Information Bulletin of the BRICS Trade Union Forum
Issue 44.2018
2018.10.29 — 2018.11.04
International relations
Foreign policy in the context of BRICS
Brazil's Bolsonaro should understand role of BRICS in international relations, expert says (Бразильянец Болсонаро должен понимать роль БРИКС в международных отношениях, считает эксперт) / Russia, October, 2018
Keywords: expert_opinion, political_issues, braxit

RIO DE JANEIRO, October 29. /TASS/. Brazil should be guided in international relations by its national interests, including cooperation in the framework of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), rather than ideology, Evandro Menezes de Carvalho, Professor of International Law at the Fluminense Federal University and expert at the Getulio Vargas Foundation, told TASS.

"A new political cycle is beginning in Brazil. Two political forces, which had dominated for more than 20 years, are taking a back seat. I'm speaking about the left-wing Workers' Party and the center-right Brazilian Social Democracy Party and also major figures - ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Fernando Henrique Cardoso. Both of them were strong in foreign policy, and they liked to take an active part in international relations," the expert said, commenting on the victory of far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro in the second round of the presidential election.

"In case of Bolsonaro, it is not yet clear. It seems to me that this is a politician who is mainly oriented at domestic political issues, they are more interesting for him. His rhetoric is related to the standoff between the right-wing and the left-wing forces, aimed against the communists and addressing the needs of the domestic audience. Using it, Bolsonaro tries to cozy up to the voters," he said.

According to the expert, it is unclear whether this policy aimed at stirring up tensions between the right-wing and the left-wing forces will define Brazil's relations with its international partners after Bolsonaro assumes office as president in January.

The Brazilian Foreign Ministry should have a vital role here and help Bolsonaro form a broader view on international relations, Menezes noted.

"Now his [Bolsonaro] rhetoric is related to ideology and this hinders his understanding of international situation. It's high time he [Bolsonaro] understood the role of China and BRICS today. This is the only group, where Brazil is alongside with two permanent members of the UN Security Council and three nuclear powers," the expert said.

"The doors of BRICS are open for it and Brazil plays an important role in this group. I hope that the government of Bolsonaro will make national interests a priority. Now, when the trade war between the United States and China is in full swing, Brazil has even more reasons to remain in BRICS as it can serve as a mediator," he said.

BRICS is an acronym standing for an informal association of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Its goal is to develop a consistent, pragmatic and transparent dialogue and cooperation between the countries. The participants also agreed that BRICS activity should be on a non-bloc basis and not be aimed against the third countries. Russia was the association's initiator.

One of BRICS key goals is developing a global financial system, which will be independent from the current institutions relying on the dollar. Among the steps in this direction was the creation of the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement.

Bolsonaro Is a Pivotal Part of Trump's Plans to Build "Fortress America" (Болсонаро - ключевая часть плана Трампа построить «Крепость Америка») / Canada, October, 2018
Keywords: expert_opinion, political_issues, braxit
Author: Andrew Korybko

The election of Jair Bolsonaro as Brazil's next president is a major step in the direction of Trump's plans to build a "Fortress America" that he intends will cement the US' hegemonic influence in the Western Hemisphere by systematically squeezing China out of Latin America.

Jair Bolsonaro's election as Brazil's next president will go down in history as a pivotal moment in hemispheric affairs because it represents the greatest success so far of the US' "Operation Condor 2.0" secret scheme of replacing the region's socialist "Pink Tide" governments with right-wing neoliberal ones. The Hybrid War on Brazil deliberately shaped the socio-political environment in South America's largest country in such a way that this "dark horse" candidate was able to come out of nowhere and capture control of this Great Power with the US' tacit backing, which will expectedly have far-reaching geostrategic implications. The US is employing all means at its disposal to push back against China's game-changing Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) in the nascent New Cold War, and there's little doubt that Bolsonaro will do good on his campaign pledge to counter China's growing influence in his country, which perfectly dovetails with what his role model Donald Trump is trying to do in the US.

White House Hints

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders confirmed that the two spoke with one another shortly after the news broke that Bolsonaro trounced his opponent, noting that "both expressed a strong commitment to work side-by-side to improve the lives of the people of the United States and Brazil, and as regional leaders, of the Americas", which could hint at a few prominent possibilities of cooperation between the two that will be described shortly. Reuters also reported that Bolsonaro promised to "realign Brazil with more advanced economies rather than regional allies" in the first public comments that he made after his victory was announced, suggesting that he might neglect his country's membership in BRICS in favor of prioritizing relations with the US and EU instead. Returning to Sanders' statement, it's important to point out that she characterized Brazil as a regional leader of the Americas, which correlates with Trump's vision for hegemonically managing Western Hemispheric affairs through the continuation of the Obama-era policy of "Leading from Behind" through regional proxy partnerships.

Selected Articles: Jair Bolsonaro: Collapse of Democracy in Brazil?
Building "Fortress America"

To elaborate, Trump's predecessor quietly carried out regime changes in several Latin American countries and planted the seeds for what would later occur in Brazil, which was always the US' ultimate prize because of its sheer size and influence. The current American President envisions the US working together with several regional partners, including Mexico, Colombia, and Brazil, to advance the goal of Washington-led hemispheric integration that would embed the US' restored influence all throughout Latin America while squeezing out its prime Chinese competitor. To accomplish this, Bolsonaro-led Brazil will be encouraged to carry out the following geo-economic policies that will greatly enable the creation of a US-dominated "Fortress America" that Trump intends to build in response to China's Eastern Hemispheric Silk Road connectivity gains of recent years:

  1. Merge Mercosur With The Neoliberal Pacific Alliance:
All of the countries in both trading blocs are now run by right-wing leaders so it's "natural" for them to merge with one another in order to take regional integration to its next step, which is a trend that even Mexico's leftist president-elect AMLO will more than likely continue in order to expand his country's influence throughout Central and South America.

  1. Clinch Free Trade Deals With The EU And The USMC (NAFTA 2.0):
The next step is for a united Mercosur-Pacific Alliance to successfully conclude the first-mentioned group's stalemated free trade talks with the EU and then do the same when it comes to prospective ones with the USMC, which will altogether lay the structural basis for further integrating the hemisphere and making Latin America part of the so-called "Trans-Atlantic Community".

