Information Bulletin of the BRICS Trade Union Forum
Issue 32.2019
2019.08.05 — 2019.08.11
International relations
Foreign policy in the context of BRICS
Brazil Would Welcome BRICS-Like Bloc With Gulf States, Says Eduardo Bolsonaro (Эдуардо Болсонаро: Бразилия приветствовала бы блок, подобный БРИКС, с государствами Персидского залива) / Brazil, August, 2019
Keywords: political_issues, global_governance, jair_bolsonaro

"This is something the Brazilian president can discuss with the UAE leaders during his state visit to the UAE," said Eduardo Bolsonaro, revealing that President Jair Bolsonaro had accepted an invitation from the UAE leadership to visit the Emirates in October.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Emirates News Agency reports that Brazil would welcome a BRICS-like bloc with the Gulf states to work towards achieving common goals, according to Eduardo Bolsonaro.

Brazil is the current chair of the BRICS, an informal association of five major emerging economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

President Jair Bolsonaro will travel to the UAE in October to discuss with UAE leaders among other things, new options of collaboration. (Photo internet reproduction) "We are open to new markets and new opportunities; therefore, we would welcome such an idea," Eduardo Bolsonaro, Chairperson of Foreign Relations and National Defence Committee in the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of the Brazilian Parliament, told the Emirates News Agency, WAM, in an exclusive interview during his visit to the United Arab Emirates.

"This is something the Brazilian president can discuss with the UAE leaders during his state visit to the UAE," said Bolsonaro, revealing that President Jair Bolsonaro had accepted an invitation from the UAE leadership to visit the Emirates in October.

H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, was the first foreign minister from the Arab World to visit [in March] the Brazilian president after he came into power in January 2019, he said.

As Brazil's reciprocal gesture to the UAE leadership, the president's state visit to the UAE will be his first state visit to a country in this region, said the Congressman who is the son of the Brazilian president.

There are many factors that cut short the long distance between both nations, he added.
Both countries stand together against terrorism in all forms. A bilateral visa exemption agreement that allows citizens of both countries visa-free travel since June 2018 has been encouraging tourism and people-to-people relations, the congressman pointed out.

Two daily flights operated by Emirates from Dubai to Brazil [Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo] are the only direct flights from the UAE to Latin America. "That's why Brazil acts as a gateway to Latin America for the UAE," said Eduardo Bolsonaro.

On Saturday, Sheikh Abdullah and Bolsonaro met in Abu Dhabi to discuss the bilateral cooperation in the economic, investment, commercial, parliamentary, tourism, military and defense fields. They also emphasized the need to step up joint cooperation in combating terrorism and extremism of all forms.

"The UAE is looking forward to boosting cooperation with Brazil in all domains for the benefit of the two friendly peoples," Sheikh Abdullah said in the meeting.

Bolsonaro said about 10,000 Brazilians were living in the UAE and sports such as Jiu-Jitsu and football brought Brazil and the UAE even closer.

There are about 1,600 Brazilian jiu-jitsu instructors and many Brazilian footballers with local clubs in the UAE, the MP said. Talking about the "12-million strong Arab community in Brazil," the congressman said around seven or eight million Arab Lebanese among them constituted a larger population than that of [six million] Lebanon.

Arabs started coming to Brazil in the 19th Century and became part of the society. "They preserved their own culture but did not want to change Brazilian culture."

Flavio Bolsonaro during the interview with the Emirates News Agency. (Photo Emirates News Agency) He said a different trend was seen among migrants to Europe today. "Some new migrants in Europe want to change the culture of their host counties. That is something causing conflicts, I don't think it is healthy," Bolsonaro explained.

Brazil continues to welcome migrants from all over the world. "We have [descendants from] China, Japan, Iran, India, Africa, Europe, and Jews. That's why Brazil with its more than 200 million population is a big country with many small countries inside," he said.

About the US-Iran tensions in the Gulf region, he said, "We don't see [the possibility] of a war. But we think it could be very dangerous if Iran develops nuclear weapons."

Asked about the potential diplomatic solution to the issue, he said, "It depends on Iran's action. Otherwise, Iran may attract more economic sanctions from the US. Iran's economy is not doing well and it is a good time for them to reflect on what they are doing," the Congressman concluded.
Brazil and BRICS: Changing Priorities (Бразилия и БРИКС: изменение приоритетов) / Russia, August, 2019
Keywords: expert_opinion, political_issues

The victory of Jair Bolsonaro, a pro-US right-wing reactionary politician in Brazil's late-2018 presidential elections, caused certain concerns among many experts about the country's future participation in the BRICS and the future of the association in general. However, in making such predictions, it would not be entirely correct to rely on existing stereotypes about the left-right dichotomy or the new Bolsonaro administration in particular when considering the role of Brazil in the world and in BRICS. Certainly, the Brazilian elites have opportunistic interests, but there are also constants in its foreign policy priorities - the transformation of the country into an independent world power. In the implementation of these ambitions, one can hardly expect that Brazilians to give up such a trump card as membership in the BRICS.

