Information Bulletin of the BRICS Trade Union Forum
Issue 45.2018
2018.11.05 — 2018.11.11
International relations
Foreign policy in the context of BRICS
Sino-Brazilian relations set to enhance further (Китайско-бразильские отношения будут продолжать улучшаться) / China, November, 2018
Keywords: cooperation

Brazil and China established diplomatic relations in 1974, on August 15, a date that since this year also means the Day for Chinese Immigration to Brazil. The date has been officially circled on Brazilian federal calendar, showing the importance that Brazilian government attaches to its relation with China. This step is cultural and symbolic, but there is also a fruitful commercial cooperation that can be highlighted on the bilateral trade, not to mention other dimensions of a constructive friendship.

China is Brazil's main trade partner since 2009. Last year, the trade balance accounted for more than $80 billion. The Latin American country is also attracting Chinese foreign direct investment, a figure that is growing since 2010. According to the national government, China has since 2007 invested more than $53 billion in Brazil in different sectors, from infrastructure to digital economy - including a ride-hailing app (99 was acquired by DiDi) and a fintech company (Tencent holds 5 percent of Numbak). State Grid, for example, has brought to Brazil its own technology for ultra-high voltage transmission line, with a capacity to transmit 800k/v of energy on a network that will total more than 4,000 kilometers by 2019.

In face of the recent elections of Jair Bolsonaro as Brazilian next president, there are discussions on what policies the newly elected government will adopt toward China. The expectation is that the government will attach importance to Sino-Brazilian relations and strive for better bilateral ties.

Meanwhile, Brazilian scholars, academics, journalists, lawyers, diplomats and other professionals who are familiar with China, under the Brazilian Studies on China Network (RBChina, its Portuguese acronym) are stressing the importance of Sino-Brazilian relations as a state policy, not a government policy. Experts who are familiar with Sino-Brazilian relations are unanimously supporting the improvement of this relation, aiming to develop more research about both countries and its ties. At a meeting in the week before Brazilian elections the group signed a document asking to improve those ties.

Brazil in recent years has been looking to improve its exports to China - not just on volume or price, but especially selling more value added products. Essentially, Brazilians exports to China are concentrated in soy, oil and iron ore. Those next days are crucial for this goal. Brazil is one of honored guests to China International Import Expo (CIIE), which is going to be held in Shanghai from November 5 to 10. As part of the effort of the government, the Brazilian Export Promotion Agency is bringing to China 80 companies - 60 percent of them on food and beverage sector. The most influential industrial association in Brazil, São Paulo State Industrial Federation, is leading a delegation of 70 companies, totaling 120 entrepreneurs. Many of them are looking to alternatives to enter in the Chinese market, exploring even the e-commerce channels that China is developing. It is just another example that there is a plan to strength the ties between Brazil and China even from the official side, but strongly from the private sector.

Next year, Brazil will also host the BRICS Summit, a presidential meeting that closes a year of intense ministerial discussions and also gives space to bilateral discussion among the participants. On the academy, on the R&D sector and even entrepreneurial area there are activities usually organized by the host country and its institutions. Brazil will also inaugurate its representative office to the New Development Bank (NDB), a bank that unites all the BRICS countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

It is time to improve Sino-Brazilian businesses, exchanges, researches and political ties. The academic, economic, foreign trade and investment professionals and institutions are all paving this way.

Janaína Camara da Silveira holds a Master on Economy and is an expert on Sino-Brazilian relations working on analysis at Radar China.

The opinions expressed here are those of the writer and do not represent the views of China Daily and China Daily website.

BRICS after Bolsonaro (БРИКС после Болсонаро) / Iceland, November, 2018
Keywords: expert_opinion, political_issues
Author: Ghassan Kadi

BRICS is the acronym of the "alliance" that includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

In reality, and with all due respect to Brazil and South Africa, BRICS is about RIC.

With Russia, India and China, in any order, there lies the future of Eurasia; the virtually unchartered quarter that houses over one third of the entire world population; a huge chunk of landmass, rich in resources, not only human resources, and just waiting for the right moment to make its mark in history.

The so-called "Silk Road", or in reality silk roads, was historically the network of caravan paths that ancient traders took on their journeys from east to west, linking worlds largely unknown to each other, long before Vasco da Gama's highly documented trips.