  1. Unfreeze The FTAA And Link It To TTIP:
The last phase of constructing "Fortress America" is for the US to take the lead in unfreezing the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) proposal for a hemisphere-wide free trade zone following the success of South America's Brazilian-led geo-economic pivot and then link this transcontinental trading structure to the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the EU.

The whole point of these aforementioned plans is for the US to lock Latin America into neoliberal trading structures that forever preclude its return to socialism, even though this could eventually backfire by inspiring another "Pink Tide" sometime in the future. While there's an important trans-Atlantic component related to the EU, "Fortress America" could still be built without Europe if the latter remains embroiled in simmering trade disputes with the US. So long as Bolsonaro succeeds in getting the rest of South America to follow his Trumpist lead (possibly through the merging of Mercosur and the Pacific Alliance), then the diminishment of Chinese influence in the continent will be a fait accompli because the People's Republic will see its many investments challenged by a combination of the host governments themselves and its newly invigorated US competitor.

Breaking BRICS

It'll be extremely difficult for BRICS to continue to function in anything other than name only if Brazil breaks ranks with the organization's de-facto Chinese leader and does everything in its power under Bolsonaro to push back against it, including either scrapping the Trans-Oceanic Railroad (which could colloquially be considered to be the "South American Silk Road") or replacing most of its Chinese investments with Western ones and thereby neutralizing its intended multipolar strategic purpose. When paired with fellow BRICS member South Africa's tilt towards neoliberalism after the country's "deep state" coup brought President Ramaphosa to power possibly as a result of an American-backed regime change process just like with Bolsonaro, it's plain to see that BRICS is for all intents and purposes regressing back to its original RIC framework, which is itself only kept alive in a truly multilateral format through Russia's "balancing" role between its competing Asian Great Powers that has thus far saved it from just becoming a hodge-podge of overlapping bilateral partnerships.

Concluding Thoughts

Bolsonaro's election, socio-politically engineered by Washington over the past few years, is a watershed event in Latin American history because of the very high likelihood that it'll further the US' plans for building "Fortress America". Given the practically identical worldview that the Brazilian president-elect shares with Trump, especially regarding the need to "contain" China and suppress domestic socialist tendencies at home, it's all but assured that the former military officer will march in lockstep with his idol in carrying out their joint will in the Western Hemisphere. This could predictably see Brazil taking the lead to advance regional integrational initiatives that would have otherwise been unthinkable under a leftist government such as merging Mercosur with the Pacific Alliance and probing the possibilities for a multilateral free trade deal between this resultant continental-wide structure and the USMC (NAFTA 2.0). None of this augurs well for China's Silk Road interests, but that's one of the main reasons why "Fortress America" is being built in the first place.


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This article was originally published on Eurasia Future.

Andrew Korybko is an American Moscow-based political analyst specializing in the relationship between the US strategy in Afro-Eurasia, China's One Belt One Road global vision of New Silk Road connectivity, and Hybrid Warfare. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

As BRICS democratic impulses vanish at an alarming rate, South Africa must rethink its priorities (В то время как демократические импульсы БРИКС исчезают с угрожающей скоростью, Южная Африка должна пересмотреть свои приоритеты) / South Africa, November, 2018
Keywords: expert_opinion, political_issues, braxit
South Africa

The victory by Jair Bolsonaro in the recent Brazilian presidential election should provoke a rethink by South Africa's leadership over its deep commitment to BRICS. And here's why.


Groucho Marx to the Friars Club in Hollywood

On 28 October, Brazil's political future took an astonishingly rightward lurch with the resounding victory of Jair Bolsonaro, congressman, former army officer, right-wing populist, and the Brazilian-flavoured version of so much of the destructive populisms espoused by such leaders as Viktor Orban, Rodrigo Duterte, those people running Italy, and, of course, Donald Trump.

Bolsonaro takes office at the beginning of 2019 and, given his campaign platform, he seems determined to hit the road running as he attacks corruption and crime, as well as all the other ills he railed against in his victory over the hapless Workers Party candidate Fernando Haddad.

Now, let's wind the clock back to nearly two decades ago. Back in 2001, a go-go sovereign bonds salesmen based in London, Jim O'Neill (now Sir James, just by the way), conceived of a particularly clever way to flog his product – emerging market bonds – to investors looking to take a chance for some really great rates of return, in exchange for some risk in the emerging markets arena. No risk, no gain. Clever guy.

Taking a look at a list of high growth emerging markets, he selected China, Russia, India, and Brazil on which to focus his attentions. Then he played with some anagrams and so he eventually came up with BRIC. Boom. Va-va Voom! Solid sound, that one. Building blocks and real substance. That was clearly rather better than CRIB or any other anagramatic choice O'Neill might have pushed on the waiting world. Much more melifluous, and much easier to remember, too.

With this word in hand, he proceeded to build the case to the international commercial investor community that these four, especially, were countries whose economies were growing rapidly. They were building economies that were increasingly open; they were societies which were increasingly free, and this was a group of countries whose governments seemed to be increasingly transparent and rules-based.

In effect, O'Neill's argument was the evergreen sales pitch: Get in now before everybody else figures it out. With that gold gilt-edged sales pitch, he successfully argued that clever investors could make some real money by getting in on the boom in BRIC government paper, on the ground floor while the getting was good, as those economies grew and grew and grew – thereby increasing the value of those bonds exponentially.

Eventually, the four governments concerned also saw this was a rather good thing for their own international promotional purposes – there are fads for government as well as with investments. And so, in 2009, the four countries began their yearly leaders' consultations, gradually building gaudier and flashier summits, adding a whole roster of subsidiary meetings and consultative working groups designed to draft documents long on grandeur and short on substance.

(Yes, there is the bank, but it has been funded by equal share investments from each member and it remains unclear why it was needed, given the very low real rates for borrowing in global capital markets.)

According to some BRIC enthusiasts, a key, original aim had been the establishment of a more equitable, democratic, and multipolar world order, although gaining foreign investment and an itch to be a counterweight to the perceptions of Western dominance in international financial circles were also part of the plan in the minds of some.

This business with all that enthusiasm for a more equitable, more democratic, multipolar world could be one thing when you had people like Jiang Zemin, Dimitri Medvedev, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, and Manmohan Singh sitting around the big table.

