Information Bulletin of the BRICS Trade Union Forum
Issue 4.2020
2020.01.20 — 2020.01.26
International relations
Foreign policy in the context of BRICS
How India is looking to revive ties with Brazil (Как Индия стремится восстановить отношения с Бразилией) / India, January, 2020
Keywords: cooperation, expert_opinion

On January 26, 1950, the Constitution of India came into force and we celebrate this day as Republic Day. Our democracy, pluralism, respect for diversity, protection of fundamental rights, judicial independence, press freedom, right to dissent, minority rights, communal harmony and social upliftment, are all rooted in this Constitution. It is an occasion for us to showcase our democracy based on unity in diversity to our own people and the world as well.

Old allies

We may be unique in having started the practice of inviting a foreign dignitary to be the chief guest at our national day celebrations. Some others have begun to emulate us now. It is a way of making a special gesture of friendship to countries that we consider close to us or those with whom we would want to forge deeper ties in mutual interest.

In a sense, this also reflects the openness with which we conduct our foreign policy. This tradition can also be diplomatically exacting. Every year, an exercise has to be done as to which leader could be most appropriately invited, and what external messaging would be the most pertinent in the light of our interests. The choice we make can be determined by the closeness of existing ties with the country in question, or it can be the potential of ties that we see in the future. Covering leaders from different continents is also a consideration.

This year, the President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, is the chief guest. As it happens, five Latin American leaders have been invited to the R-Day celebrations in the past — one each from Argentina, Peru and Mexico, and two from Brazil, namely, President Fernando Henrique Cardoso in 1996 and President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in 2004. President Bolsonaro is the third Brazilian President to be invited, which shows that Brazil has been given privileged attention by us all these years as Latin America's biggest (and the world's fifth largest) and most populous country. Brazil is multi-cultural and ethnically diverse, with a unique environmental heritage, great agricultural riches, natural resources and considerable industrial strength.

Bolsonaro may have seemed an unlikely choice as chief guest for R-Day 2020 given his reputation of being an advocate of far-Right policies, of having contempt for multilateralism and being an open admirer of US President Donald Trump. (Photo: Reuters)

Bolsonaro's visit marks both a re-affirmation and a consolidation of India-Brazil ties after the high point reached in the relationship under President Lula and the slowdown in momentum under his successor Dilma Roussef. Under Lula, Brazil expanded the scope of its foreign policy by paying much more attention to the developing world in Asia and Africa, and generally raising its diplomatic profile on the international stage.

Focus on BRICS

A commitment to South-South cooperation was reflected in the launch of the India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) forum that had the aim of developing deeper political, economic and defence ties between the three countries, and building direct connectivity between them to facilitate this.

IBSA, however, did not deliver on its promise. As it transpired, IBSA was eclipsed by the Brazil-Russia-India-China (BRIC) forum and, subsequently, by Brazil-Russia- India-China-South Africa (BRICS). At the Russian initiative, the BRIC forum emerged as a dialogue platform for non-Western countries to express their views on global governance, respect for sovereignty and non-interference in the internal affairs of countries, eschewing double standards on human rights issues and terrorism, reform of international political and financial institutions such as the UN and IMF to give more representation to developing countries, multi-polarity, and so on.

With the inclusion of South Africa, the geographic scope of BRICS widened to include virtually all the continents. India and Brazil have had the additional shared agenda of seeking permanent membership of the UN Security Council. Since 2006, India and Brazil are strategic partners.

Advantage Bolsonaro

Bolsonaro may have seemed an unlikely choice as chief guest for R-Day 2020 given his reputation of being an advocate of far-Right policies, of being homophobic and misogynistic, an opponent of environmental regulations, affirmative action and secularism, of having contempt for multilateralism and being an open admirer of US President Donald Trump.

During his election campaign, he accused China of "buying Brazil". His ascendancy to power raised the question of his commitment to BRICS. Yet, in November 2019, he hosted a successful BRICS summit. Pressed by Brazil's mining, beef and agricultural lobbies he has sought to mend fences with China. He agreed with PM Narendra Modi during their meeting to comprehensively boost the strategic partnership between the two countries, with a focus on trade (currently at $8 billion), investment from Brazil in India in the areas of agricultural equipment, animal husbandry, post-harvest technologies and biofuels in the context of climate change, as well as space and defence sectors. It is during the BRICS Summit that Modi invited Bolsonaro to the 2020 Republic Day.

