the pandemic situation.

Q: What other visits of Russian officials to India and Indian officials to Russia are planned this year?

Ambassador: We have a very busy calendar of visits. Last year Russia was visited by the Ministers of defence and foreign Affairs of India. We expect high-level visits starting in mid-February. We plan to make a schedule of meetings of the intergovernmental commissions on trade, economic, military-technical cooperation, leading up to the summit somewhere in the middle of the year. This is our preliminary plan, but much will depend on the pandemic situation.

Q: During the last Russian-Indian summit in Vladivostok in 2019, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the provision of a $ 1 billion credit line for the development of the Far East. When is the credit planned to be allocated and on what terms?

Ambassador: This is an unprecedented case, because for the first time India provides a preferential credit line to its business partners for cooperation with Russian colleagues in the Far East, and this is very important. Our negotiations are at an advanced stage, and I hope that there will be positive results by the time of the bilateral summit.

I should also say that last week the first trilateral Russian-Indian-Japanese meeting was held in the online format within the framework of track II diplomacy (with the participation of business circles and experts), which focused on cooperation in the Russian Far East. This is a new phenomenon that may be of interest.

Q: This year, India is chairing the BRICS.

Ambassador: India, as chairman of the BRICS, as always, wants to consolidate the association as a key international platform for cooperation in a multipolar world in order to change the situation in the economy and health after the pandemic, but also to strengthen the synergy of contacts between people. India will formally announce its priorities later, but this is the general direction in which we are moving.

Q: Does the Indian side intend to hold events in the framework of its BRICS presidency in person, or will they be held in the traditional online format?

Ambassador: We want to hold events in person, because the presidency lasts for a whole year. We hope that by the summit at the end of the year, thanks to vaccination and other preventive measures, the pandemic will subside.

Q: Has the venue of the BRICS summit already been determined?

Ambassador: Not yet.

Q: Today, January 26, India celebrates Republic Day. Let me conclude by congratulating you on this holiday.

Ambassador: This is a special holiday-it is the day of the entry into force of the Constitution of India, which ensured the functioning of the largest democracy in the world and created the political and economic basis for the development of the country with a population of more than 1.3 billion people. But it is also an appropriate opportunity for us to reinvest in the special and privileged strategic partnership between India and Russia. The leaders of both countries-President Putin and Prime Minister Modi — attach special importance to the further development of our relations. We have just celebrated the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the strategic partnership. These have been two decades of very significant progress in bilateral relations, and we expect that the coming decades will strengthen them.

Interviewed by Leila Turayanova
BRICS Bloc Proves Resilience and Relevance to South African & African Agenda (Блок БРИКС доказал свою устойчивость и актуальность для повестки ЮАР и Африки) / South Africa, January, 2021
Keywords: global_governance, covid-19, economic_challenges, expert_opinion
South Africa

Global co-operation in a Covid pandemic world is vital in meeting the needs of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In 2020 under the Russian Chairmanship, BRICS countries maintained the momentum despite adverse global challenges including the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 12th BRICS Summit culminated in the Moscow Declaration that affirms the commitment of the bloc to multilateralism and mutual respect.

The pandemic has laid bare the weaknesses of the global governance system. The USA has been making excessive unilateral decisions, without regard for the interests of their allies and the rest of the world. Washington thus withdrew from the World Health Organisation (WHO) during the pandemic, and there was not a clear and visible pushback from Brussels against Trump's rhetoric alleging that Beijing was spreading disinformation about the coronavirus outbreak. Washington has been busy with undermining the BRICS community via unjustified sanctions against Russia, a trade war with China and trying to deepen the alignment of Brazil and India with US foreign policy. Nevertheless, such efforts have yielded minimum results. In the meantime, BRICS countries started providing support to each other and to some of the hardest hit European countries as early as March 2020. South Africa being a part of the bloc received a $1 billion BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) loan to help fight coronavirus. On top of that Pretoria has had close cooperation with the bloc partners on PPE provision, SA citizens repatriation, and virus control/treatment measures sharing.