It may be a rather different thing, however, if the head table now brings together Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin, Narendra Modi, and now, Jair Bolsonaro. In that group, the odd man out, now, would seem to be South Africa's Cyril Ramaphosa, what with his universally acknowledged support for democratic ideals.

(South Africa was finally allowed to join this club, courtesy of a sponsorship by those clever Chinese, towards the end of 2010; even if on purely economic measures, a case for South Africa's inclusion was, and is, a weak one. The Chinese may have had more subtle motives for serving as mentor-sponsor.)

The truth is that the truly big Kahuna of BRICS is obviously China. But BRICS is not the real main event for the Middle Kingdom. Aside from their ongoing efforts to build a dominating military position in the South China Sea, their most vigorous energies diplomatically are going into their Belt and Road Initiative and the Shanghai Consultation Conference (SCC). The Belt and Road effort is an international one that involves a wide spread of low interest loans, grants, trade agreements, and commercial and subsidised investments in infrastructure in countries across Central Asia and around the Indian Ocean littoral in Africa. This overlaps and reinforces the co-operative elements of the SCC in terms of building a comprehensively powerful international position. (Just don't fall behind on the repayments – ask Sri Lanka how that has been working out these days.)

India is busy building new strategic relationships (with the US and even Japan) to consolidate its own position vis-a-vis China. And as for Russia, while they have been trying to reconstruct a strategic relationship with China, their major strategic efforts are increasingly focused on building economic connections and relations for its energy exports with Europe, and in balancing or bettering Nato's own defence capabilities in Europe.

Brazil, under Bolsonaro, meanwhile, will almost certainly look to the kind of economic nationalism model now popular with a certain economic nationalist-style North American compadre. However, none of this would really seem to be speaking to any BRICS-style unity of spirit and action. Moreover, this doesn't even speak to competition between various partner members over similar exports. Finally, of course, this has now also become a club where democratic values and ideals are firmly in the eclipse, other than in South Africa.

That, of course, should be a tip-off. It should mean South Africa could begin to look much more critically at where its real national interests and values may lie. This in a country that needs major infusions of foreign direct investment that will feed job-generating growth, lest its economy suffer even further than it is already (and with baleful consequences for political stability). As a consequence, South Africa should look much harder to markets where it can export products beyond basic commodities, rather than resting on some Procrustean bed of group solidarity.

Maybe there is no need to drop the "S" in BRICS, but it is also true that bureaucratic energies are not infinite. Some years ago, the complicated negotiations for a proposed SACU-US free trade agreement collapsed under fears it would consume too much bureaucratic and intellectual energy on the part of South Africa, as well as the much smaller bureaucracies in the country's SACU partners, for limited gains.

Given their real, relatively low-scale investment by the other BRICS members in the group's members, beyond those periodic, formulaic incantations, and the flow of Chinese investment that really doesn't need the cover of BRICS solidarity anyway, South Africa could profitably invest more of its time and energy elsewhere.

This would include: much more time and energy reaching out to the vast, growing market of the rest of the continent; to its actual lead trade partner – the EU; and even to the US which takes a significant share of the country's higher value-added exports under the provisions of the African Growth and Opportunity Act.

Such efforts would, comprehensively carried out, become a real pro-growth foreign economic diplomacy agenda – and it would help loosen that clever straitjacket of a bond seller's imagination. DM

Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro creates a dilemma for BRICS (Бразильянец Жаир Болсонаро создает дилемму для БРИКС) / South Africa, November, 2018
Keywords: expert_opinion, political_issues, braxit
South Africa

The new captain of Brazil's ship, the far right-wing Jair Bolsonaro, might very well steer his vessel right out of the BRICS harbour if his rhetoric is anything to go by. In his campaign, he promised to "liberate Brazil from the ideology of its international relations that it subjected Brazil to in recent years." If anything Bolsonaro is an even darker version of Trump, and is clearly singing off the song sheet of Trump's alter ego Steve Bannon, who is still hard at work boosting the fortunes of the alt-right globally.

It is truly disconcerting that Bolsonaro won Brazil's presidential elections by such a decisive margin, as his policies are the virtual antithesis of the trajectory BRICS as a grouping was moving towards. BRICS has sought to challenge US hegemony and find alternative trade partnerships and financing mechanisms, and is committed to social transformation. Having Bolsonaro Chair BRICS next year is akin to the insertion of Steve Bannon into the BRICS forum with his blatant fascism, racism, xenophobia, misogyny, Sino-phobia anti-environmental stance, and romanticism about military dictatorships.

How will BRICS ever pursue its common political agenda under such circumstances? Or will it merely revert to its initial focus on promoting greater intra-BRICS trade and investment?

BRICS did survive the inclusion of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi who comes from the far right, with long-standing ties to the neo-fascist RSS. But even Modi would think twice before openly advocating torture, massacres, and replacing politicians with military generals. That would be just too extreme for Indian mainstream politics, which makes it all the more shocking that Brazil has supported such a candidate when it was not that long ago that former left-wing Brazilian President Lula da Silva had captured the nation's imagination.

Bolsonaro's foreign policy platform makes him almost seem like a manchurian candidate, and by that I mean a politician being used as a puppet by another power. Everything Steve Bannon pushed in the White House in terms of foreign policy is what Bolsonaro is sprouting - most notably his declaration that Brazil must engage in the global cultural battle to restore the Judeo-Christian tradition by aligning with the US, Israel and Italy, and that Brazil must become a bulwark of Judeo-Christendom against Communism. This was not only the worldview of Brazil's military dictatorship that ruled from 1964-1985, but it is also the current line that Bannon has been pushing within the western alt-right movement. This is all part and parcel of Bannon's fervent belief in the great clash of civilizations and the coming war between Judeo-Christendom and the Muslims, as well as China.

It was very strategic for Bannon to tutor Bolsonaro in successful electoral campaigning given the strategic importance of Brazil, and the threat BRICS poses to the alt-right agenda. After all, Brazil is the largest country in Latin America, with 40% of the region's population and a roughly equal share of its GDP. For Brazil to join the alt-right fold was a massive coup for Bannon, with enormous ramifications for international relations on many different levels.

Bolsonaro has set himself and possibly the Brazilian government on a collision course with China, having openly criticised Brazil's largest trading partner, and reached out to Taiwan, Japan and South Korea on a strategic visit to the region last year. He has also said he will decisively counter China's economic advances and prefers to court business from the OECD countries. This is all very Trumpian if one looks at Trump's own rhetoric on China.