Brazil needs to score points to become not just a regional, but a world power. Undoubtedly, Bolsonaro's ambitions are more limited than those of Lula da Silva or Dilma Rousseff, who sought to make Brazil the leader of the Global South, indeed, of all developing countries. At the Osaka G-20 summit, Bolsonaro made a number of statements. Commenting on possible ways to resolve the political crisis in Venezuela, the Brazilian leader admitted that the nuclear powers make decisions regarding its future and the world's fate in general. However, these were the diplomacy-minded words of a politician; most of the elites in Brazil retain global ambitions, and BRICS offers them one of the most important venues for support. With the help of BRICS, the tropical giant can achieve one of its most important ambitions - joining the UN Security Council as a permanent member. It cannot do this without the support of China and Russia. The main thing for the new Brazilian leader is not to make mistakes and not to quarrel with its four BRICS partners. That is why, within the framework of the same summit, Bolsonaro, at an informal meeting of the BRICS leaders, stressed that the country will fully fulfil its obligations as chair of the group.

At the same time, one should not think that Brazil's priorities in BRICS will remain completely the same. In the past few years, the five nations have often been criticised for including an excessive number of topics in the agenda of their summits; almost all issues related to politics, economics, social development and international cooperation were discussed. The member countries have become excessively carried away with the postulation of global and sometimes abstract goals and objectives. In such a thematic expansion of the BRICS, there may be a pause, which may be filled with an in-depth study of a specific agenda and projects. Indeed, much of what has been adopted in previous years is absolutely pragmatic and beneficial to all countries.

The expectations that the changes touch first on the political agenda are justified. The issues of reforming international organisations, global governance and reducing the dominance of the so-called countries of the centre (primarily the United States) will not be a focus. Bolsonaro does not seek to make any moves that would annoy the US administration. Climate change is a point of contention: Bolsonaro is a well-known opponent of the concept of global warming and the Paris Climate Agreement. However, the priorities of innovation, technological, and economic development will remain close to the tropical giant. This is evidenced by the priorities of the Brazilian BRICS chairmanship: innovation, the digital economy, financial development institutions, and the fight against organized crime. Brazilians continue to be traditionally active in the work of the BRICS STI Framework Programme - the mechanism for launching joint projects or research programs in various branches of science and technology. Brazil's intensification of scientific and technical cooperation with the United States does not negate the relevance and profitability of the development of such interaction with BRICS partners.

Bolsonaro has demonstrated the ability to move away from the approaches he promoted during his election campaign. A striking example is the country's relationship with China, where the Brazilian leader has shifted from tough pre-election rhetoric to a deeper, more pragmatic understanding of the balance of risks and benefits obtained from interaction with the Asian giant. It is not without reason that the priorities of the Brazilian chairmanship include the expansion of the activities of the BRICS New Development Bank - an important possible source of funding for the economic renewal of the country.

The fact that the role of BRICS will be weakened as a political tool to build more equal relations with the countries of the collective West together with a polycentric world order, is effectively a loss for Russia. For Moscow, the value of BRICS has increased significantly since 2014, but in the coming years it will be difficult to promote resistance against sanctions and the reduction of the role of the US dollar in international payments. It is unlikely that in discussing such problems, Russia will be able to find complete understanding among the new Brazilian authorities.
Investment and Finance
Investment and finance in BRICS
China, the BRICS, and the limitations of reshaping global economic governance (Китай, страны БРИКС и ограничения изменения формы глобального экономического управления) / United Kingdom, August, 2019
Keywords: global_governance, expert_opinion, research, economic_challenges
United Kingdom

Cooperation between Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) has increased since the first BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) meeting in 2006. We have witnessed the establishment of various BRICS institutions, including the New Development Bank and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement. Because of its politico-economic weight, China exerts great weight on the BRICS exceeding that of its partners. Additionally, Beijing has pursued its own initiatives including the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, with for instance the BRI having created frictions with other BRICS members including India. This article examines how and why China and the BRICS are reshaping global economic governance, and to what degree the BRICS and BRICS institutions represent anything new. More importantly, it analyzes China's use of the BRICS to reshape global economic governance, and the potential for its independent initiatives to undermine the BRICS' impact on global economic governance. It shows that the dynamics of the BRICS limit their potential of reshaping global economic governance. What is critical is the domestic political economy and interests of China, India and the other BRICS countries that all hold different positions and preferences in the international system.

Keywords: China, BRICS, New Development Bank, global economic governance, emerging powers
Additional information

Author information

Bas Hooijmaaijers
Bas Hooijmaaijers is Assistant Professor and Chenhui Research Fellow in the School of Advanced International and Area Studies at East China Normal University (Shanghai, China), and an affiliated scholar with the Leuven International and European Studies Institute at KU Leuven (Leuven, Belgium). He obtained his Ph.D. from Shanghai Jiao Tong University's School of International and Public Affairs. His research activities include projects on the European Union's China policy, the BRICS, and the global power shift towards the Asia-Pacific Region. He has published in leading journals including the Journal of Common Market Studies, Global Governance, Journal of European Integration, and Journal of Chinese Political Science, and has contributed to ad hoc studies for the European Parliament. Dr. Hooijmaaijers is fluent in multiple languages and has a functional proficiency in Mandarin. Notes

1 As pointed out by Stuenkel, an overarching trend of the 2011 BRICS Sanya Summit was China's definitive rise as each BRICS members' main bilateral economic partner, which cemented China's special role in the BRICS grouping, arguably allowing it to exert considerable influence during intra-BRICS debates prior to and during the BRICS Sanya Summit, and it was in this context that the inclusion of South Africa has been 'continuously described' as a Chinese initiative, even though negotiators from Brazil, India and Russia have always been supportive of the move (Stuenkel, 2013Stuenkel, O. (2013). South Africa's BRICS membership: A win-win situation? African Journal of Political Science and International Relations, 7, 310–319.[Crossref], , [Google Scholar], p. 315).