And whilst the ancient cultures of India and China flourished in their own right, apart from Alexander's conquest, the Muslim and subsequent Mongol conquests, there was little historic geopolitical interaction between that far Far East and the Middle East; let alone Europe. The long icy and hard terrain made it very difficult, even for the brave at heart, to take the journey from Beijing to Vienna. The temptations to make that trip did not match the hardship of the journey for the averagely motivated traveler.

But this is all about to change. The new "Silk Road", the network of super highways that the "RIC" nations are intent to build is going to change this status quo and shorten land distances.

The Trans-Siberian railway is a Russian route and constructing it linked Vladivostok with Moscow, but it was not intended to link China with Europe. If anything, it helped bolster the isolation of the USSR. But the new "Silk Road" project will change the transportation map of the world upside down once and for ever.

The determination to build this massive road network does not need either Brazil or South Africa; again with all due respect to both nations.

By taking many considerations into account, we must be realistic and say that the electoral win of Brazilian candidate Bolsonaro will not affect the prospect of the "Silk Road" one way or the other. The repercussions of his election will affect Brazil more than any other country. Purportedly, his policies will affect global climate, but this is another issue. His fiscal and international policy making decisions may put Brazil under the American sphere of influence, and this unfortunately can and will affect Brazil very adversely, but the damage is likely to be restricted to Brazil only.

With or without Brazil, BRICS can survive, but for it to survive and make a difference, it will need to become more serious about conducting its business.

The first step towards becoming more proactive is best done by establishing proper trust and conciliation between the three major players; Russia, China and India.

The love-hate relationship that marred the Soviet-Maoist era took a while to heal. The Russians and the Chinese seem to have gone many steps ahead towards establishing trust and confidence in each other. But China and India continue to have serious problems, and for as long as they have border and sovereignty disputes, this hinders them from becoming effective partners in every way.

Furthermore, BRICS needs a preamble and a Statement of Purpose. At the moment, it doesn't have one. With all of its hypocrisies, the Western alliance camouflages itself behind the veil of Christian values, democracy and the "free world" slogans. Thus far, the only undeclared statement of purpose for BRICS seems to be that of defiance to the Western alliance.

The BRICS alliance will face a struggle founding an attractive preamble. Orthodox Christian Russia, predominantly Hindu India and Communist/Taoist/Buddhist China have little in common religiously speaking. Perhaps the BRICS leaders should be using common political grounds instead. They certainly cannot use democracy; not only because such an adoption would make them look as copycats, but also because they have different ideas about democracy, and Russia and China definitely do not endorse Western-style democracy.

In reality however, BRICS can use abstract lofty principles as their preamble; principles such as morality, honesty, and if they want to be less "theological" as it were, they could use principles such as "International law", "International equality" and the like.

Apart from accumulating gold, building bridges and super road networks, planning fiscal measures to cushion the effects of a possible collapse of the Western economy on their own economies, developing state-of-the-art hypersonic weaponry and giving a clear message announcing that the world is no longer unipolar, the BRICS alliance ought to make clear statements about what kind of alternative world it envisions.

This is very important, because a significant percentage of the world population does not know what to expect if the BRICS alliance becomes the new dominant financial and military power. They have special concerns about China because they don't know much about China, and they worry not only about whether or not China will be a new colonial super power, but they also worry about one day waking up and seeing traffic signals in Mandarin; so to speak.

To many people across the globe, the Chinese culture, language and modus operandi look like something from another planet.

The Cyrillic Russian and the Devanagari Indian scripts are no less daunting than the Mandarin script, but many Indians and Russians speak English and the West has had much more cultural interaction with both Russia and India than it ever did with China.

Furthermore, for the BRICS alliance to become more viable, it will need to develop a military alliance akin to that of NATO. When and if such an alliance is forged, then members will be protected as any attack on one will be considered as an attack on the whole coalition. Such an alliance will not increase the chances of war. Quite the contrary in fact, as it can lead to much needed stability. If for argument sake North Korea were a member, it would not be in a situation where it can claim that it needs nuclear weapons for self-defense, and secondly, the West would not be threatening to attack for fear of a major global escalation. The Cold-War, costly and potentially disastrous as it was, presents a successful model of nuclear deterrence. And in retrospect, had Vietnam been a member of the Warsaw Pact (or a similar one that included the USSR), it is possible that America's war on Vietnam would have been averted. A more realistically plausible scenario is the case of former Yugoslavia. Had the Warsaw Pact been still standing, NATO would have never attacked Serbia back in 1999.