On the Israeli/Palestinian issue, Bolsonaro has taken the side of the pro-Zionist Christian Pentecostals who strongly back Israel, which is why Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was so quick to congratulate him on his electoral victory. Israel has long cultivated this strand of conservative Christianity in Brazil, hoping to change the orientation of Brazilian foreign policy.

The Workers' Party governments of Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff had been firm defenders of Palestinian self-determination. But Bolsonaro will carry Trump's torch for Israel - he has already promised to withdraw from the UN Human Rights Council, and move the Brazilian embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Most recently Bolsonaro announced that he will close down the Palestinian representative office in Brazil.

The big question now is how will BRICS function under the leadership of such a political leader come 2019?
Braxit: Will Bolsonaro Pull Brazil Out of BRICS? (Браксит: Выведет ли Болсонаро Бразилию из БРИКС?) / India, November, 2018
Keywords: expert_opinion, political_issues, braxit

The Far-Right President would like Brazil to return to the West, but will need to scale barriers as the country's business interests have gained from BRICS, and China is its top trading partner.

In 2019, Brazil is slated to host the 11th BRICS summit. Formed in 2009, the BRICS bloc has moved forward to build a set of institutions to enhance trade between these countries that are outside the old core of Europe, North America and Japan. That old core is consolidated around the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), formed in 1961. There is no antagonism in terms of the broad policy orientation of the BRICS and the OECD. Both groupings of countries want to deepen capitalist relations and international trade. Neither is interested in an alternative to neo-liberal capitalism.

But the BRICS emerged essentially to allow the elites of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – the so-called emerging economies – a platform to assert themselves against the elites of the 36 countries in the OECD (most of Europe and North America, Japan and South Korea, and the old settler colonies of Australia, Israel and New Zealand). BRICS was the institution of the arrivistes, those who had come onto the world stage to claim a seat at the table.


With the election of Jair Bolsonaro to the presidency of Brazil, eyebrows have been raised from Beijing to Pretoria about the future of the BRICS. Already, Bolsonaro's predecessor – Michel Temer - had said openly that he would like Brazil to become a member of the OECD – which would mean that it would turn its back on the BRICS. Crisis in the middle-income countries – Argentina, Brazil, Turkey – partly as a result of lower commodity prices and partly as the US Federal Reserve raised interest rates pushed the governments of the far-right and the right in these countries to seek a better equation with the United States.

Temer wanted to move Brazil back into the 'West' rather than remain in the 'South'. Other South American states, such as Argentina and Colombia, also sought better relations with Washington as part of this transformation. Multilateral and multi-polar experiments – such as the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) and BRICS – have slipped by the wayside.


Bolsonaro, more than Temer, comes from a far-right position that would like Brazil not only to return to the West, but to also return to be a bulwark of Judeo-Christendom against Communism. This is the worldview of Brazil's military dictatorship (1964-1985).

Bolsonaro is not against internationalism. This is not an inward turn, a move to protectionism. He is quite happy to invite foreign business into the country as long as these businesses are from the OECD countries and not from China. Here, Bolsonaro mimics Trump.

China is Brazil's largest trading partner and has been so since 2009. Export of soy to China is as crucial as the arrival of Chinese investment into Brazil. As the US tightens its sanctions against China, an opportunity has opened up for Brazilian soy exports (despite the environmental stresses this produces in Brazil).

Bolsonaro is not concerned. He is driven more by ideology than by pragmatism. Earlier this year, Bolsonaro visited Taiwan as part of an East Asian trip that included South Korea and Japan. After the election, Taiwan hastily congratulated Bolsonaro. China has said it is unhappy with this Bolsonaro-Taiwan dance; Chinese authorities have cautioned the Brazilians about having deeper ties with Taiwan. It is Bolsonaro's anti-Communism that drives his antipathy to China. Not his concern for Brazilian sovereignty.


The idea of Brazil as part of a Judeo-Christian civilisation is fundamental to Bolsonaro's worldview. He is the candidate of the conservative Christians – including the Pentecostals – many of whom share an attachment to Israel. That is why Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu quickly offered his congratulations to Bolsonaro for his victory. Israel has long cultivated this strand of conservative Christianity in Brazil, hoping to change the orientation of Brazilian foreign policy when it comes to West Asia. The Workers' Party governments of Lula and Dilma held fast as defenders of Palestinian self-determination.

Now, with the victory of Bolsonaro, the official Brazilian position vis-à-vis Israel might very well change. Just as India saw Tel Aviv as a stepping stone on the road to Washington in 1992-93, Brazil might have to go through Tel Aviv to cement its ties with the United States.


There is no immediate call for Braxit, Brazil's exit from the BRICS bloc. It will take some time for Bolsonaro to get used to the presidency and it will not be easy to overwhelm the sophisticated Brazilian foreign ministry, known as the Itamaraty – its headquarters. Diplomats at the Itamaraty say that Brazil cannot afford to turn its back on its BRICS allies nor on the G4 at the UN (Brazil, Germany, Japan and India) which is a bloc supporting each other for a permanent seat at the UN Security Council. There are business interests that have benefitted from the BRICS grouping and there are political interests keen on a permanent seat in the UN Security Council. These are going to be the barriers that Bolsonaro will have to scale. Braxit, then, cannot happen precipitously.

More ominously, Brazil under Bolsonaro will certainly deepen its ties to the United States and to the US agenda for South America. This means that Brazil will take more action in the Lima Group that seeks to overthrow the government in Venezuela. There will certainly be more a presence of US armed forces in Brazil, which will be no comfort to the government in Caracas – already in the gunsights of the US and of the South American oligarchy. There might not be a war in the conventional sense. But Brazil under Bolsonaro – in the BRICS or Braxit – will certainly be a front in the hybrid war against Venezuela and Bolivia.
The BRICs crash and join the wave (БРИКC падают и присоединяются к волне) / United States, October, 2018
Keywords: expert_opinion, global_governance
United States
Author: Steve LeVine

On Nov. 30, 2001, Jim O'Neill, chief economist of Goldman Sachs, released a 16-page white paper declaring a new geo-economic bloc that he said would supplant the current world order. If you were an investor, "BRIC" — Brazil, Russia, India and China — was the way to go.