2 In June 2019, the AIIB also announced that from the second half of 2019 the Bank was going to start piloting local currency financing (South China Morning Post, 2019South China Morning Post. (2019, June 11). China-backed infrastructure bank AIIB to start local currency financing amid trade war, forex concerns. Retrieved from [Google Scholar]).

3 Still, civil society organizations have expressed their concerns over what they perceive as a lack of transparency in the NDB's social and environmental safeguards (Devex, 2016Devex. (2016, April 18). Civil society calls for safeguards as BRICS bank approves first loans. Retrieved from [Google Scholar]).

4 As an illustration: In July 2016, the NDB issued a 3 billion yuan (USD $448.37 million) bond denominated in RMB to fund green investment projects (Wang, 2017Wang, H. (2017). New multilateral development banks: Opportunities and challenges for global governance. Global Policy, 8, 113–118. doi:10.1111/1758-5899.12396[Crossref], [Web of Science ®], , [Google Scholar]).

5 China has medium to high investment grades in its sovereign rating, while the other four NDB countries have ratings below or bordering investment grade, and thus it is not surprising that so far the NDB has relied heavily on the Chinese capital market, as for instance in 2016 and 2017 the NDB obtained a AAA credit rating with stable outlook from two leading Chinese rating agencies (Wang, 2019Wang, H. (2019). The NDB and the AIIB: China's ambiguous approach to global financial governance. Development and Change, 50, 221–244. doi:10.1111/dech.12473[Crossref], [Web of Science ®], , [Google Scholar]). For instance the AIIB differs in this respect due to the membership of this multilateral development bank including a substantial number of developed countries, contributing to obtaining a good credit rating (see Wang, 2019Wang, H. (2019). The NDB and the AIIB: China's ambiguous approach to global financial governance. Development and Change, 50, 221–244. doi:10.1111/dech.12473[Crossref], [Web of Science ®], , [Google Scholar]).

6 Russian President Vladimir Putin supported the complementarity between the Eurasian Economic Union and the BRI; Then South African President Jacob Zuma hoped the BRI can accelerate his country's industrialization, and then Brazilian President Michel Temer said the BRI was in line with the country's current development needs, particularly in regard to infrastructure construction (Belt and Road Portal, 2017Belt and Road Portal. (2017, September 7). BRICS' synergy with belt and road initiative. Retrieved from [Google Scholar]).

7 This is in line with the practice of inviting befriended nations of the host country to the annual BRICS Summit, as since 2013 the chairing country has invited states that are geographically and geopolitically close to it. For instance in 2015 Russia invited the SCO and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) countries to the Ufa Summit, India invited the BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) countries to the 2016 BRICS Goa Summit, the PRC invited Egypt, Guinea, Tajikistan, Mexico and Thailand to the 2017 Xiamen Summit, and South Africa hosted the BRICS-Africa Outreach during the 2018 BRICS Johannesburg Summit (Purushothaman, 2019Purushothaman, C. (2019, March 7). Dinesh asked: What is 'BRICS Plus' and its impact on India? Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA).Retrieved from [Google Scholar]; see also Zhao, 2019Zhao, H. (2019). China and global economic governance: Does BRICS matter? In H. Wang & L. Miao (Eds.), Handbook on China and globalization (pp. 322–341). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.[Crossref], , [Google Scholar]).

8 The AIIB's regional members are the majority shareholders with non-regional members holding smaller equity shares, reflecting the ownership of regional members while providing non-regional members the opportunity to participate actively. China is the AIIB's largest shareholder and holds the highest percentage of its voting rights, followed by India, Russia, Germany and South Korea. On this issue it differs from the NDB that has equal voting shares. In total 18 EU Member States have joined, including the Big Three, and apart from Japan virtually every American ally in Asia. It illustrated the struggle, with the USA demanding its allies not to join as it regarded the AIIB as an unnecessary rival to the World Bank and its regional affiliate the ADB, while on the other hand China attempted to get them on board. China's BRICS partners all joined.

9 For a graphic overview of emerging power alliances and other multilateral frameworks see also Keukeleire and De Bruyn, 2017Keukeleire, S., & De Bruyn, T.(2017). The European Union, the BRICS, and other emerging powers: A new world order? In C. Hill, M.Smith & S. Vanhoonacker (Eds.), International relations and the European Union (3rd ed., pp. 418–440). Oxford: Oxford University Press. [Google Scholar], p. 437.

10 In December 2018, Russian Ambassador in Beijing Andrey Denisov said that "Russia is willing to work with China on long-term and stable supply cooperation in the energy industry," adding that "If China partners with Russia, [both sides will] benefit from healthy development in bilateral ties and establish a security network [on energy]" (South China Morning Post, 2018aSouth China Morning Post. (2018a, December 12). China and Russia may set up energy alliance, Moscow's top envoy says. Retrieved from [Google Scholar]).


The author would like to thank the two anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments and suggestions. The author is also grateful to Shaun Breslin, Jean-Marc F. Blanchard, and the participants in the International Studies Association 2019 Annual Convention in Toronto for their comments. Lastly, the author would like to thank Zhu Jiejin for discussing BRICS matters.