BRICS membership has elevated Pretoria's position in the international arena and helped it become a more credible democratic mouthpiece for Africa on global and continental issues. South Africa's foreign policy agenda is closely intertwined with the bloc's one at a strategic level. Thus, the country can address the violations of international law and promote its national interests in international fora with the support of its BRICS partners and the Developing South. The bloc supports the reform of international institutions – the UN, World Bank, the WTO, the WHO, and the IMF to promote the interests of all, especially the developing countries. The group's backing also helped in supporting South Africa's non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council in 2019-2020, while India has been elected for the term 2021-2022, and Brazil is a candidate for the biennium 2022-2023. BRICS also supports the AU's commitment to promote the "Silencing of the Guns", the implementation of the ACFTA agreement, combating the illicit financial flows from the continent, and extending the Debt Service Suspension Initiative for low-income countries.

SA is in a strained economic situation which has been exacerbated by the pandemic. Intra-BRICS cooperation has the potential to boost South African efforts to reconstruct and recover its national economy, dovetailing the operationalisation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA). BRICS countries adopted the Economic Partnership Strategy for 2021-2025 which serves as a key guideline for enhancing cooperation in trade, investment, digital economy, and sustainable development with the special focus on improving the business environment for Small and Medium Enterprises. The opening of the third NDB office – Eurasian Regional Centre in Moscow – will further promote the investment cooperation of the group. So far, the institution has funded about 65 projects totalling $21 billion. By the end of this year, NDB expects approvals to reach $26 billion. There are 9 projects approved for South Africa with the total portfolio worth more than $3 billion. The expansion of the NDB membership will also see SADC members joining the financial institution and attraction of more development capital for Southern Africa.

Apart from being a political and economic group BRICS countries pay due attention to the bolstering of the people -to-people cooperation in the fields of culture, sports, film, youth and academic exchanges. This year saw the establishment of the BRICS working group on culture, organisation of the 5th Film Festival, meetings of youth officials, young diplomats, and scientists. Other informal youth related initiatives include BRICS Youth Energy Summit and cooperation within the framework of the Youth Energy Agency as well as the International BRICSMATH.COM online mathematics competition for students. Events of the kind do not only raise awareness at the grassroots level about the BRICS partnership but also provide the South African community with an opportunity to enhance their human capital in the post-Covid recovery.

Ashraf Patel is the digital data and economy associate at the IGD and is a graduate on the Masters in Management (MM) Public Policy and Regulation Management (ICT) from the Graduate School of Public and Development Management (P&DM), University of Witwatersrand, South Africa.

Investment and Finance
Investment and finance in BRICS
NDB and Mobile Telesystems Pjsc Sign Loan Agreement for Cellular Network and Cloud Services Expansion Project (НБР и ПАО «Мобильные телесистемы» подписали кредитное соглашение для проекта расширения сотовой сети и облачных сервисов) / China, January, 2021
Keywords: ndb, cooperation

On January 21, 2021, the New Development Bank (NDB) and Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) Public Joint Stock Company signed the Loan Agreement for Cellular Network and Cloud Services Expansion Project (the Project). Under the Agreement, NDB will provide a loan of USD 300 million to MTS for upgrading cellular network infrastructure and cloud services infrastructure.

The Loan Agreement was signed by Mr. Xian Zhu (Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, NDB) and Mr. Alexey Kornya (Chairman of the Management Board, President and Chief Executive Officer, MTS).

The Project aims to improve mobile network penetration across Russia and provide cloud-based services for enterprises. The components of the Project include (i) Upgrade of cellular network infrastructure, including installation of new cell towers; and (ii) Deployment of cloud services infrastructure.

The Project will contribute to increasing the availability of broadband internet services for households in Russia as well as improving the digital integration of small-size cities and urban settlements with the mainstream economy. The Project is also expected to result in data secuarity benefits and cost savings derived by enterprises by migrating to cloud-based services. It is the first digital infrastructure project supported by the NDB, and it represents a new stage in the diversification of its operations.

"We are committed to the development of tech-intensive infrastructure in our member countries. Expanding the non-sovereign portfolio, complexity and outreach of operations are priorities for us," said Mr. Marcos Troyjo, President of NDB.

"MTS is actively working together with international organizations on sustainability projects aimed at improving people's lives. This agreement with the NDB is a major milestone in advancing vitally important infrastructure projects. The funds secured under this special-purpose loan will help us expand connectivity in rural towns and remote regions, improving access to digital services for both residents and businesses," commented MTS President & CEO Alexey Kornya.

Background information

The NDB was established by Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa to mobilize resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging economies and developing countries, complementing the existing efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global growth and development. According to the NDB's General Strategy, sustainable infrastructure development is at the core of the Bank's operational strategy for 2017-2021. The NDB received AA+ long-term issuer credit ratings from S&P and Fitch and AAA foreign currency long-term issuer rating from Japan Credit Rating Agency (JCR) and Analytical Credit Rating Agency (ACRA).