Bolsonaro's visit, apart from pragmatically seeking to move the relationship forward, also signifies a decision to give more attention to our relations with Latin America as a whole, a region with much untapped potential for two-way trade and investment.

Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova, Moscow, January 23, 2020 (Брифинг официального представителя МИД России М.В.Захаровой, Москва, 23 января 2020 года) / Russia, January, 2020
Keywords: mofa, quotation, chairmanship

I would like to take advantage of the first briefing this year to remind you that beginning January 1, 2020, the Russian Federation officially holds the presidency of important international organisations and interstate associations like BRICS, the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

Russian President Vladimir Putin has identified the priority objectives of Russia's presidency of each of the above institutions. You can learn more about them and get the latest updates regularly as the relevant sections will be updated on the following official websites covering Russia's presidency of BRICS, the CSTO and the SCO:,, You will also find there up-to-date information on the various events, on the documents that are approved at the meetings and on the achievements.

Prospects of BRICS expansion

We appreciate the continued interest in cooperation with BRICS from other emerging markets and developing economies. There were questions regarding its possible expansion as well. Overall, we welcome this interest in the association's work. At the same time, it is understood that an expansion requires a carefully weighted and delicate approach. At this point, this is not an issue on the BRICS agenda. It seems it is not the right time at the moment to accept new members.

The BRICS five is still a young multinational association. Right now, it focuses mainly on increasing the efficiency and strengthening the five-side mechanisms of strategic partnership. Another important field of work is establishing solid international links with external partners and like-minded associates from different continents who share our ambition to reinforce multi-lateral approaches to global issues. For this purpose, we have launched such formats as BRICS Outreach and BRICS Plus. This said, the BRICS five is building a consistent dialogue not only with certain developing countries and states with dynamic emerging economies but also with their integration unions. The main goal of this cooperation is to produce collective responses to the widest range of current international challenges for sustainable development and long-term economic growth. This serves as a foundation for BRICS to become one of the pillars of the renewed global architecture of multilateral cooperation.

During Russia's BRICS presidency this year, we intend to continue the consistent course for strengthening the existing BRICS institutions, further building of an external circle of the five's friends and allies, including through active promotion of the dialogue with the states that have dynamically developing economies and their associations in the Outreach and BRICS Plus format, a dialogue that has proven itself rather effective.
BRICS may be expanded in future, says senior Russian diplomat (БРИКС может быть расширен в будущем, считает старший российский дипломат) / Russia, January, 2020
Keywords: expert_opinion, quotation, brics+

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov sais that Russia is currently focused on activities on the BRICS+ platform, which "makes it possible for interested countries to find ways to cooperate with the group's members"

MOSCOW, January 20. /TASS/. BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) need to boost cooperation, while the group's expansion is a matter for the future, said Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, who serves and the country's BRICS Sherpa.

"As for expansion plans, I think that we need to continue pursuing the current path, first and foremost, seeking to boost practical cooperation, increase gains from it and specifying activities in many areas, so that our countries and our people can feel… that BRICS' existence is important in terms of creating new positive elements in the economic, social and scientific development of our countries, as well as for other areas of development," he pointed out.

"This is why it is possible to talk about the expansion of BRICS as a goal for the future," the senior Russian diplomat emphasized.

According to Ryabkov, Russia is currently focused on activities on the BRICS+ platform, which "makes it possible for interested countries to find ways to cooperate with the group's members.".

Investment and Finance
Investment and finance in BRICS
On Day 2 of India visit, Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro inks 15 agreements (Во второй день визита в Индию президент Бразилии Джейр Болсонаро подписывает 15 соглашений) / India, January, 2020
Keywords: concluded_agreements, cooperation

India and Brazil on Saturday signed 15 agreements and unveiled an action plan to boost cooperation in areas ranging from biofuels to cybersecurity and defence as President Jair Bolsonaro kicked off a visit during which he will be chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations.

The two Brics economies, which are currently grappling with problems, set a target of boosting trade to $15 billion by 2022 and decided to focus on agriculture as a key area for cooperation. They also agreed to bilaterally address the issue of India's support to sugarcane growers, over which Brazil has filed a WTO dispute.

The choice of Bolsonaro as chief guest for the Republic Day parade – an honour accorded in the past to leaders such as former US president Barack Obama and late South African president Nelson Mandela – has been questioned because of his controversial views. The external affairs ministry has defended the choice by saying India shares a strategic relationship with Brazil and Bolsonaro is the "elected leader in a democratic country".