Jim Cramer: China, BRIC's Last Solid Brick, Erodes, and So Do Many Multiples (Джим Крамер: Китай, последний твердый кирпич БРИКC, разрушения и многие другие) / USA, August, 2019
Keywords: expert_opinion, economic_challenges

Steadily, the once-revered markets of Brazil, Russia, India and China have become hazardous places to do business.

Stocks quotes in this article: FB, AMZN, AAPL, NFLX, GOOGL, WMT, TGT, COST, HD, IFF, SBUX, FDX, MMM,EMR, BA

Remember BRIC?

I'm an acronym guy. Love them. Think FANG or FAANG -- Facebook (FB) , Amazon (AMZN) , Apple (AAPL) , Netflix (NFLX) and Google, now Alphabet (GOOGL) -- and now WATCH, which is Walmart (WMT) , Amazon (AMZN) , Target (TGT) , Costco (COST) and Home Depot (HD) .

I wish I had had the perspicacity to have come up with BRIC -- Brazil, Russia, India and China, the acronym coined by Jim O'Neil, a former economist and delightful visionary from Goldman Sachs. O'Neil coined it 18 years ago, but it didn't come into general parlance until the beginning of this decade.

That was when, if you were an industrial, you either dove into BRIC or you were left behind, struggling with the slow growth and dwindling manufacturing base of the United States.

One by one, though, these BRIC countries have become as hazardous to a company's financial health as you can get.

Having exposure to Brazil means having exposure to an economy in perpetual recession with a currency that can go kerflooey in any second, not unlike the government itself.

Russia? It's now run by a confiscating dictator, some say the richest man in the world, who has fashioned a kleptocracy that is a nightmare for any business. Don't believe me? Go read the release of the last quarter from a squeaky-clean International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF) . The company recently paid $7.1 billion for Frutarom, an Israeli-based flavors company, only to find out that its management apparently knew about payoffs to do business in Russia.

Everyone has been trying to crack into India forever. Apple needs India because it has the fastest-growing youth cohort in the world. It has been a big disappointment and I think they've had a better experience than most. Walmart paid $16 billion for Indian e-commerce company Flipkart and all I can say is I wish them well. Nobody has been able to come up with a way, at scale, to make money in that country.

Ah, but there's always China. That's the market. The one that worked. The one that has the most mouths to feed, buildings to build, roads to pave and air miles to travel, stores to shop, coffee to drink, sneakers to wear, diapers to change, credit to extend and calls to make. That became the saving grace of BRIC, the one that provided the most upside, the one that companies salivated over, the one that gave your stock a much higher price-to-earnings multiple.

One by one, though, as China grew, the options to make as much money shrunk as China demanded more than its fair share of the upside while stealing their intellectual property. Companies came to see China as a double-edged sword -- a huge market to sell into, but at the same time a market with terminal implications as pernicious, bogus joint ventures allowed Chinese counterparts to learn the business, share the secrets and ultimately exploit and appropriate the technology for their own.

Until now.

President Trump, who always had seething contempt for the way China did business long before he became president, is no longer accepting of the bargain. It's too one-sided and it's fueling military, not just economic, development and powering a challenge to U.S hegemony, not just earnings per share. He has reduced your earnings in every way possible if you do business in China. And so many companies do business in some form or another that it's enough to inflict unfathomable pain on a company's earnings per share.

So, the C of BRIC has now become the last straw toward a shrinking, not expanding, multiple.

What's happening now, with this earnings season, is we are putting a pencil to unfathomable. In some cases the pain is deep; in other cases the pain is manageable.

The best examples? Companies that are deeply intertwined with China are getting hurt from all sides. Semi multiples are shrinking. Consumer product companies are wary. Cellphone-related businesses are being scrutinized in a way that says whatever upside China once offered is now downside.

Only one company, Starbucks (SBUX) , has bucked the trend in large part because of decisions made by founder Howard Schultz to embrace Chinese culture wholeheartedly.

On the other hand, pure manufacturers who relied on China for their growth, once-lauded companies such as FedEx (FDX) , 3M (MMM) and Emerson (EMR) are now despised. No one knows what to do with Boeing (BA) -- anyone who tells you otherwise is faking.

I think things get worse before they get much worse with China. There's no reason to make a deal yet. The numbers are too good for Trump, both economically and politically. But one thing is for certain: BRIC exposure means your earnings are suspect, you are guilty until proven innocent and we will now pay up for purely domestic companies with no apparent ties to China.

Everyone else? They've become a source of funds to buy the non-China portion of the S&P.
'Brics bank' seeks move away from dollar funding («Банк Брикс» стремится отойти от долларового финансирования) / China, August, 2019
Keywords: ndb, trade_relations, economic_challenges

The New Development Bank, a multilateral lender owned by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, is aiming to almost double its lending this year and shift its loan book away from the dollar to emphasize lending in local currencies, reported the Financial Times.

The Shanghai-headquartered NDB, or Brics bank as it is often known, has approved more than $9 billion in loans in its member countries after being founded four years ago. It is seen as a challenger to established lenders such as the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and IMF.

The bank plans to increase its loan book to $16 billion this year. So far it has mainly relied on its dollar paid-in capital for funding, but in the future "50% (of projects) should be local currency financed," said the bank's president K.V. Kamath in an interview.

Loans approved so far mainly cover transport, energy and water management projects, such as $620 million for the construction of an airport in northern China, $350 million for rural roads in India's Bihar and $320 million for water sanitation projects on Russia's Volga river.