Why it matters: Almost exactly 17 years later, the BRICs are emblematic of a very different world, but not the one O'Neill foresaw — one that is autocratic, nationalist and turbulent.

  • When O'Neill made his pronouncement, it caught fire. It was regarded as brilliant, and O'Neill himself as a seer. The world was still seven years away from the financial crash, but somehow it seemed right, as O'Neill proposed, that two of the G7 nations step aside to make way for a future G9 that would include all the four newcomer economic giants.
But that's not what has happened: Only China took on the economic stature that O'Neill described, becoming central to the global economy. India has grown fast as well, but has not become a global engine.

  • Meanwhile, politically, the states have rejected western-style democracy: Russia's Vladimir Putin has doubled down on autocracy. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a right-wing Hindu nationalist. China's Xi Jinping is the most power-obsessed leader since Mao.
  • And yesterday, Brazilians elected their own new nationalist leader: Jair Bolsonaro, a crude-talking hybrid of President Trump and the Philippines' Rodrigo Duterte, insulting minorities, championing torture, and vowing to kill his way to less crime.
  • It is a dimension of the global autocratic wave, made up of nation after nation exasperated with perceived venality and welcoming a big personality to assert control.
"Brazil is deteriorating badly in the wake of massive corruption, out of control crime, a bloated public sector, and high inequality," Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, tells Axios.

In the glare of a history, BRICs seems to some like a mere bumper sticker.

  • "BRIC is an empty concoction, of almost no meaning, a largely Chinese political myth," says Charles Hill, a former senior U.S. diplomat and now a professor at Yale.
What's next: The BRICs, which from the outset saw themselves as a political and economic alternative to the western order, now align with the global trend, said Ivo Daalder, president of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. That gives more force to the global trend challenging the post-WWII order.

"The BRICs are a source of 'alternative' international institutions to the U.S.-led liberal international order."
— Harold Trinkunas, a professor at Stanford University
The bottom line: Despite their failure to coalesce as O'Neill forecast, what the BRICs do — and what happens to them — is important. The BRICs as they are known could fall apart, since Bolsonaro "is much more anti-China than any of Brazil's recent presidents," said Trinkunas.

  • The broader issue is the vacuum of global leadership, of which the BRICs' failure is part, says Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group, "making tail risk outcomes (like war) more likely."
  • "Since we are talking about 1/3 of the planet's population," Haass said, "the stakes could hardly be higher."
Opening remarks by Hon. EN Mthethwa, Minister of Arts and Culture, Republic of South Africa, on the occasion of the 3rd BRICS Ministers of Culture Held at Maropeng, Gauteng Province, Republic of South Africa (Вступительное слово г-на Е.Н. Мтетва, министра искусств и культуры Южной Африки, по случаю 3-ей встречи министров культуры БРИКС, состоявшейся в Маропенге, провинция Гаутенг, Южно-Африканская Республика) / South Africa, October, 2018
Keywords: cooperation, speech, social_issues
South Africa

Programme Director,
H.E Sérgio Sá Leitão, Minister of Culture of Brazil
H.E Nicolai Malakov, Deputy Minister of Culture of Russia
H.E Xiang Zhaolun, Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism of China
Mr Arun Goel, Secretary: Ministry of Culture of Culture of India.
Senior officials present.
Ladies and gentlemen
Members of the media.

Let me take this opportunity to thank and acknowledge my counterparts from the various BRICS Countries responsible for culture for making time amid competing and pressing issues in their countries to attend and take part in the 3rd BRICS Culture meeting here in South Africa. This meeting also takes place as South Africa and indeed the world celebrate the centenary of South Africa's famous son, the founding father of our democracy and the first democratically elected President of the Republic of South Africa, uTata Nelson Mandela. We acknowledge and celebrate his contribution to the culture of peace and service to humanity. We also celebrate the centenary of one of the heroines of our struggle for freedom, Mama Albertina Sisulu who contributed greatly to a democratic South Africa.

It is of great significant that this 3rd BRICS Ministers of Culture meeting takes place at Maropeng when BRICS celebrate a decade of partnership, cooperation and success since its formation in 2009. Maropeng is a Setswana word meaning Place of Origin or Cradle of Humankind. It is here where we can all find our roots as human beings, it is this place that enabled scientists to confirm that all of humanity shares an African heritage and that we all belong to one diverse species across the globe. Welcome to Maropeng, welcome home.

This BRICS Culture meeting follows a series of other important meetings within the context of the BRICS partnership in various fields and disciplines. Key among all these meetings is the 10th BRICS Summit that was held in Johannesburg, South Africa from 25 - 27 July 2018. The meeting held under the theme "BRICS in Africa: Collaboration for Inclusive Growth and Shared Prosperity in the 4th Industrial Revolution" illustrate the important of this gathering and the common bond that unite us.

Ladies and gentleman, let me also acknowledge that as a group, we successfully hosted the 3RD BRICS Film Festival held in Durban from 21 to 27 July 2018, the inaugural BRICS Fashion show that was held in Johannesburg from 24 to 26 October 2018, the BRICS Senior Officials Meeting that was held in Pretoria from 26 to 27 September 2018 and the Alliance of BRICS Libraries meeting from 22 to 24 October 2018. Today we are here to engage in the 3rd BRICS Ministers of Culture meeting. This meeting will affirm the great foundation laid in the 1st and 2nd BRICS Ministers of Culture Meetings held in India and China respectively. I am also looking forward to the BRICS Photographic Exhibition that will be officially opened in Kimberley on 14 November 2018.

1. Thematic Approaches
1.1 BRICS Culture Working Group
Programme Director, during the 2nd Ministers of Culture meeting that took place in China in 2017, the idea of a BRICS Culture Working Group or as it was called then, BRICS Cultural Council, was proposed. The Working Group is an important formation in that it would drive the work of BRICS Culture between Summits, develop programmes and project, advice Ministers on policy matters and other key strategic issues within our domain.

The working group would foster an increased collaboration and cooperation, share knowledge, skills and best practice among BRICS countries.