Mobile TeleSystems PJSC ("MTS" – NYSE: MBT; MOEX: MTSS), Russia's leading mobile connectivity and digital services provider, offers a range of mobile, fixed-line, and digital services. We serve over 80 million mobile subscribers in Russia, Armenia, and Belarus, and about 9 million customers in Russia of fixed-line services, including fixed voice, broadband internet, and pay-TV. To keep pace with evolving customer demand, MTS is redefining what telecommunications services are by offering innovative products beyond its core network-related businesses in various tech segments, including Big Data, financial and banking services, internet of things, OTT, cloud computing, systems integration and e-commerce. We leverage our market-leading retail network as a platform for customer services and sales of devices and accessories. MTS maintains its leadership in the Russian mobile market in terms of revenue and profitability. MTS is majority-owned by Sistema PJSFC. Since 2000, MTS shares have been listed on the New York Stock Exchange and since 2003 – on the Moscow Exchange. For more information, please visit:
World of Work
Moscow Accelerator wins BRICS Solutions Awards (Московский акселератор получил награду BRICS Solutions Awards) / Russia, January, 2021
Keywords: rating, innovations

The international jury praised the project as a socioeconomic and technological breakthrough.
The Moscow Accelerator programme has been declared the winner in the BRICS Solutions Awards contest for best solutions and practices in the Business Solutions category. An international jury recognised it as a socioeconomic and technological breakthrough. The Moscow Accelerator programme for supporting small businesses is aimed at expanding and augmenting technological solutions in various economic sectors. Business people and designers of promising products are offered training in the form of themed courses or industry tracks.

"We are happy that the Moscow Accelerator programme has been declared one of the best international practices for business development. Launched barely a year ago, it has helped its participants implement over 120 pilot projects and attract investment worth 238 million roubles," Deputy Mayor Natalya Sergunina noted. The main goals of BRICS Solutions Awards is to choose the best ideas and socioeconomic practices aimed at improving the quality of life and living standards and to subsequently implement them in the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).

The Moscow Accelerator programme is being implemented by the Moscow Innovations Agency and the Moscow Innovation Cluster with the support of Moscow's Department of Entrepreneurship and Innovative Development.

"Winning an international award is proof that the Moscow Accelerator is really helping expand and augment innovative businesses in Moscow. Since its inception, the programme has received over 2,700 applications and has resulted in the launch of over 100 startup businesses," said Alexei Fursin, Head of the Moscow Department of Entrepreneurship and Innovative Development. The programme of the BRICS Solutions Awards included seven categories: Public Health and Healthy Living, Quality of Life and Demography, Innovations and Technology, Green Economy, Business Solutions, Housing and Urban Development, and Education. Out of the 230 international practices that applied for consideration by the international jury, 32 were shortlisted.

The seven winning projects from India and Russia will be accumulated in an open-access databank of best practices and solutions in various spheres of socioeconomic development and their implementation will be given broad international information support.

The Moscow Accelerator programme was launched in November 2019 as a platform where representatives of business and startup communities as well as the Moscow Government joined forces to boost the implementation of promising innovative solutions and support technological companies. During its first year of work, it has helped launch seven industry tracks together with the leading Russian and international corporations.

Total population of the BRIC countries from 2015 to 2025 (Общая численность населения стран БРИК с 2015 по 2025 годы) / United States, January, 2021
Keywords: research, social_issues
United States

This statistic shows the total population of the BRIC countries from 2015 to 2019, with projections up until 2025. The BRIC countries are the emerging countries Brazil, Russia, India and China. In 2019, the total population of all BRIC states amounted to an estimated 3.12 billion inhabitants.

BRIC countries and trade

BRIC is an acronym of the four countries Brazil, Russia, India and China. The BRIC countries are currently in similar economic stages and are often grouped together to measure and compare their economic development. In 2010, the BRIC countries accounted for approximately 40 percent of the world's total population and are expected to be on the same economic scale as the G7 countries by 2027.