Bolsonaro was accorded a ceremonial welcome at Rashtrapati Bhavan before his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who tweeted their discussions covered energy, technology, healthcare and defence. Modi added the two sides are also working together at multilateral forums and "see immense synergies on various issues including the need to uproot…terrorism".

In a statement after his talks with Bolsonaro, Modi noted that they were meeting for the third time in eight months and said it was a "matter of great pride" that the Brazilian president was the chief guest for the Republic Day. "Strategic partnership between India and Brazil is based on our common ideology and values," he said, adding the action will deepen people-to-people and business ties.

Of the 15 agreements signed by the two sides, the key ones focus on cooperation in bio-energy, oil and natural gas, investment facilitation, mutual legal assistance in criminal matters, and cooperation in health, cyber-security and social security to facilitate the movement of professionals.

The action plan adopted by the two sides will cover six major areas – political and strategic coordination; trade, investments, agriculture, civil aviation and energy; science, technology, space, environment, technical cooperation and health; defence and security; culture and education; and consular issues, social security and legal cooperation.

The action plan will bring together existing mechanisms, such as the joint working groups on bio-energy and oil and gas and the joint defence committee, and its implementation will be overseen by the joint commission for political, economic, scientific, technological and cultural cooperation.

A person familiar with developments, who declined to be identified, said Modi raised the WTO dispute filed by Brazil over India's support to sugarcane growers during the talks with Bolsonaro and both sides agreed to address the issue through bilateral consultations as "a gesture of our close friendship and given the importance India attaches to the matter".

The leaders agreed on the "great synergies" between India and Brazil and the need to cooperate in areas that are mutually beneficial, such as agriculture, bio-fuels, animal husbandry, health and science and technology, the external affairs ministry spokesperson said. They also set a target of $15 billion for bilateral trade by 2022, up from the current level of about $8 billion.

In the field of bio-fuels, both leaders agreed the two sides could collaborate in ethanol production. Brazil is a leader in this field and will share advanced technology with India. Modi said this will serve India's developmental goals and Bolsonaro indicated Brazil's willingness to work in research on bio-energy.

Ethanol was one of the main items on Brazil's agenda for discussions. The Brazilian side is keen on assisting India to boost its ethanol programme, including increased production and blending of ethanol with petrol, which can help reduce India's sugar stocks and boost global prices for the commodity.

The two sides agreed to work on market access for avocado, citrus fruits and wood from Brazil and pearl millet, sorghum and cotton from India.

Both sides agreed to collaborate in assisted reproductive technology for cattle to increase India's dairy production. They welcomed the decision to set up a Centre of Excellence in Cattle Genomics in India with Brazil's help.

Modi identified biotechnology, health, low carbon technology and earth sciences as specific areas of cooperation under science and technology. He said the two sides will focus on new ways to boost defence industrial cooperation and a large Brazilian delegation will participate in DefExpo 2020 in Lucknow.

"Our perspective on the current difficult challenges facing the world is very similar…Our partnership, particularly in Brics and IBSA, is an important aspect of India's foreign policy," he said, adding the two countries will also work reforming the UN Security Council.

A joint statement said the two countries had reiterated their mutual support for permanent membership of the UN Security Council, and would closely together within G-4 to realise their aspirations. The two leaders described international terrorism as one of the most serious threats to peace and called for concerted action against the menace by the world community.

The two leaders also agreed to work closely at the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on terror financing and money laundering. They also underlined the need for all countries to ensure their territory isn't used to launch terror attacks on other nations, the joint statement said.

NDB Obtains AAA Rating from Analytical Credit Rating Agency (НБР получил рейтинг ААА от Аналитического кредитно-рейтингового агентства) / China, January, 2020
Keywords: ndb, rating

On January 23, 2020, the New Development Bank (NDB) was assigned 'AAA' rating, outlook Stable, under the international scale and 'AAA(RU)', outlook Stable, under the national scale for Russia by Analytical Credit Rating Agency (ACRA).

In its press release, ACRA stated that the credit rating assigned to the NDB is primarily based on its very strong intrinsic financial strengths that stem from strong capital adequacy, a strong risk profile, strong liquidity and funding, as well as its systemic importance to the shareholder founding members that enhances the quality of commitments.