I therefore welcome and support the establishment of BRICS Culture Working Group

1.2 Institutional Collaboration
In order for us to deepen and strengthen cultural collaboration amongst BRICS Countries, collaboration between several of our cultural institutions is key. Since 2017, meetings of the BRICS Alliance of Galleries and the BRICS Alliance for Youth Theatre took place in China culminating in the signing of the declaration of cooperation among these institutions. This year (2018) the BRICS Alliance of Museums and of Libraries also took place in both China and South Africa respectively. I am pleased by the progress that is being made in these important and critical areas of our work and is looking forward to the various progress reports that will be presented to us later today by these institutions. We welcome and encourage further collaboration in this regard.

1.3 Creative Economy
The 10th BRICS Summit, in its Johannesburg Declaration, recognised the importance and role of culture as one of the drivers of the 4th Industrial Revolution and acknowledged the economic opportunities that it presents. The declaration by the Heads of States and Governments requires from all of us gathered here today to join hands and work together to harness this power available to us. It is a task in which we dare not fail. The creative economy represented by film, fashion, animation, crafts and music amongst others, are arguably the greatest assets culture has. It is in this context colleagues that we need to move speedily, to instruct the Working Group to begin work on the available opportunities within BRICS, and to present to us the plan and budget to realise this during our next meeting in Brazil in 2019.

3.3.1 BRICS Film
The BRICS Film Festival has become an important feature in the BRICS calendar of events. It is one of the few activities open to the public that showcase the beauty and creative ingenuity of our people. During the 3rd BRICS Film Festival, industry role players from all BRICS countries met and agreed that it is a great platform to showcase film and to develop the film industries in the BRICS Member States to expand and encourage people to people exchanges.

A number of initiatives were proposed such as the BRICS Film Fund and the signing of the BRICS Audio-visual Co-production Treaty. These initiatives will encourage the growth of film in the BRICS countries thereby ushering in a new area of film cooperation to unlock the economic benefit and cultural tourism presented by film. Again the 10th BRICS Summit Declaration has this to say, and I quote, "we commend the organisation of the 3rd BRICS Film Festival and recognise the need to further deepen cooperation in this field. We acknowledge South Africa's proposal regarding a draft BRICS Treaty on Co-Production of Films to further promote cooperation in this sphere and to showcase the diversity of BRICS cultures'. End of quote. More work including the political, legal, policy, financial and institutional framework has to be done to advance the establishment of BRICS Co- Productions, Animation, a Film Fund, BRICS Academy Awards and distributions strategies. It is the work that has to be done by all of us regardless of the difference in our system of governments and departments.

3.3.2 BRICS Animation
Animation can form the basis of a brand new human narrative by which we perceive, experience, and entertain through film. The technological and skills set required to excel in this field of cinema lends itself easily to be tied in with the 4th Industrial economy of the 21st century and beyond. I single out animation from traditional film deliberately, because managed carefully it has the power to encourage the development of a globally competitive BRICS animation industry. It is a medium that can also draw in a lot of young people to explore and experiment with technology and in the process learn various skills required in the animation industry.

3.3.3 BRICS Fashion Collaboration
Fashion like film is one of the key cornerstones of the creative industry. Both are worth millions to the economy and both are major job creators. Millions of people all around the world are glued to their television sets or their smart phones daily to check the latest fashion trends to help them choose what to buy and wear. The success of the inaugural BRICS fashion show indicates that there is a market for BRICS Fashion. To this end we need to join hands in encouraging the establishment of an accelerator programme for young BRICS designers – an innovative educational program intended to help young designers to understand the fashion industry, to promote the creation of market access and consumption of fashion amongst BRICS countries, to support access for BRICS fashion designers to participate in each other's premier fashion shows and to jointly explore manufacturing, textile and retail opportunities within BRICS countries.

4 New areas of cooperation
New areas of co-operation will create endless opportunities that can be derived from our respective arts and culture industries. The World Tourism Organisation tells us that Cultural tourism accounts for 37% of global tourism, and furthermore affirms that it will continue to grow and increase by 15% annually..

(a) The Cities of BRICS Culture and Tourism, selected by BRICS countries, to promote the culture exchange, attract more tourists and highlight cultural diversity.

(b) BRICS Alliance on Culture Industry, proposed to be established to promote cultural industry cooperation among BRICS countries.

(c) BRICS Creative Cities Network, to be established following such network by UNESCO.

Ladies and gentlemen, let me end by saying the importance of what we do would not be measured by the number of meetings and participants, by the number and size of the documents we append our signatures to or the kilometers we travel to engage in talks but the measure of what we do would be measured by the impact it has on ordinary men and women. The positive influence on their lives, livelihood and the quality lives they live. We have a mammoth task ahead of us, time is of essence, we cannot delay anymore otherwise history will judge harshly. Let me end by quoting Former President Nelson Mandela, addressing the last concert of 46664 in London he said and I quote "It is in your hands" end of quote. It is indeed in our hands and we dare not drop the ball.

I thank you
Investment and Finance
Investment and finance in BRICS
'Brics bank has been quite disappointing' («НБР был довольно разочаровывающим») / South Africa, November, 2018
Keywords: ndb, expert_opinion, economic_challenges
South Africa
Author: Justin Brown

The former Goldman Sachs boss who coined the idea of the Brics group of countries, of which South Africa is now part, believes the Brics bank that the countries formed has been "quite disappointing so far".

James O'Neill is a former chairperson of Goldman Sachs Asset Management and a former Conservative UK government minister. He is a British economist best known for, in 2001, coining "Bric" – the acronym that stands for Brazil, Russia, India, and China; the four rapidly developing countries that have come to symbolise the shift in global economic power away from the developed G7 economies.

The Bric held its first major first formal summit in 2009 and South Africa joined in 2010 to make the Brics.

During an interview with O'Neill on the sidelines of the Discovery Leadership Summit, O'Neill said that the Brics Bank, formally known as the New Development Bank, had been "quite disappointing so far – almost anonymous".

"You take it in comparison with other things that the Chinese put a lot of support behind like in particular the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) – what has the Brics Bank done?"

The AIIB is a multilateral development bank that invests in infrastructure and other productive sectors and is headquartered in Beijing and began operations in January 2016.

The Brics Bank was formed in July 2014 and is headquartered in Shanghai. It opened a regional office in Johannesburg in August 2017.

"It is not obvious to me what the Brics bank's real purpose is," O'Neill said.

Regarding the Brics formation as a whole, O'Neill said: "For a political, international network to be created on the back of a phrase that I created – it pleases me … It is not obvious to me that they have done a lot to improve the outcomes of their own countries from what would have happened any how.