To be able to afford a more effective military deterrent, be a viable stand-alone economic power and to be attractive to the rest of the world, the BRICS coalition will ultimately need more member nations. Ideally, it would be of huge significance if Japan could be convinced to join it. The inclusion of Japan will not only add a huge financial power to the group, but it will also generate an in-house regional security to the China Sea region. Baby steps have been recently made between China and Japan towards conciliation, and much more needs to be done. It will take a lot of work and good intentions on both sides to undo a long history of hostilities and distrust.

Other nations that can and arguably should enter the coalition are; Venezuela, Mexico, Argentina, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Korea, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, and post Erdogan Turkey. Why post Erdogan? Because Erdogan's Turkey can turn BRICS into a bag of TRICS.

Resource-rich Australia has much to gain in joining such an alliance as this will not only bolster its own security, but it will also secure economic stability and on-going trade.

Thus far, all the official visits that the RIC leaders have exchanged, all the business deals they made, all the projects they are embarking on, huge as they are, are only baby steps towards turning their alliance into one that can lead the world and establish the necessary moral, financial and security foundations that are capable of underpinning it.

Over and above establishing a new world reserve currency, setting up an alternative to the US-based Internet and WWW, SWIFT, etc, the brave new world will need hope, trust, morality and concrete assurances for a long-awaited change for the better. These are the real challenges facing the BRICS alliance now; not the Bolsonaro win.

BRICS and the Future of Multilateralism (БРИКС и будущее многосторонности) / Canada, November, 2018
Keywords: expert_opinion, political_issues
Author: Beenish Sultan and Andrew Korybko

Ms. Beenish Sultan, a Ph.D. student at Pakistan's National Defence University, conducted the following interview with Andrew Korybko as part of her research on the topic of BRICS and the post-Cold War order:


Andrew Korybko: What in your opinion is the future of 'multilateralism' and the rise of major powers like China and Russia against the US?

Beenish Sultan: I think that we'll see complicated and sometimes ever-changing multilateral partnerships forming in the future that are more functionally effective than the big "talking clubs" of BRICS, the G20, and other groups. What I mean is that tangible goals like defeating terrorism, bringing peace to a war-torn country, or using national currencies in trade are a lot easier to pursue than ambitious but vague ones of defeating the US, for example. Larger platforms will continue to be important in gathering like-minded states and setting broad objectives, but it'll really come down to so-called "working groups" within these organizations to actually get something done.

Great Powers like China, Russia, and Pakistan will take the lead in actually achieving results, whereas smaller- and medium-sized states such as Nepal and Uzbekistan, for example, will generally just tag along and bandwagon. That said, it would be a mistake to overlook the strategic importance that some of these smaller- and medium-sized states could play in certain contexts, since they might be the key to making or breaking a multilateral "working group", meaning that the most diplomatically adroit of them could "balance" between the US and its rivals to their supreme benefit. This could, however, also be exploited by America for divide-and-rule purposes.

AK: Can BRICS as an organization be the champion of multilateralism in the post-Cold War order?

BN: Personally, I'm not too optimistic about BRICS and I look at it as being more of a "talking club" than anything significant. It's encouraging that the five countries meet every year and issue high-sounding statements about expanding their cooperation and other vague things, and it certainly makes for popular photo-ops that play enormously well to their domestic audiences, but BRICS hasn't really accomplished anything of note. Granted, there is a currency reserve system in place and a development bank, but these still leave a lot to be desired and aren't the driving engines behind the emerging Multipolar World Order that are needed to take multilateralism (in this instance, in the financial sense) to the next level.

China's "Influence Ops" in the USA. "Long March through US Institutions"
A lot of BRICS' failings have to do with the group pretty much being a collection of three bilateral relationships between Russia-China, Russia-India, and India-China, with South Africa and Brazil apparently tacked on for symbolism's sake to say that the organization has a presence in each continent of the "Global South". Those two aforementioned non-Eurasian members, however, barely contribute to BRICS and are treated more as objects than subjects, though that's understandable given the power and economic asymmetries between them and the three others. On top of that, China wants to use BRICS as a platform for spreading the Belt & Road Initiative through the BRICS+ concept, while India is opposed to this and could obstruct it.