"The Bank's management quality, strategy, and operational transparency are strong," stated the rating agency. "ACRA believes that the management team and operational effectiveness of NDB are suitable to meet the needs required to run the institution successfully in terms of risk mitigation and capital generation."
ACRA assessed the NDB's risk profile as strong. "The Bank's risk governance and management systems are in line with best practices of leading financial institutions," noted the rating agency.

"The AAA international and local credit rating from ACRA is yet another significant milestone for the New Development Bank. The rating increases our ability to deliver on the NDB's strong strategic focus on local currency financing in its member countries," said Mr. Leslie Maasdorp, NDB Vice President and CFO. "Fundraising in rubles would be an essential part of our operations in Russia and a core element of our funding portfolio for financing ruble-denominated loans in Russia," he added.

The full press release announcing ACRA decision is available here.

The document entitled "ACRA assigns AAA to New Development Bank, outlook Stable, under the international scale and AAA(RU), outlook Stable, under the national scale for the Russian Federation" is entirely the copyright of, and is reproduced with the permission of ACRA.

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. The NDB received AA+ long-term issuer credit ratings from S&P and Fitch and AAA foreign currency long-term issuer rating from Japan Credit Rating Agency (JCR).

Stephanie van der Walt: Within BRICS, South Africa Represents the Whole Region of Africa (Стефани ван дер Вальт: В рамках БРИКС Южная Африка представляет весь регион Африки) / South Africa, January, 2020
Keywords: trade_relations, expert_opinion
South Africa
Author: Stephanie van der Walt

"Now is the time to think strategically and to cast the net wider," says Stephanie van der Walt, director of the Agbiz Fruit Desk.

"For me there are a number of themes this year, notably the Brexit process that is expected to initiate on 31 January, the opportunities that can be leveraged through business' active participation in the BRICS grouping via the BRICS Business Council and the new African Continental Free Trade Area that will launch on the first of July."

"Market diversification is a big priority for South Africa's fruit exporters. The EU and the UK will remain key destinations for our exports, but Asia and Russia, and even India, are markets that hold a tremendous amount of potential. The message from South Africa's partners in BRICS is that free trade and open markets are fundamental to the BRICS objectives, which is highly encouraging when seeking to promote exports."

Reduction of exposure to domestic risk

South Africa is a member of the BRICS grouping which comprises Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The South African fruit industry has barely seen any benefits thus far from belonging to this grouping but, Stephanie says, the formalising of objectives in the Agricultural Working Group that began during last year's BRICS Summit in Brasilia and will continue in St Petersburg in July, is a step in the right direction.

She notes that it is important to remember the purpose and rationale of South Africa's participation in the BRICS grouping. She refers to a statement made by Dave Malcolmson, Chief Director: Regional Organizations at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, in 2018: "South Africa's approach [is] in consideration of a matter of crucial importance to BRICS member states, namely the role of emerging economies in advancing the restructuring of the global political, economic and financial architecture into one that is more equitable, balanced and rests on the important pillar of multilateralism."

"This statement remains relevant at a time where we're seeing a long-term rise in protectionism and outright antagonism towards multilateral structures from major western powers; the World Trade Organization's Appellate Body becoming inoperational in December as a result of US efforts to block the appointment of new judges is but one glaring example."

At present, BRICS remains primarily a political alliance, but with the formation of the BRICS Business Council last year, and Chinese President Xi Jinping's open call for the private sector's active participation in BRICS, trade and business engagement is set to gain momentum.

"Within BRICS, South Africa represents the whole region of Africa. With the advent of the African Continental Free Trade Area, the landscape of South-South engagement, and economic engagement in particular, is poised for prominence in the new decade."

Strengthening ties with China

"Asia is a priority destination for South Africa's market diversification efforts and some inroads have been made, even amidst tough competition. According to the Southern Hemisphere Association of Fresh Fruit Exporters, of all their members, South Africa was the largest fruit exporter to Asia, shipping a total of 650,486 tonnes of fruit, to the value of US$773 million, surpassing even major competitors like Chile and Australia. China and Hong Kong received the bulk of this, accounting for 45% of South Africa's total fruit exports into Asia."

Effective engagement through BRICS is one avenue through which trade ties with particularly China may be strengthened so that South Africa's fruit exporters are able to maintain this momentum.

It is also worth noting that China is the largest foreign investor in agriculture on the African continent. Other commodities, such as oil seeds and grain, have identified partnership opportunities across the African continent that may also pave the way for exports to China through investment partnerships. Whether this is a viable avenue for South African fruit producers remains to be seen, but with the tectonic plates of the trade landscape shifting, some out-of-the-box thinking might well be in order.