"I challenge the Brics leaders to ask themselves this question – what can we do together that will make not only the combined economic performance of all five of us better. But make our own economies do better than otherwise be the case – otherwise."

"What is the point of getting on the plane all the time to go to these different countries – just for the sake of it. Other than annoy America.

"I don't see enough evidence of them really focusing on big challenging issues that they share in common."

Jim O'Neill
When it came to South Africa's inclusion in Brics, O'Neill said: "If you don't have a large number of people – you are never going to be big. South Africa is a tiny country in terms of population, relative to the other four Brics. So it can't be justified by anyone who is serious about global economic affairs as being sort of a big global economy. I know South African leaders have sometimes got irritated by me talking about this. They shouldn't be as I will quickly follow it by saying they shouldn't confuse size with wealth.

"Luxembourg [a population of about 600 000] is one of the most prosperous countries in the world. South Africa should focus on being wealthy and healthy and not worry about being as big as the other Brics [members]. I don't think about it [South Africa] as a Brics. However, the fact that South African became a member of the Brics political club was tactically quite smart. I'm aware of evidence that they have shown some leadership in the Brics club."

Regarding talk of extra Brics members, O'Neill said this didn't make any sense.

"The most logical places would be Indonesia and Mexico. The Brics leaders should focus on getting something done that helps them and the world rather than bringing in more people."

Jim O'Neill

Turning to the Group of Seven (G7) and Brics, O'Neill called for a reworking of the major G club formation.

The G7 is a group consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

"By the end of this year or next year, India is going to be as big as the UK or France. How can we have a more effective global governance system that doesn't include some aging, declining Western democracies – Italy, Germany and France – which have shared a common monetary policy framework for 20 years. Why do they all need to be in this thing. It has no modern global purpose – in my view.

"Germany, France and Italy should only be represented by one of them, so you could bring the current G7 down to five. It not obvious to me, as wonderful a country it is, why Canada is there. Why is Canada there and not Australia? We today could easily have a new G5, which would have the US, Japan, China, India and the euro area."

South Africa lags in BRICS ease of business (Южная Африка отстает от БРИКС в простоте ведения бизнеса) / India, November, 2018
Keywords: rating, economic_challenges

The World Bank Group's Doing Business report noted that the BRICS economies, Brazil, the Russian Federation, India, China and South Africa, introduced a total of 23 reforms, with getting electricity and trading across borders the most common areas of improvement.

Marking its 16th anniversary, the World Bank Group's Doing Business report noted that 3,502 business reforms have been carried out since it began monitoring the ease of doing business around the world in 2003.

Governments around the world set a new record in bureaucracy busting efforts for the domestic private sector, implementing 314 business reforms over the past year, with two of those reforms being carried out in South Africa.

South Africa made starting a business easier by reducing the time for online business registration, while it also improved the monitoring and regulation of power outages by beginning to record data for the annual system average interruption duration index and system average interruption frequency index.

The World Bank said that given the importance of electricity, managing the risks associated with its use is imperative.

The lack of professional certification requirements and quality controls that characterize an inadequately regulated electricity sector reinforce the asymmetry of information individuals face when assessing the qualifications of electricians and engineers.

Deadly fires involving electrical failures are common, particularly in developing economies. In South Africa, for example,electrical fires accounted for 80% of the economic loss caused by the 46,000 fires that were attended to in 2015.

An independent regulator can ensure clarity and transparency and form the basis of a system that encourages accountability. In South Africa, for example, the statutory Bureau of Standards (SABS) has an explicit mandate to promote quality in products and services in several sectors, including engineering certifications and electrical appliances.

The reforms, carried out in 128 economies, benefit small and medium enterprises as well as entrepreneurs, enabling job creation and stimulating private investment. This year's reforms surpass the previous all-time high of 290 reforms two years ago.

"Fair, efficient, and transparent rules, which Doing Business promotes, are the bedrock of a vibrant economy and entrepreneurship environment. It's critical for governments to accelerate efforts to create the conditions for private enterprise to thrive and communities to prosper," said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim.

The report finds that reforms are taking place where they are most needed, with low-income and lower middle-income economies carrying out 172 reforms. In Sub-Saharan Africa, a record number of 40 economies implemented 107 reforms, a new best in number of reforms for a third consecutive year for the region. The Middle East and North Africa region scaled a new high with 43 reforms.

However, South Africa is now only the fifth easiest country in Africa to run a business, and has fallen to a rank of 82 out of 190 countries in both 2017 and 2018 from 74 in 2016 and 32 in 2008.

The deterioration in the rankings is not so much that South Africa made it harder to do business, but rather that other countries such as Mauritius, which is ranked 20th, have made it easier to do business. So for instance China surged by 32 positions to 46th and India jumped 23 rankings this year to 77th.

India's ranking improvement: 2018 from 2017

In the last two years the country has climbed 53 notches, a performance matched in the past only by Bhutan. The biggest gain was in construction permits, where India climbed 129 ranks to 52nd place on the back of targeted government effort to remove hurdles.

Part of what President Cyril Ramaphosa has promised to do is make it easier for South African businesses to do business. The emphasis here should be on cross-border trading where South Africa is only ranked 143rd compared with its neighbour Botswana at 55.

All BRICS countries in fact were in the bottom half of the world rankings in 2017 as the best ranking was for China at 97, then Russia at 100, followed by Brazil at 139, then India at 146 and finally South Africa at 147.

As defenders of the multilateral trading system at the BRICS Summit in South Africa, the BRICS countries resolved to improve trading between members and this is reflected in this year's rankings where China surged to 65, India improved to 80, Russia edged up to 99, Brazil climbed to 106 and South Africa lagged with a gain to 143.

NDB and FAO agree to strengthen collaboration through joint initiatives (НБР и ФАО согласились укреплять сотрудничество посредством совместных инициатив) / China, October, 2018
Keywords: ndb, fao, cooperation, concluded_agreements, economic_challenges

The President of the New Development Bank (NDB), Mr. K. V. Kamath, and the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Professor Graziano da Silva, met at the NDB's Headquarters in Shanghai to discuss opportunities for joint initiatives in areas of common interest, including rural development, water management and irrigation.

On the occasion, Mr. K. V. Kamath and Professor Graziano da Silva exchanged drafts of a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a framework for cooperation between the NDB and FAO. The Memorandum will be signed and enter into force following the conclusion of internal procedures.