AK: What is the future of international organizations in the post-Cold War world order, particularly when it comes to BRI?

BS: International organizations and institutions will remain important in the future, especially because of BRI, but that paradigm-changing global vision will seek to establish alternative ones that can eventually replace their Western counterparts. These newer ones will prospectively be Chinese-centric, though not necessarily Chinese-controlled (even if there might be a grey line between the two). The transition from Western-/US-controlled international bodies to Chinese-centric/-controlled ones will present the opportunity for third-party entities to sprout up and "balance" between the two, but this won't be a 21st-century revival of the Non-Aligned Movement. Instead, there might not even be a formal umbrella organizing its members, nor any official acknowledgement from any likeminded countries that this movement even exists, since it could just take place somewhat spontaneously on a case-by-case basis when it comes to "working groups" and might not be preplanned or even capable of being organized.

This development could be a double-edged sword for the US and China because each could attempt to instrumentalize this trend to undermine the international bodies that the other controls. The resultant competition could take both kinetic and non-kinetic forms. The first-mentioned will most likely be relied upon by the US in carrying out Color Revolutions, Hybrid Wars, and coups against targeted states, while the latter would probably be utilized more by China in seeking to court other countries' "deep states" (permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies) by giving their members' affiliated companies preferential (and ultimately very profitable) trading arrangements within BRI that are much more sustainable than the suitcases full of cash that America is known for. This will further reinforce the notion that international organizations are objects of the New Cold War between the US and China instead of independent subjects in their own right.


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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.

BRICS: A Future in Limbo? (БРИКС: Будущее в неопределенности?) / Canada, November, 2018
Keywords: expert_opinion, political_issues

The BRICS are not what they intended to be, never really were.

Today it's clear that fascist-turned Brazil is out – so we are at RICS. There is not much to argue about. The world's fifth largest economy, Brazil, has failed and betrayed the concept of the BRICS and the world at large. Whether you consider South Africa as a valid member of the BRICS is also questionable. Much of SA's social injustice has actually become worse since the end of apartheid. Ending apartheid was a mere political and legal exercise.

Distribution of power and money in SA have not really changed. To the contrary – it worsened. 80% of all land is still in the hands of white farmers. This is what President Cyril Ramaphosa wants to change drastically, by confiscating white farmers' land without compensation and re-distribute it to black farmers, who have no formation of how to run these farms. This is not only utterly unjust and will create internal conflicts, the last thing SA needs, but it is also very inefficient, as farming and agricultural production will decline most likely drastically and SA, a potential exporter of farm and agricultural goods, will become a net importer, a serious hit on South African's economy.

The principle of redistributing land to the black African society is a solid one. But not by force and not by confiscation without compensation, nor without an elaborate training program for African farmers – to lead to a peaceful transfer – all of which does takes time and cannot happen over-night. There are too many example of hush-hush land reforms that failed miserably and actually plunged entire society in poverty and famine. Land reforms – YES, but planned and well organized and strategized. Land reforms are long-term propositions. To be successful, they don't happen over night.

On a recent trip to SA, I spoke to several people, including especially women from townships, i.e. SOWETO, who said they were better off under apartheid.

It is not a scientific statistic, but the fact that some black people dare say that the system that atrociously discriminated, exploited and raped them, was better than today's non-apartheid system, is significant. It is a sad testimony to a generation of SA's democracy.

So, now we could say, the BRICS are down to RIC – Russia, India and China.

Does India deserve to belong to a club that has as a goal of equality and solidarity?

The cast system, about which very little is written, is a horrible, horrible mechanism of discrimination. And there are no efforts under way to abolish it. To the contrary. The Indian elite likes it – it provides cheap labor. It's actually legalized slavehood, totally submissive to the upper class, the higher casts. It's cultural, they say. Is such injustice excusable under principles of tradition? Hardly. Especially as this "cultural tradition" serves only a small upper class, is devoid of any compassion and has absolutely no ambition to transform itself to an equal and level playing field. That alone is unworthy of the BRICS' principles.