Fresh Plaza

BRICS Token: New Wave in International Payment System (Токены БРИКС: новая волна в международной платежной системе) / Russia, January, 2020
Keywords: expert_opinion, trade_relations
Author: Yana Grigoryeva

Yana Grigoryeva, Intern at the Russian National Committee on BRICS Research - special for InfoBRICS

In 2019 Russia, Brazil, India, China and South Africa were planning to issue their own digital money in order to reduce the share of payments in the US currency. BRICS countries are reducing the share of settlements in dollars. In Russia, over the past five years, the dollar`s share in foreign trade payments has decreased from 92% to 50%, and the ruble has increased from 3% to 14%.

The efficient BRICS payment system can ensure stability of payments and investments between BRICS member countries that generate more than 20% of the global inflow of foreign direct investment. The development of national segments of payment systems and their sustainable integration are the important factors of economic partnership between the BRICS countries in conditions of increasing non-market risks of the global payment infrastructure.

Ideas of an alternative to the US dollar in international settlements have been actively discussed in different countries over the past few years. Only currencies like the Euro or RMB, due to the size of the country`s economy, can really compete with the US dollar. At the same time, traditional banking institutions, formed more than 50 years ago, do not meet modern requirements of transparency, flexibility and efficiency. Thus, it seems like the using the open registry technology (blockchain) can be the only real alternative to the existing payment system. China has repeatedly announced plans to launch its own cryptocurrency, and in this context, using the BRICS platform to attract partner countries looks very logical.

By the end of January, the global trade and logistics IT-platform "New silk road BRICS" will issue the "NSRT" token (New Silk Road Token). The initial price of the NSRT will be $20. No more than 0.35% of the total NSRT issue (which is 25.9 million tokens) is planned for the first placement. The recipient of the funds will be a company registered in Hong Kong. The first transaction of the NSRT token took place on August 29, 2019.

The NSRT token opens an era of completely new digital assets. This is the first token in the world that works in real sectors of the economy at the global level with the support of state and supranational BRICS structures. The NSRT token is the main digital tool of the platform. There are also plans to place NSRT on the cryptocurrency exchanges Okex, Kukoin, livecoin, Exmo, and the investors who influence the logistics and financial industries of the BRICS and BRICS+ countries will first show interest in this token.

Simultaneously with the creation of the NSRT token in 2020, it is planned to create, implement and convert stable digital assets in the form of Stable Coins, linked to the cost of real instruments, such as fiat money and energy carriers. The NSRT token can be used as a Commission payment on the logistics platform, trading platform, and for cross-border transfers to Stable Coins. NSRT is also planned to be used to maintain the liquidity of the Stable Coins emission centers of the platform.

The global IT-platform "New silk road BRICS" was created under the auspices of such organizations as the BRICS Transport Association, the BRICS Energy Association, the business Club of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (18 countries), IT-Association, Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Association based on the decisions of the state`s heads of China, Russia, South Africa and Brazil. The IT-platform is also hosting 20 BRICs profile associations for wider development of this Project in different sectors of the economy.

In September 2018, the first modules of the Trade and logistics platform were launched According to the inventors, it is a world freight exchange and a global trading platform, which consists of two parts: logistics and trading. The logistics platform is a technological platform where carriers offer their bids in real time, and the system automatically selects the winner based on the offered price and the conditions provided by the carrier. Thanks to innovative technical solutions, this platform allows to quickly monitor offers from tens of thousands of carrier companies. Using the simplest "platform menu" system, the user can find the best price for the transportation of goods within a few minutes, while the system calculates the bid itself in just 5 to 10 seconds.

The trading platform for exporting companies is designed to solve the full-cycle problem of calculating the price of a product, taking into account all stages of delivery to the final destination. This reduces the time for employees of exporting companies to form a price offer to the final buyer, increases confidence in suppliers, and facilitates and speeds up the negotiation process before signing international contracts. Also, as a result of the fact that the system itself is able to determine the best price for the delivery of goods, the exporting company can significantly save on transport costs and provide the customer with the most competitive price with delivery.