The economic success of a country is often indicated by its interaction with other countries, particularly through trade. A positive or negative balance in regards to international trade demonstrates a country's importance to other nations or its dependency for their goods in order to maintain a stable economy and to meet their industrial and commercial needs. In 2012, China had by far the highest amount of imported goods out of the four nations, almost doubling the total amount of imports from the other three countries combined. However, China's exports far exceed their imports, primarily because China manufactures a considerable amount of consumer goods for other nations at a more favorable price. China's exports almost double the total amount of exports of the other nations. In 2015, every country in the BRIC, with the exception of India, recorded a trade surplus.

GDP, i.e. gross domestic product, is a measurement of all goods and services produced within a country in a year. The total GDP of all BRIC countries was expected to amount to roughly 16.92 billion U.S. dollars in 2014.
Implementation of the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership (Реализация Стратегии экономического партнерства БРИКС) / Russia, January, 2021
Keywords: economic_challenges, expert_opinion, research

Russian Chairmanship in BRICS 2020 presented an overview of Implementation of the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership in the period 2015-2020.

The toolkit was prepared by the BRICS Russia Expert Council with the support of the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation and the Russian National Committee on BRICS Research.

The BRICS Russia Expert Council has assessed the achievements of the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership between 2015 and 2019 and prepared a comprehensive analytical report.

The overview indicates a significant amount of implemented activities and adopted documents on all areas of BRICS cooperation. Institutional infrastructure for cooperation both at the ministerial and expert levels has been established, while programmes and action plans have been adopted in key areas of cooperation.

The analysis of the implementation of the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership until 2020 showed that the BRICS countries have achieved substantial progress in most areas of economic development and cooperation. They have strengthened their positions in the global economy and trade as the recipients and donors of foreign direct investment (FDI) and have enhanced their role in the global financial architecture. They dynamically boosted mutual trade, institutions and mechanisms of financial cooperation, expanded their interaction and reachedpractical results in a number of economic regulation areas. By 2020, the total GDP of the BRICS countries reached 25 percent of the global figure ($21 trillion), their share in international trade amounted to nearly 20 percent ($6.7 trillion) and mutual trade increased by 45 percent (between 2015 and 2019).

Victoria Panova, Scientific Supervisor, BRICS Russia Expert Council; Managing Director, Russian National Committee on BRICS Research:

"The world has changed and continues to change rapidly before our eyes because of the coronavirus pandemic. The cooperation of the BRICS countries, including economic one, is increasingly facing new challenges and risks that were far from apparent five years ago. They include the growing transformational processes of the global economy and trade under the influence of digitalization and radical technological innovations of the 4th Industrial revolution , a crisis of the international trading system, growing threats to sustainable development and the formation of a strong demand for inclusive development".

"The BRICS countries should offer and implement adequate responses to emerging new challenges and threats, which is another reason for a fundamental renewal of the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership".

Call for Entries for India Exim Bank's Brics Economics Research Award 2021 (Прием заявок на участие в конкурсе Brics Economics Research Award Индии Exim Bank 2021) / India, January, 2021
Keywords: research, economic_challenges, rating

Export-Import Bank of India (India Exim Bank) of India has opened entries for the 2021 edition of its BRICS Economics Research Award (BRICS Award). The objective of the Award is to stimulate and encourage advanced doctoral research on economics related topics of contemporary relevance to the member nations of BRICS. The Award consists of prize money of Indian Rupees 1.5 million (approximately USD 22,000) sponsored by India Exim Bank, a medal and a citation.

The Award accepts as entries, doctoral thesis written by nationals of any of the five member nations of BRICS, i.e., Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa; who have been awarded a doctorate or accepted for award of a doctorate from any recognized nationally accredited University or global academic institution, during the period January 2016 to March 2021. The broad focus of the eligible theses could be International Economics, Trade, Development, and related aspects of Financing, which may also have particular relevance especially to BRICS nations/ member development banks of BRICS.

India Exim Bank is the nominated member development bank under the BRICS Interbank Cooperation Mechanism, along with other nominated member development banks from member nations of BRICS namely Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES), Brazil; State Development Corporation (VEB.RF), Russia; the China Development Bank Corporation (CDB), China, and Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), South Africa. In the context of India's Chairmanship of the BRICS Forum during 2016, and under India Exim Bank's Presidency of the BRICS Interbank Cooperation Mechanism, India Exim Bank instituted the BRICS Economic Research Award in March 2016.

India Exim Bank BRICS Award represents the Bank's ongoing efforts at promoting research and analysis in the area of international economics, trade & development and related financing.

To know more about the past winners and to apply for the BRICS 2021, please visit:

India Education Diary

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