India, Death by Demonetization: "Financial Genocide", The Crime of the Century
The other point, which I believe is important in considering India's "BRICS viability", is the fact that PM Narendra Modi is like a straw in the wind, constantly wavering between pleasing the US and leaning toward the east, Russia and China. This is certainly not an indication of stability, for a country to become a member in good standing and solidarity with a group of eastern countries, that intend to follow some rather noble human and social justice standards, like Russia and China. But that's precisely what happened. India has weaseled her way into the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

However, on 6 September 2018, The US and India signed a breakthrough security agreement, as reported by the Financial Times. According to the FT, this new compact was "cementing relations between the pair [US and India] and unlocking sales of high-tech American weaponry worth billions of dollars to the world's top arms importer (meaning India [not considering Saudi Arabia]). Washington sees India as the linchpin of its new Indo-Pacific strategy to counter the rise of China, but has spent months pushing for closer co-operation. It wants Delhi to participate in more joint military exercises, boost its role in regional maritime security and increase arms purchases."

"We fully support India's rise," said Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State, during a visit to New Delhi. The FT continues, "later on Thursday the two countries signed Comcasa, a security agreement tailored to India that Jim Mattis, US Defense Secretary, said meant the pair could now share "sensitive technology". All of this does not bode well for the BRICS, nor for the SCO, of which India has recently become a member.

The BRICS also have a so-called development bank, the "New Development Bank" (NDB) which so far has been and remains largely non-functional, mostly because of internal conflicts.

Then, there is the Crime of the Century committed by Indian PM Norendra Modi, who on 8 November 2016 decided to follow USAID's advice and demonetize India's mostly rural society – a society of almost sixty percent without access to banks, thereby committing "Financial Genocide", in the name of Washington. Modi brutally declared all 500 (US$ 7) and 1,000 rupee-notes – about 85% of all money in circulation – invalid, unless exchanged or deposited in a bank or post office account until 31 December 2016. After this date, all unexchanged 'old' money is invalid. More than 98% of all monetary transactions in India take place in cash.

Thousands of Indians, mostly in rural areas, died of famine or suicide. Nobody knows the exact figures. Many rural Indians could not bear the moral burden of being unable to sustain their families, not having access to a bank and to exchange their old money for new money. This is a US-driven effort towards global demonetization. India – with 1.3 billion people – is a test case for poor countries, while demonetization, or rather digitization of money in rich western countries is already moving ahead in giant steps, i.e. in Scandinavian countries and Switzerland. See this. Modi clearly betrayed his people, following orders of the US, transmitted through the infamous USAID.

Under close scrutiny, the BRICS don't stand the test they subscribed to in their first summit in 2009, in Yekaterinburg, Russia on June 16, 2009, and under which they were legalized and officiated in December 2010, when South Africa joined the club of four, to make it the BRICS.

At this point we are down to Russia and China – R and C are left as viable partners of the BRICS. They are also the founders of the SCO.

Washington was once again successful in dividing – according to the historic, age-old axiom, 'divide and conquer'. The concept of the BRICS was a real threat to the western Anglo-Saxon led world order. No more. If anything, the concept and structure of the BRICS has to be rethought, re-invented and re-drafted. Will it happen?

How much longer and how many more times the BRICS can meet in lush summits and publicly declare their solid alliance as a new horizon against western world hegemony, when in reality, they are utterly divided and full of internal ideological strife – adhering to none of the noble goals of solidarity they once committed to?


Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

This article was originally published on New Eastern Outlook.

Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a water resources and environmental specialist. He worked for over 30 years with the World Bank and the World Health Organization around the world in the fields of environment and water. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for Global Research; ICH; RT; Sputnik; PressTV; The 21st Century; TeleSUR; The Vineyard of The Saker Blog, the New Eastern Outlook (NEO); and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.
Investment and Finance
Investment and finance in BRICS
Brics Development Bank to expand work in Brazil (НБР расширится до Бразилии) / Brazil, November, 2018
Keywords: ndb, concluded_agreements

The New Development Bank (NDB), of the Brics—a bloc comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa—was the topic of a meeting held Tuesday (Nov. 6) in Shanghai, China, between Brazil's Foreign Minister Aloysio Nunes, and NDB President Kundapur Vaman Kamath.