The entire system is built on the Ethereum platform. Full decentralization of the system guarantees the preservation of the transaction history and transaction balance, and can be distributed to nodes and servers in different countries to ensure the reliability of its operation and constant access to data in case of system failure. It is also a powerful decentralized marketing platform that is completely "transparent" and safe to use: all transactions in it are carried out publicly, and any part of the information can`t be changed or forged from the outside. Thanks to smart contracts and blockchain technology, users will have a unique opportunity to conduct the entire transaction and document flow within the system, starting from invoicing and paying for goods and ending with transport documents and delivery confirmations. Thus, the platform acts as an escrow agent between the buyer and the seller, and smart contract algorithms allow you to specify any conditions necessary for the parties to the transaction. From January to December 2019, the total number of orders in the system for various types of transportation amounted to more than 24 million tons of cargo.

According to the project managers, the platform is planned to be launched in the second quarter of 2020 in commercial mode. To pay for goods and services on the platform, in addition to the main fiat money, will be possible also with digital currencies of the BRICS and BRICS+ countries, as well as cryptocurrencies Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) - in accordance with the legislation of those countries whose residents are contractors of a foreign trade transaction.

Since the launch in test mode in September 2018, the platform`s official partners have become the SCO Business Club, the BRICS Energy Association, the Russian Association of Crypto-industry and Blockchain, the Distributed Registry Technologies Association (Belarus), GLONASS JSC, the Wireless Ukraine Association, The National Telecommunications Association (NTA) of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Bitfury Group, Hideez Group, and others.

Perhaps the main task of the BRICS countries is to create an interstate system of interbank communication that would replace the SWIFT. Previously, there were no alternatives to the SWIFT system. But with the advent of distributed registry technology, the situation began to change. It turned out that blockchain can be used in the sphere of interbank and international payments. The distributed registry technology allows to do it faster and easier from a technical point of view, and cheaper, if the commission amount is reduced.

Maybe the SWIFT replacement initiative will remain an initiative. However, if it is implemented- and implemented successfully- we can see a new stage in the banking system.

Source: InfoBrics
World of work
Social policy, trade unions, actions
Event brings together international experts to discuss data protection regulation in BRICS countries (Мероприятие объединяет международных экспертов для обсуждения вопросов защиты данных в странах БРИКС) / Brazil, January, 2020
Keywords: social_issues

On January 23, Professor Luca Belli of the FGV´s Rio de Janeiro Law School will participate in a debate in Brussels about data protection regulations in the BRICS countries. At the meeting, which is part of the 13th Computer Privacy and Data Protection (CPDP) Conference, a "BRICS Data Protection Map" will be presented. There will also be the pre-launch of a book titled "CyberBRICS: Mapping Cybersecurity Frameworks in the BRICS." The map and book were developed by the CyberBRICS project, which is led by the FGV´s Rio de Janeiro Law School.

During the meeting, experts will present the data protection regulatory frameworks in the BRICS countries, focusing specifically on the structure, characteristics and experiences of data protection authorities. As well as Belli, the subject will be discussed by Sizwe Snail (a board member of the South African Data Protection Authority), Andrey Shcherbovich (a professor at the Higher School of Economics in Russia and a CyberBRICS project researcher), Bruno Gencarelli (of the European Commission) and Anja Kovacs (of the Internet Democracy Project). The meeting will be moderated by Danilo Doneda, who is a member of Brazil's National Data Protection Authority.

The debate about data protection regulations in the BRICS countries is being organized by CyberBRICS, a project conducted by the FGV´s Rio de Janeiro Law School in partnership with the Higher School of Economics in Russia, the Centre for Internet and Society in India, Fudan University in China, Hong Kong University and the University of Cape Town.

For more information about the event, click here.
Deepening innovation ties on BRICS agenda this year: Report (Углубление инновационных связей в повестке дня БРИКС в этом году: отчет) / India, January, 2020
Keywords: innovation, social_issues

Cooperation on developing high-end technologies will become an important agenda item for the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) countries during Russias current-year presidency of the group of emerging economies, Finnish Russian digital solutions provider Zyfra said on Tuesday.

Commenting on the current lack information about each other among medium-sized and small businesses, Zyfra said in a statement that the main barrier for commercial projects in BRICS countries is absence of data which correctly describes ongoing processes in digital technology.

"BRICS countries need to promote networking between chambers of commerce, business councils, professional associations and unions, as well as intensify collaboration between business entities through joint projects, trade fairs and exhibitions in the hi-tech sector," Zyfra CEO Igor Bogachev said.