Russia reduces dollar settlements share on exports to EU and BRICS (Россия сокращает долю долларовых расчетов по экспорту в ЕС и БРИКС) / Russia, August, 2019
Keywords: economic_challenges

Moscow reduced the share of settlements in US national currency for exports to the EU, BRICS and China in the first quarter of 2019.

This was reported by the Central Bank of Russia. The regulator notes that the share of exports in Euro has increased.

The share of payment for exports in dollars fell below 50%. Only 46.6% of settlements were made in American currency with the EU countries in the first quarter of 2019. At the end of 2018, a similar indicator amounted in 54.4%. The most significant decrease is observed with China where the dollar-based purchases went down to 45.7% (75.1% before). With BRICS countries this number is 40.6% (73.1% before).

At the same time, the Euro-based payment share has significantly increased for the goods and services supply from the EU — from 34.3% to 42.3%, from BRICS — from 11.1% to 30.7%, from China — from 12% to 37.6%.

The trend to avoid dollar in the calculations is also observed at the domestic market, notes the Russian Central Bank's representatives. At the same time, the dollar is still the most used foreign currency.

Political Events
Political events in the public life of BRICS
EAM S Jaishankar to leave for Beijing on 3-day visit to China (Министр иностранных дел С Джайшанкар отправится в Пекин, где начнет свой трехдневный визит в Китай) / India, August, 2019
Keywords: mofa

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will leave for Beijing today on a three-day visit to China. During his visit, he will hold bilateral meeting with Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.

Dr Jaishankar will co-chair the second meeting of the India-China High Level Mechanism on Cultural and People-to-People Exchanges.

In a statement, External Affairs Ministry said in New Delhi that during his stay in China, Dr Jaishankar will exchange views with his Chinese counterpart on the entire gamut of bilateral relations as well as regional and global issues of mutual interest.
World of work
Social policy, trade unions, actions
Meet the first Indian to write for UNESCO's cyber security magazine (Познакомьтесь с первым индийцем, написавшим для журнала ЮНЕСКО о кибербезопасности) / India, August, 2019
Keywords: digital

Cybersecurity has become a concern in the digital world. The Digital India campaign and youth of the country require connectivity and mobility round the clock. In this scenario, data privacy and cybersecurity measures become extremely critical.

Though not many are aware of the implications of low cybersecurity, some Indians are creating headwinds in the field of cybersecurity through their expertise and knowledge. One such Indian is Khushhal Kaushik, Founder & CEO of Lisianthus Tech Pvt. Ltd. who is considered an authority in global cybersecurity domain.

Khushhal Kaushik is the first Indian cyber security expert to be featured by UNESCO's Annual Magazine. The magazine accepted articles from authors and industry experts from many countries around the globe and selected his to be featured in UNESCO's annual magazine. His article onCybersecurity was selected after a rigorous evaluation process spanning over seven months.

A a global pioneer in the cybersecurity domain, he has also been invited by Northwestern University, Chicago to share insights on cybersecurity and add value to a Course on Ethical Hacking & Cyberspace Security. Receiving a formal invite to improve its course on cybersecurity from a foreign university is a matter of pride for India as we were considered backward in this field in the past. Khushhal's expertise has cemented India's position in the global cybersecurity domain.

Khushhal's organization, Lisianthus Tech Pvt. Ltd. is a dynamic cybersecurity company that has helped several businesses and governments in improving their cybersecurity endeavors. Recently, the company signed up a global MOU with BRICS Chamber of Commerce to increase awareness about cybersecurity in BRICS nations and globally. This made Khushhal the Global cybersecurity advisor of BRICS CCI.

As a global advisor, Khushhal is responsible for conducting awareness programs, training workshops and take up cybersecurity consulting assignments on the behalf of BRICS CCI. Also, he is responsible for guiding companies, professionals and tech enthusiasts to build a digitally secure IT infrastructure and adopting best cybersecurity practices.

For his achievements and contribution in the field of cybersecurity, Khushhal was lauded and acknowledged by several governments including the Govt. of Andhra Pradesh in India. He was recently invited by the government to take part in discussions pertaining to cybersecurity program planning and strategy. He was also awarded by the Govt. for his achievements in the field of cybersecurity.

His global stature as a cybersecurity expert can be gauged by the fact that he has interacted with several ambassadors, ministers of foreign governments and eminent personalities on matters related to cybersecurity. Recently, he interacted with Zori Kor, Former NSA, Israel & Head of Cybersecurity at PMO, Israel. Khushhal's deep knowledge and expertise impressed Zori who invited him to set up an R&D Lab in Israel.

As a global cybersecurity expert, he is quite optimistic about India's future as a cybersecurity superpower though he believes that there is a lot to do, presently. He believes the biggest barrier to the growth of the cybersecurity industry is lack of awareness about the importance of cybersecurity measures.

On being asked by Team Digpu, Khushhal said, "Despite several instances of cybercrimes, the general public and even the corporates are not investing what's needed to improve their cybersecurity measures. According to me, a large-scale awareness drive should be launched on a national scale to expand the scope of the cybersecurity industry and make it more inclusive and approachable to the common masses, SMEs and budding startups. The government must formulate a national regulatory policy and facilitate promotion of cybersecurity research and development."