During the meeting, Nunes and Kamath talked about the bank's institutional advancements and the efforts to expand its work in Brazil. As it stands today, NDB provides over $600 million in funding for projects in infrastructure, transport, and sanitation.

The Brazilian minister praised the progress made by the bank since his his last visit to Shanghai last May. Since then, a deal was signed for the installation of an NDB regional office for the Americas in São Paulo. Its inauguration is likely to take place in 2019 during the Brazil Investment Forum.

The bank president mentioned the new members being considered and the consolidation of potential projects to be financed by Brazil in the future.


"NDB's representation in Brazil will increase the access of companies and public institutions to the bank and will make project planning and development more dynamic," Kamath argued. He went on to say that the criteria for the admission of new members should be set shortly—a measure necessary for taking the institution to global levels.

Kundapur Kamath added that the instution has worked to have Brazilian professionals hired, so that the "member countries may be equally represented" in the staff. At the end of the meeting, Minister Nunes pointed out that NDB is one of main achievements of Brics.
Sinopec teams with Apex-Brasil (Sinopec сотрудничает с Apex-Brasil) / China, November, 2018
Keywords: concluded_agreements

The trade delegation of China Petroleum and Chemical Corp, known as Sinopec and the world's largest refiner by volume, signed agreements with Apex-Brasil to purchase oil products, chemical products, electromechanical equipment, coal and other materials, the company announced on Thursday.

The contract's value was $45.6 billion, Sinopec reported during the ongoing China International Import Expo held in Shanghai., Sinopec's e-commerce platform for industrial products, held a signing ceremony for a memorandum of strategic cooperation with Apex-Brasil.

The two parties agreed to establish a cooperative partnership and jointly promote quality products and services in Brazil and expand business opportunities of Brazilian enterprises in China, utilizing Epec as a platform.

The signing ceremony is conducive to expanding business opportunities in trade integration between the two countries, realizing BRICS cooperation and promoting pragmatic development.

Epec launched its global website on April 18, 2017, and Russian and Spanish versions went online on March 16, 2018.

The total amount of orders placed on the Epec global website reached $9.5 billion at present. There are over 1,100 listed suppliers on the site with a total of 8,800 product categories, covering a wide range including raw materials, equipment and chemical products.

Committed to promoting trade in BRICS countries, Epec was endorsed as the e-commerce platform of industrial products for BRICS countries by the BRICS Business Council last June.

Through the creation of the "BRICS Pavilion", it helps promote high quality products manufactured in BRICS countries. Trade volume related to BRICS countries is $870 million at present.

FAO and NDB to Join Forces in Bid to Achieve 2030 Agenda (ФАО и НДБ объединили свои силы в стремлении достичь Повестки дня до 2030 года) / United Kingdom, November, 2018
Keywords: ndb, cooperation, sustainable_development
United Kingdom

In the first partnership of its kind, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the New Development Bank (NDB) are set to increase their joint efforts to help countries achieve the FAO's Sustainable Development Goals, with a special focus on safeguarding water and soil resources.

When meeting at the end of October with NDB President, K V Kamath, FAO Director-General, José Graziano da Silva, noted that it will take incremental resources of up to an estimated $265 billion a year to end poverty and hunger by 2030 – two of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals agreed by the international community.

"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," the FAO Director-General said..

Through the partnership, FAO and the NBD would aim to develop and implement joint programmes and projects in food and agriculture and rural infrastructure, including in water and irrigation; sustainable land use; soil management; and, the fight against desertification. Activities could include knowledge and experience sharing and the promotion of innovative solutions as well as joint research and technical cooperation.

The NDB (formerly the BRICS Development Bank) is a multilateral development bank established by the BRICS states – Brazil, the Russian Federation, India, China and South Africa – in July 2015 and fully operational since February 2016. The Bank is mandated to mobilise resources for sustainable development and infrastructure projects in support of global growth and development. To date, it has approved 26 projects, in all member countries, for a total amount of more than $6.5 billion in investments. The Bank's operations focus on key areas including clean energy, transport infrastructure, water management, sanitation and sustainable urban development.

New Food

NDB president meets prime minister of Russia in Shanghai (Президент НБР встретился с премьер-министром России в Шанхае) / China, November, 2018
Keywords: ndb, top_level_meeting

On 5 November 2018, Mr. K.V. Kamath, the President of New Development Bank had a meeting with Mr. Dmitry Medvedev, the Prime Minister of Russian Federation. The meeting was held in Shanghai, during the official visit of the Prime Minister to the People's Republic of China.