According to the Zyfra report, while Russia plans to carry out about 150 activities at various levels during its chair assumed on January 1, innovation companies from BRICS will consider the meeting on the sidelines of the Business Twenty (B20), the G20 dialogue with the business community.

The report said that the BRICS countries will consider opportunities to jointly implement digital solutions in the mining, machinery, oil and gas and metallurgy industries, as well as share best practices, such as implementation of robotic mining equipment and real-time machine monitoring and manufacturing data collection systems.

"We have not yet learned how to create the prerequisites for medium-sized companies and small business to learn about each other. This is a task that we need to resolve together. Digitalisation is not a dialogue between major companies, but rather a dialogue between major companies and medium-sized and small ones," Bogachev said.

"What small companies are creating in terms of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) has not yet been created by big ones - it has not been created by anyone, for that matter," he added.

The Zyfra report has analysed scientific projects and commercial rollouts in the field of AI and machine learning (ML) conducted by research organizations and companies from 27 countries where India has also made it to the top 10 countries with 5 per cent of publications.

The largest number of publications are in the US (32 per cent) followed by China (12 per cent) and Germany (10 per cent).

The study found that ML techniques have been used in discrete manufacturing (44 per cent), in the process industry (22 per cent) and in the electric power industry (11 per cent). A further 23 per cent of projects belong to industries where AI applications are at early stages of development.

"The main barrier for commercial projects in BRICS countries is a lack or absence of data which correctly describes undergoing process. Successful results are mainly achieved by interdisciplinary groups consisting of data scientists, IT specialists and industry experts," Bogachev said.

"We believe that there is a huge opportunity for significant breakthroughs in the IIoT and AI market for companies from the BRICS countries. There is still no obvious leader in that market, it is just forming. Therefore, young companies in this area have a chance to take a prominent place," he added.
Online BRICS maths contest event held (Проведено онлайн-соревнование по математике БРИКС) / India, January, 2020
Keywords: rating, social_issues

GD Goenka Public School, Vasant Kunj, had the privilege of hosting the inaugural ceremony of, an international online Mathematics competition for students of the BRICS countries.

BRICS brings together five major emerging economies, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The initiatives taken by the BRICS forum nurture the Mathematical skills of children and build their reasoning, critical thinking, problem solving and communication skills.

FICCI Arise partnered with to launch an online Mathematics competition in 2017. is an annual international online Mathematics competition for students of Grades 1 to 12 in Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. This year G D Goenka Public School, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi, hosted the launch of the third competition. The inauguration was attended by dignitaries including Nikolay Rishatovich Kudashev, ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to the Republic of India; Mikhail Ktitorov, first secretary, embassy of the Russian Federation; Alexei Illyuviev, second secretary, embassy of the Russian Federation; André Corrêa do Lago, ambassador of Brazil in India; Sec. Pedro Ivo Ferraz da Silva, the head of science, technology and innovation section at the embassy of Brazil; Zhu Xiaohong, chancellor of the embassy of the People's Republic of China; Sun Meixing, officer, educational department, embassy of the People's Republic of China; Fyodor Rozovskiy, counsellor and head of the cultural department, embassy of the Russian Federation and director of Russian Centre of Science and Culture (RCSC); Ludmila Filippova, consultant, information and culture, RCSC, Pushkar Vohra, joint secretary academics, CBSE; Kunal Kishore, business consultant; Vaarun Sharma, general manager, India, ISIC; Divya Sharma, manager, strategic partnership, India, ISIC; and Samreen Ghauri, project manager, FICCI and the team. The young artists of G D Goenka presented a classical Bharatnatyam dance.

Meenakshi Bhakuni, principal of GD Goenka Public School, Vasant Kunj, welcomed everyone and exhorted the students to participate in in large numbers. She expressed the belief that the entire cosmos functions on the basis of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and Maths has helped us to solve many mysteries of life and will continue to do so. Bhakuni said she hoped this competition would imbue a passion for learning in many more students. HE Kudashev evinced his joy that, the brainchild of a Russian company, was serving the purpose of uniting the students of so many different countries, cultures and backgrounds. HE André Corrêa do Lago was excited about the venture. He encouraged the students to participate in large numbers. Zhu Xiaohong conveyed the best wishes of her ambassador and said the BRICS forum provided an excellent platform for economic, political and cultural cooperation. Vohra conveyed the best wishes of the board for the competition and informed everyone that the CBSE had already issued an advisory to schools informing them about the competition.
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