He also recommends introducing cybersecurity as a subject in schools. Introducing cybersecurity curriculum at the primary, secondary and senior-secondary levels will help in building a strong foundation, right from the beginning. If we introduce cybersecurity curriculum and make it a compulsory part of the course right from school level, there will be greater awareness about cybersecurity issues and safety measures which will empower everyone to deal with such cases.

By building an ecosystem of continuous learning evolution and innovation, he believes, India would rise to become a valuable contributor in the global cybersecurity domain which will give rise to our authority in the domain, as a country.
The Global Energy Association and BRICS YEA Implement Joint Initiatives in South Africa (Глобальная энергетическая ассоциация и Молодежная Энергетическая Ассоциация БРИКС реализуют совместные инициативы в Южной Африке) / Russia, August, 2019
Keywords: cooperation, energy

The Global Energy Association, together with its partner, the BRICS Youth Energy Agency, will hold an official meeting with the South African National Youth Development Agency NYDA in Johannesburg (South Africa) from August 13 to 16.

The parties will discuss the possibilities of joint work in the field of youth policy, the organization of common initiatives to stimulate the scientific activities of young scientists in the field of energy, the possibilities of expanding the common expert base and information partnership. The Global Energy Association will share its experience in conducting competitions for young scientists, which the association has been implementing since 2004. In particular, it will present the Global Energy Youth Program, which has reached the international level since the current year.

The participants will also discuss the issue of expanding the Global Energy Association's expert pool, introducing mentoring and additional training programs for participants in the International Youth Program.
The feasibility of a tripartite meeting between the Global Energy Association, the BRICS YEA and the NYDA is due to the common goals and aspirations of organizations in the field of youth policy. The Association and the BRICS YEA confirmed their intentions and plans for joint activities by signing a cooperation agreement in the framework of the Global Energy Prize Laureate Week in 2018.

The South African National Youth Development Agency NYDA was created by the Government of South Africa as a single unitary structure to address youth issues at the national, provincial and local government levels. To date, in South Africa, 42% of the total population is between 14 and 35 years old.
How many countries can you land in without a visa? (В скольких странах вы можете приземлиться без визы?) / India, August, 2019
Keywords: political_issues, research

The "strength" of the Indian passport — countries it has visa-free access to — has weakened in the last decade, according to the annual Henley Passport Index.

"Visa-free access" in this case means passport holders can also obtain a visa on arrival, a visitor's permit, or an electronic travel authority when entering the destination.

India ranked 86 of 187 countries in 2019, while in 2010 it was ranked 77. Just eight nations were added to its visa-free access list from 2010 to 2019 — lowest among BRICS nations.

China was ranked 74th in 2019, advancing 14 places between 2010 and 2019. Brazil was ranked 18th in 2019, advancing 10 places in this period.

Among the BRICS countries which deteriorated were Russia, which was ranked 51st in 2019 (slipping two places), South Africa (seven places) and as mentioned before, India.

The below visualisation plots the change in ranking of the country between 2010 and 2019 against the country's rank in 2019.

Globally, United Arab Emirates bettered its rank by 45 places, the highest. Nigeria and Syria were at the bottom of the table, dropping 20 or more ranks.

Another measure in the Passport Index is the number of visa-free destinations. Here, Singapore and Japan outperform other countries — these two nations have visa-free access to 189 destinations.

Indian passport holders have visa-free access to 58 destinations.

Iraq and Afghanistan passports were at the bottom of the table (but they still have access to over a 100 countries).

Giving possible reasons for the declines, the 2019 Henley Passport Index says, "Countries moving towards nationalist isolationism and away from policies that encourage visa openness are likely to drop in the rankings and incur geopolitical consequences for themselves and their neighbours".

The below visualisation plots the change in the number of visa-free destinations for each country between 2010 and 2019 against the country's total visa-free destinations in 2019.
Role and Responsibility of BRICS Countries in Air Pollution Control: An Evaluation of Scholarly Communication (Роль и ответственность стран БРИКС в борьбе с загрязнением воздуха: оценка научной коммуникации) / India, August, 2019
Keywords: ecology, research
Author: Sadik Batcha Majeed

Sadik Batcha Majeed

University Librarian i/c, Annamalai University, Annamalainagar, Tamil Nadu, INDIA.

Abstract: Scientometrics is a method used to analyze and quantify the bibliographic data, offering a powerful set of methods and measures for studying the structure and process of scholarly communication. Cardiovascular disease amounts to about 24.8% of deaths in the SAARC nations. It is significant that the scholarly communication on Air pollution control published by BRICS Countries may be an important chain of knowledge to the world. Air pollution levels remain at dangerously high levels in many parts of the world. New data reveals that 9 out of 10 people breathe air containing high levels of pollutants. However, the BRICS countries are still challenged by different pollutions among them. Air pollution is reported to be top first. The present study examines the research trend, authorship, collaborative pattern and activity index of five BRICS countries. The results of the study reveal that China is a leading country among BRICS nations with major research output followed by India in Air Pollution research. The international collaboration results that USA, England and France are the top collaboration countries for BRICS nations. China and India support other BRICS countries in the cases of Air Pollution research output and proves collaborative within the BRICS domicile. China and India are competing with other developed countries and show higher activity within the context of their individual productivity.