During the conversation, Mr. K.V. Kamath and Mr. Dmitry Medvedev discussed further development of the Bank, strengthening its project pipeline, the NDB's plans for accessing financial markets of its member countries and opening regional offices.

Mr. K.V. Kamath briefed Mr. Dmitry Medvedev on the progress of the NDB, including assignment of AA+ long-term issuer credits from S&P and Fitch international credit rating agencies, growth of the Bank's approvals to 26 loans aggregating over USD 6.5 bln, with cumulative loan approvals for projects from Russia reaching USD 1.5 bln.

It was highlighted that the Bank is willing to support Russian Government's development agenda and infrastructure development programmes, including by actively participating in the financing of the Comprehensive plan for modernization and expansion of trunk infrastructure approved by the Government.

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. To fulfill its purpose, the NDB will support public or private projects through loans, guarantees, equity participation and other financial instruments. According to the NDB's General Strategy, sustainable infrastructure development is at the core of the Bank's operational strategy for 2017-2021.

Political Events
Political events in the public life of BRICS
Brics, Debate in Rome on Areas of Cooperation, Role of Italy (БРИКС, дискуссия в Риме о сферах сотрудничества, роль Италии) / Italy, November, 2018
Keywords: expert_opinion, global_governance

The Embassy of Republic of South Africa in Italy, SIOI and EURISPES, with the patronage of the Italian Network for the Euro-Mediterranean Dialogue (RIDE-APS) and of the Network of Anna Lindh Foundation in Italy, organized at the SIOI in Rome a debate where experts and diplomats discussed the results of the BRICS' July 2018 summit in Johannesburg.

After the greetings from SIOI President Franco Frattini and EURISPES President Gian Maria Fara, Amb. Shirish M. Soni, representing the current South African BRICS Presidency, described the new BRICS areas of cooperation and global development, which in the near future will have a significant impact on the international scene on areas and sectors of primary interest also for Italy. In light of the first decade of activity, the Ambassador of the Chinese People's Republic, Ruiyu Li, enlightened the BRICS impact on the economic and financial governance; the Ambassador of Brasil, Antonio De Aguiar Patriota, focused the large audience's attention on multilateralism and the BRICS proposed reform of the global governance's architecture; Pavel Knyazev, Vice-Director of the Policy Planning Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and responsible of the BRICS negotiations for Russian Federation, highlighted BRICS contribution for peace and security, particularly in the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern turbulent areas; the Vice Head of Mission of the Indian Embassy in Rome, Gloria Gangte, emphasized the BRICS action on the field of direct cooperation between peoples.

After the first session, devoted to the speeches of the Bilateral and Multilateral BRICS Ambassadors, chaired by Franco Frattini, the second session, chaired by Eurispes Secretary General Marco Ricceri, opened with Dario Fabbri, SIOI lecturer and LIMES scientific advisor, who analyzed the geopolitical BRICS dimension. Enrico Molinaro, President of Mediterranean Perspectives and Secretary General of RIDE-APS, Head of the Anna Lindh Network in Italy, concluded the experts' debate presenting the acquis of the Eurispes Research Laboratory on BRICS, launching the proposal of setting up a permanent Forum Italy-BRICS, an innovative policy-oriented research instrument in cooperation with the BRICS Euro-Mediterranean coordination.

Malusi Gigaba falls at terminal velocity (Малуси Гигаба падает с предельной скоростью) / South Africa, November, 2018
Keywords: expert_opinion
South Africa
Author: Tebogo Khaas

The spirited attempts of Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba to defy the laws of political gravity give new meaning and resonance to the scientific term "terminal velocity" – the highest speed attainable by an object as it falls through a medium.

While political heavyweight Gigaba's fall through the political medium seems to defy science, it has inadvertently put the spotlight on the ANC's consequence management philosophy amid a highly charged sociopolitical environment.

Let me explain.

In his stints as minister of home affairs, public enterprises and finance, Gigaba wielded enormous executive power and influence.

He is arguably the most consequential member of former president Jacob Zuma's inner Cabinet who unflinchingly enabled state capture.