Mr. K.V. Kamath and Professor Graziano agreed to co-organize a knowledge-sharing workshop on the topic of development impact in early 2019 to promote technical exchanges between staff and experts in water management, irrigation, sanitation and related fields. Several other forms of collaboration were also explored, including research and technical cooperation to support the design, monitoring and evaluation of sustainable development and infrastructure projects.

The collaboration between the NDB and FAO will aim to drive progress on their shared objectives of growth and development, in particular in light of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the role of international organizations in helping countries achieve their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

"Strengthening the collaboration between the NDB and FAO is an important step towards further aligning the activities of our institutions in support of our member countries' development efforts. This partnership will leverage the development expertise of FAO as a custodian of 21 SDG indicators, within the NDB's capacity and mandate to mobilize resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in emerging and developing economies," stated Mr. K. V. Kamath.

"In order to achieve SDGs on time – there are less than 12 years left – we need consistent, committed financing. Food and agriculture, water and sanitation, energy and transportation infrastructure can – and must – contribute enormously. This is why FAO is pleased today to join forces with the New Development Bank, so that together we can draw on our combined strengths and deliver tangible results for the countries we support," stated Professor Graziano da Silva.

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.

FAO is a specialized agency of the UN established in 1945 to lead international efforts to defeat hunger. The goals of FAO are to eradicate hunger, improve nutrition and agricultural productivity, raise the standard of living of rural populations and contribute to the growth of the world economy.
World of work
Social policy, trade unions, actions
Mechanical Engineering Team Lifts Off at BRICS Future Skills Challenge (Команда машиностроителей взлетела в рамках инициативы БРИКС "Навыки будущего") / South Africa, October, 2018
Keywords: Business_Council, research, social_issues
South Africa

During the recent Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) Council meeting, South Africa hosted a BRICS Future Skills Challenge in Johannesburg. The challenge involved exploring skills for present and future work, particularly transforming and emerging skills in the digital, manufacturing and engineering, and transport sectors.

Teams consisting of members from participating countries were assigned specific tasks with tight deadlines set by the Skills Development Working Group (SDWG). They were then judged by a panel of specialists from BRICS countries. Through this Challenge, the SDWG aimed to encourage co-operation and innovation, and to raise skills standards through the development of standard qualifications and new curricula in emerging technologies, ranging from cyber security and robotic welding to aircraft composites, to name a few.

A group of students from the Discipline of Mechanical Engineering participated in the Challenge. With only a month to prepare, during which a few crash courses took place, teams that included UKZN students and members from other BRICS countries were assigned the task of designing and developing a drone and an autonomous landing/charging unit within a couple of days, with some training delivered prior to the event.

Nelson Mandela University organised many of the tasks for the Challenge, and invited UKZN to join the Drone Technology Challenge through the Robotics Association of South Africa (RASA).

UKZN's Professor Riaan Stopforth, who is involved with heading a national project for drone research, was an invited specialist to guide teams in the Challenge. Stopforth holds a remote pilot license and is a rated instructor, and he drew on experience in mechatronics, robotics and aviation disciplines to advise the students, particularly concerning regulations implemented by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) relating to the operation of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or Remote Piloted Aerial Systems (RPAS).

UKZN participants joined teams from India, Russia and China, often using Google Translate and hand gestures to overcome the language barrier. They were able to give solid advice to their teams and the groups achieved unique drone and landing/charging station designs.

The 15 participants in five teams, with the help of five specialists, had a couple of days to familiarise themselves with the equipment, software, and material available. Operating on as little as four hours sleep a day, they designed and developed a drone within a day, spending the remaining time designing and developing a landing pad whereupon the drone could autonomously land and make contact with the charging point within a one square centimetre accuracy.

'There were many challenges for the participants before the event to enable them to attend with the required knowledge, yet with their persistence, and using the opportunity to learn something new, they made it happen,' said Stopforth.

UKZN participants said one of the most important things they learnt was how to communicate with people from different countries. Teams were able to learn from one another to improve their designs, and had to devise creative solutions to construct components that were unavailable.
BRICS and the Global Competition Law Project (БРИКС и Глобальный проект закона о конкуренции) / Russia, November, 2018
Keywords: research, global_governance, social_issues
Author: Alexey Ivanov


Evolving BRICS cooperation in the sphere of competition law and policy can provide new hope for the global competition law project. This cooperation is aimed to embrace the peculiarities of globalization in its current phase. What is common for the BRICS jurisdiction is that they are all in desperate search for a solution allowing to shortcut the developmental track. This experimentalist energy and creativity being the main characteristics of the group are extremely important for the current phase of global economic development. It is not only an institutional structure of the global order that is in transition but also the very nature of the global marketplace. The key focus of the new global competition policy should be facilitation of openness among global networks and value chains through the reduction of the manipulative and exclusionary potential of networks. The BRICS cooperation has an importation role in making the global marketplace both fairer and more equal as it has an ability to promote a form of competition encouraging a broader dissemination of knowledge and advanced technologies while eliminating barriers imposed on the global flows of innovation by both the global technological monopolies and cartel- like technological joint ventures burgeoning within their "walled gardens" at the expense of the excluded consumers and entrepreneurs around the world.
BRICS culture ministers meet (Встреча министров культуры БРИКС) / South Africa, October, 2018
Keywords: concluded_agreements, social_issues
South Africa

Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa is currently hosting his counterparts from the BRICS countries for a session where they will look at how to reinforce cultural and people-to-people relations.

The meeting, which is being held at the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site in Maropeng, will provide a strategic leadership and guidance on how governments can best strengthen collaborations amongst member states, market access and promote cultural diplomacy for a broader government socio-economic agenda.

"Amongst other objectives, the ministerial session will deliberate on the implementation of cultural agreements, strengthening of bilateral relations, reinforcement of cultural and people-to-people relations, expansion of trade as well as the promotion of cultural diplomacy," the department said.

At the end of the session, the ministers are also expected to adopt and sign the declaration of the BRICS Ministerial meeting on Culture – Maropeng Declaration.

The event forms part of the July BRICS Summit which was hosted by South Africa under the theme, BRICS in Africa: Collaboration for Inclusive Growth and Shared Prosperity in the 4th Industrial Revolution. -
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