BRICS-YSF invites applications for the fourth annual conclave in Campinas, Brazil in November 2019 (BRICS-YSF приглашает к участию в четвертом ежегодном конклаве в Кампинасе, Бразилия, в ноябре 2019 года.) / India, August, 2019
Keywords: social_issues, cooperation

The idea of the BRICS Young Scientist Forum was adopted at the 2nd BRICS Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Ministerial Meeting. As part of BRICS YS Forum's activities, the First BRICS Young Scientist Conclave was held in Bangalore (India) in September 2016, the Second Conclave was held in Hangzhou, China during July 2017 and Third in Durban, South Africa in June 2019.

As a follow up of the above and to implement the BRICS Leaders' Declaration on "strengthening cooperation in science, technology and innovation, especially leveraging young scientific talent for addressing societal challenges; creating a networking platform for BRICS young scientists", and to implement the instructions of BRICS ministers, the Fourth edition of the BRICS Young Scientist Conclave is scheduled to take place in Campinas, Brazil in November 2019 (exact dates to be notified later).

The Conclave will provide a high-level platform for academic and policy exchange among talented young scientists as well as scientific personnel from BRICS countries to help them grow their skills, broaden their horizon and improve academic and policy qualifications, stimulate the interest of talented young scientists in the strategic research of future technologies, direct their attention to the most promising and important field of science and technology, promote exchanges and friendship, expand channels of cooperation, strengthen inter-disciplinary integration, encourage new academic inspirations, cultivate new academic disciplines and produce valuable policy advice.
Fifth Small Business Forum of SCO and BRICS Regions will be held in new format (Пятый форум малого бизнеса регионов ШОС и БРИКС пройдет в новом формате) / Russia, August, 2019
Keywords: cooperation

The Small Business Forum of the Regions of the SCO and BRICS Member States will be held this year in Ufa for the fifth, anniversary time and this is a good reason to reformat it and replenish it with new energy. This was announced today at a meeting of the Investment Council of the Republic by the chief of staff of the head of Bashkortostan, Alexander Sidyakin. This autumn, a large number of foreign delegations plans to participate in the event. The interest in the forum is shown by the Government of Russia and federal ministries, and the media. This year participants from 30 countries of the world are expected, and total, more than 6000 people may arrive in Ufa.

"This year the forum's agenda will be larger including the issues of cross-border protection, legal and judicial protection of small and medium-sized businesses and other pressing issues. In addition to the SCO and BRICS countries, delegations from Austria and France, as well as international organizations, can participate in the forum", said Alexander Sidyakin.

The main venue for the forum, scheduled for September 26 and 27, will be the Toratau Congress Hall. The head of the republic, Radiy Khabirov, noted that in addition to delegations, well-known economists, political scientists, experts in other fields should be invited to the Small Business Forum of the SCO and BRICS Regions to share their vision of entrepreneurship development. The signing of a number of investment agreements is also possible on the sidelines of the forum.

Tags: SCO, BRICS, Small Business Forum, Ufa
ICT Minister Delivers Speech at BRICS Future Network Innovation Forum (Министр ИКТ выступил с речью на форуме сетевых технологий БРИКС) / Egypt, August, 2019
Keywords: speech, innovations

The Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat has delivered a speech during BRICS Future Network Innovation Forum, hosted in China on August 5-9, and attended by the Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Houlin Zhao and ICT Ministers in BRICS and a number of emerging market countries.

Talaat said that Egypt is keen to leverage the Fourth Industrial Revolution opportunities to achieve comprehensive development. He underlined the efforts of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) to keep abreast of the global technological developments, carry out an ambitious plan to build a knowledge-based economy, and create a large base of qualified human calibers in future science and technology.

Moreover, the ICT Minister referred to the significance of future networks, a key issue of high priority in Egypt's development plans, and included in the recommendations of the Fourth BRICS Communication Ministers Meeting that called for more investments in future network research, digital transformation and ICT development.

Talaat added that Egypt values the approach adopted by BRICS countries in dealing with this issue, and is eager to contribute effectively to the vision and work of the future networks development group. He looks forward to creating a powerful and effective platform for dialogue between BRICS countries, countries of emerging markets and developing countries, to reach the economic and industrial objectives and achieve development.

Furthermore, the ICT Minister highlighted that MCIT is carrying out a huge digital transformation program in Egypt, in cooperation with the State institutions, with the first digital city in Egypt announced a few days ago.

MCIT is also working on creating an enabling environment for investment and for having a digital society, by developing the ICT infrastructure through deploying fiber optic networks and investing in modern technologies, such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and the Fifth Generation (5G). This is in addition to creating a legislative environment to ensure the protection of citizens in the digital environment, help attract direct foreign investment, and promote emerging technologies.

Talaat, also, highlighted the significance of supporting technological innovation and entrepreneurship as a fundamental pillar of development processes.

The ICT Minister, in addition, stated that the Knowledge City is currently under construction in the New Administrative Capital, to include research and innovation centers specializing in advanced technologies, in addition to an ICT specialized university.

Moreover, Talaat underlined Egypt's keenness to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications in different areas of high importance, including healthcare services, agriculture, industry, and smart cities management. He referred to Egypt's competitive potentials and its eagerness to become a regional hub for big data.

The ICT Minister invited the attendees to participate in the World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 (WRC-19), hosted in Sharm El Sheikh, from October 28 to November 22, due to be attended by over 3500 participants.

BRICS is the association of five countries: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. They are important markets and exporters of ICT products. The decision to hold an ICT forum for BRICS countries aims at sharing ideas, best practices and capacity building in the ICT sector.