Gigaba's arrogance, epic misconduct and egregious abuse of power are insufferable. To describe him as a BEE askari of a special kind would be an understatement.

His litany of excesses include improperly ceding control of certain aspects of the home affairs department to Zuma's kitchen cabinet, and helping perpetuate institutional perversion across key state-owned entities for the benefit of the Gupta family.

The Guptas, with the connivance of Gigaba, not only compromised the integrity of our border control and management system, but also damaged the esteem our passports enjoyed prior to his appointment at home affairs.

In 2009 the UK imposed visa requirements on South Africa amid fears that we were, inter alia, a honeypot for illegal immigrants, and the integrity of our national identification system was deteriorating.

The Air Force Base Waterkloof scandal and unrelated reports of the Guptas' illicit currency outflows under diplomatic cover all but confirmed the parlous state of our border management and compromised diplomatic system.

Poor border management not only impedes effective customs excise revenue management, but it is an inherent threat to global security.

It is unsurprising, but no less an indictment on Gigaba's stewardship of the home affairs department, that the latest ratings by global citizenship advisory group Henley & Partners, peg South Africa's passport power ranking at an unflattering 52 in the world, down 17 places since 2008.

Perhaps nothing illustrates our fallen travel document status better than the fact that, despite member countries of the Brics association of emerging economies (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) having committed themselves to dropping travel restrictions between one another, and China and South Africa having signed a memorandum of understanding to achieve just that, South Africans still require visas for travel to China or India.

With his political mentor, Zuma, effectively neutered, and the Guptas fugitives from justice, Gigaba is politically and legally exposed.

His continued arrogance, bare denials and obfuscation amid mounting evidence and findings of wrongdoing beggar belief.

Ironically, it could take an airport terminal for Gigaba to reach his political terminal velocity as his past catches up with him.

A leaked letter on an ANC letterhead, addressed to Fireblade Aviation, inexorably implicates the ANC in scandal.

The letter, ostensibly "granting" permission for Fireblade to operate a private terminal at OR Tambo International Airport, exposes the ANC's inherent disposition to interfere in state affairs.

It appears that the Guptas, who developed a belated interest in Fireblade's commercially strategic concession, may have leaned on Gigaba to reverse his earlier decision.

This could explain his somersaults before court.

Gigaba's denouncements of the concession contradict ANC commitments made to Fireblade and suggest discord within the ANC on the matter.

Nevertheless, statements suggesting that Gigaba is a crusader against "white monopoly capital" and that the hand of said capital is responsible for his woes are misplaced and seem intended to stoke racial animus.

If anything, the colour of the hand that single-handedly stroked Gigaba's member in the leaked X-rated video is as black as they come (no pun intended!).

It is the same exuberant hand that entangled Gigaba in a labyrinth of ethical misconduct and wrongdoing.

This includes signing the infamous letter overriding a home affairs director-general decision to not fast-track the Gupta family's application for naturalisation.

Also, it was Gigaba's hand-written approval of the Fireblade concession that contributed to his committing perjury.

Apropos, the Public Protector found that Gigaba contravened various prescripts governing members of Parliament and Cabinet.

He protests his innocence, but President Cyril Ramaphosa is enjoined by remedial action of the Public Protector to discipline his errant minister.

A narcissistic Gigaba points a finger at everyone but himself for the bed he made – a bed he must now lie on.

Gigaba, who openly espouses presidential ambitions, has made it clear that he will not step aside voluntarily.

If Ramaphosa, who seems to always walk on eggshells when it comes to dealing with Zuma apologists, ever needed political cover to fire Gigaba, the courts and the Public Protector have just handed him some.

It seems that Gigaba, who is without compunction, feels emboldened by the precedents set by other ANC leaders who brushed off calls for their resignation when confronted with similar situations.

Gigaba is profoundly aware that should he vacate office prematurely, his presidential ambitions risk been scuppered.

He must, manifestly, remain intransigent and cast himself as a victim of factional political machinations.

Hopefully he will soon realise the foolishness of embellishing his political power and importance.

Nevertheless, it takes a BEE askari of a special kind to wage an unabashed attack on our distressed body politic.

Shame, that timeless beacon of right and wrong has long parted ways with what is left of Gigaba's terminally captured soul.
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