PhD candidate attends BRICS Network University meeting in Brazil (Кандидат в д-ра филос. наук посещает встречу сетевого университета БРИКС в Бразилии) / South Africa, August, 2019
Keywords: social_issues
South Africa

Rhodes University PhD candidate in the Department of Economics and Economic History, Nandi Fumbata, is attending the BRICS Network University (BRICS NU) Research Seminar and Winter School, currently underway at the University of Campinas in Brazil. The five-day seminar started on 5 August and will end on 9 August 2019.

In 2015, the Ministries of Education of the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) initiated the BRICS Network University to encourage the development of stronger links and improved collaboration between the universities of BRICS countries. The Network involves some of the top universities in the five association countries.

Its objectives include:

  • the enhancement of academic collaboration between the universities of the five countries through joint research and mobility of students and scholars;
  • in the medium term, creation of joint Graduate programmes issuing diplomas that will be valid for the five countries, and preparing high-qualified staff for the BRICS multilateral institutions;
  • in the longer term, enhancement of scientific development according to the needs of non-central countries.
The BRICS NU is organised in six strategic axes: BRICS studies; computer science and informational security; ecology and climate change; economics; energy; and water resources and pollution treatment.

Fumbata is one of only three PhD candidates country-wide chosen to attend the programme convened under the Economics axis.

Within the VI BRICS Competition Conference, the BRICS Working Groups for the research of competition issues in socially significant markets will hold its traditional meetings (В рамках VI Конференции БРИКС по конкуренции, рабочие группы БРИКС по исследованию вопросов конкуренции на социально значимых рынках проведут свои традиционные встречи) / Russia, August, 2019
Keywords: social_issues

The first day of the VI BRICS Competition Conference will be devoted to the discussion of topical issues of competition in socially significant markets of the BRICS countries.

Thus, on September 17, the meetings of the BRICS Working Groups or the research of competition issues in the food, automobile, digital and pharmaceutical markets will be held throughout the day.

The meeting of the Working Group on food value chains will be devoted to discussing the new challenges faced by the competition authorities while ensuring fair competition in the food market. Participants will share their experience in conducting investigations and reviewing M&As in this market, jointly identify important issues for further discussion and develop a concept for the future activities of the Working Group.

The participants of the meeting of the BRICS Working Group in digital markets will focus on discussing the results of the preparation by the BRICS Competition Centre of a report on the digital economy, the development of which began last year. In addition, the delegates will consider the issues of adapting competition laws to digital changes and present a brief overview of recent antitrust violations related to the development of digital economy.

Within the meeting of the BRICS Working Group in automobile markets, the participants will present the main results of a study conducted by the Competition Commission of India, the main coordinator of the Working Group, together with all BRICS Competition Authorities, aimed at identifying the key competition issues in the automobile markets of the BRICS countries. What is important, the participants will also discuss various methods and ways to solve the identified problems.

A series of sessions on competition in the socially important markets of BRICS will be completed by a meeting of the BRICS Working Group in pharmaceutical markets. Within the meeting of the BRICS Working Group in pharmaceutical markets, the participants will discuss issues of fair pricing in the medicines circulation markets, in particular the relationship between the volume of generic production and the price level. The speakers will pay particular attention to discussing the issue of finding a balance between antitrust regulation and compulsory licensing of intellectual property rights in the BRICS pharmaceutical markets.

*The idea of creating BRICS Working groups t is reflected in Article 4.1. Memorandum of Understanding in the field of cooperation in the field of competition law and policy of the BRICS countries.

The activity of each Working Group is a separate project, within the framework of the implementation of which specific goals are set, the stages of their achievement are determined.

The meetings of the Working Groups attract representatives of the international competition community. Thus, in the meetings not only experts from the BRICS countries, but also representatives of other integration associations, foreign competition authorities and international organizations, eminent scientists, leading lawyers and economists traditionally participate.

BRICS cooperation continues with new institutional branch (Сотрудничество БРИКС продолжается с новым филиалом института) / China, August, 2019
Keywords: innovations

The China branch of the BRICS Institute of Future Networks was established in Shenzhen, Guangdong province on Tuesday, as China steps up its efforts to promote international communication and exchange on information and communication technology.

Chen Zhaoxiong, vice-minister of industry and information technology, said ICT is leading a new round of technological revolutions offering strategic opportunities for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

"The new institute is of great significance to deepen cooperation between BRICS and other developing countries, promote the application and innovation of future network technologies, and buoy the development of digital economy," Chen said.

Liu Duo, president of China's Academy of Information and Communications Technology, a government research institute in charge of building the branch, said the new high-end think tank will focus on research of policies concerning 5G, industrial internet, artificial intelligence, the internet of vehicles, information security and other technologies.

"It is positioned to deepen international exchange and promote technological innovation and application — for instance, building a mechanism to jointly promote technical standards on ICT," Liu said.

More effort will also be made to promote talent communication among the five countries, co-organize more training sessions and exchange platforms, Liu added.

Zhao Houlin, secretary-general of the International Telecommunication Union, said BRICS members are all developing countries and emerging markets, and account for a very important part of the planet's total population. Their achievements will affect the development of the global information and communications sector.

"We also see strong innovation capabilities in these countries, and they have a very good understanding of large populations and how to offer new technologies to both urban and rural residents," Zhao said.

According to him, the five countries all have their unique advantages, which serve as a sound foundation for deep cooperation.

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