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News (115)

Tuesday, 05 March 2013 11:12

BRICS countries seek “virtual secretariat”

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At the fifth BRICS summit to date, and the first to be held on the African continent, the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa will discuss the creation of a new Development Bank and a “virtual secretariat”. The hosts of the summit also plan to acquaint the other BRICS members with African issues.The agenda of the BRICS summit, which will be held on March 26-27 in Durban, South Africa, particularly highlights last week’s talks between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his South African counterpart Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.It is known that one of the priority issues to be discussed by the leaders of the five-nation club is the creation of a BRICS Development Bank.At a joint press conference on February 12, asked if Russia was in favor of such a structure, Lavrov replied: “The fact that the idea is being actively framed in preparation for the summit speaks…
Wednesday, 27 February 2013 09:19

Brics’ summit banking on development

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The Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa business communities) development bank, which is likely to be launched at the Brics summit in Durban next month will probably only invest about 10 percent to 15 percent of its capital in Africa and be based in Shanghai not in South Africa, experts believe.They expect President Jacob Zuma and other Brics leaders – Chinese President Xi Jinping, Indian Prime Minister Manohan Singh, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and Russian President Vladimir Putin – to give the bank a formal “paper launch” at the summit. But it will take months, or years, before the bank gives out its first loan.Many important decisions about the bank may be deferred, including how much capital each of the Brics governments should initially invest.There is a proposal that they should each put in $10 billion (R89bn), but South Africa is apparently balking at that, saying it is…
Tuesday, 26 February 2013 09:28

SA plans to punt Africa at Brics summit

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The South African government intends to make next month’s Brics summit a Brics summit for Africa. But how much will that help the continent in practice? And how much will it help South Africa?This will be the fifth summit of the Brics bloc of major emerging nations – Brazil, Russia, India and China – which South Africa joined late in 2010. It will be the first summit hosted by South Africa.And South Africa has decided to take advantage of the opportunity to bring Africa more forcefully to the attention of the Bric leaders who will attend the Durban summit, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chinese President Xi Jinping.The theme will be “Brics and Africa – partnerships for integration and industrialisation” and the Brics leaders have invited the heads of the AU and Africa’s regional economic communities to attend the summit for…
Monday, 25 February 2013 10:01

BRICS: The way forward

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Drawing from the Sanya Declaration of the BRICS Leaders Summit held in China in 2011, five reputed policy research organisations have come together to form the Track 2 initiative called BRICS Trade and Economic Research Network (TERN) which will work on a range of issues on South-South cooperation.The five founding members Fundacao Getulio Vargas, Brazil, Eco-Accord, Russia, CUTS International, India, Shanghai WTO Affairs Consultation Centre, China and the South African Institute of International Affairs are of the view that BRICS cooperation should move from policy discussions to delivering tangible benefits for the people of these five countries, in areas of sharing technology, increase in bilateral investment and trade etc. This development comes in the run up to the BRICS Leaders Summit which will be held in Durban, South Africa in March 2013.Representing the civil society among the various stakeholders, Pradeep S. Mehta, secretary general, CUTS International said BRICS countries should…
Johannesburg: Carrying the theme “BRICS and Africa - partnerships for integration and industrialisation” the fifth BRICS Summit will be held in Durban, South Africa between 25 and 27 March 2013. Taking a step back, this report focuses on the depth of intra-BRICS trade and commercial ties to frame many of the discussions which will take place in Durban.
Thursday, 14 February 2013 09:58

Emerging Indonesia and its global posture

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Canberra:  At a recent ANZ seminar in Melbourne, Australia, president director of McKinsey & Company Indonesia, Arif Budiman, said Indonesia was the most stable among the world’s major economies. McKinsey predicts that Indonesia, currently the world’s 16th-largest economy by gross domestic product (GDP), will become the seventh-largest by 2030.  Many scholars, lawmakers, private companies and the media have billed Indonesia as “emerging”, “a rising middle power”, “the next member of the BRICS [Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa]” and other such titles. An interesting question is how the (perceived) rise of Indonesia will, and should, impact upon its foreign policy posture.At the beginning of the 21st century the world order has been shaped by a changing balance of global economic power, signaled by the rise of “emerging powers”, which were previously perceived just as “developing countries”.As one of the emerging powers, Indonesia has strong modalities to play an important…
Thursday, 07 February 2013 11:17

BRICS to partner rest of Africa

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South Africa’s inclusion into the BRICS group is key to the country’s “global economic strategy” says Rob Davies, the South African minister of trade and industry.“South Africa’s membership of the BRICS forum has become a vital element of our global economic strategy, and as the incoming BRICS chair, South Africa will play a key role in shaping the agenda for economic cooperation,” said Davies.The 5th BRICS Summit will take place in March in Durban, South Africa.The theme for the Summit is “Brics and Africa – Partnership for Development, Integration and Industrialisation”.South Africa sees this as a historic opportunity for the BRICS countries to champion a new model for collaboration for more sustainable, equitable and mutually beneficial development, said the minister.Before the Summit there will be a meeting between BRICS ministers of trade and economic development on March 26.The minister said the country has four strategic considerations to anchor their participation…
Last year when I visited Bangladesh I was struck by the number of persons who insisted that I must visit the port of Chittagong — the heart of the economy of Bangladesh handling more than 90% of seaborne export-import trade. This port has held many names throughout the ages but only one real purpose: to connect this country to the outside world through trade and to serve as a conduit for other countries to connect with each other.  The efficiency of the port has improved over the years and many consider it to be the most efficient container port in the South Asian region. It is thus with genuine pleasure that I was able to return to Bangladesh with the fundamental aim of seeing this Port in action and hearing from those whose business and livelihood relies on this conveyor belt of commerce and trade.Even as transportation costs decrease and the…
The 5th BRICS Summit in Durban, to be held on March 26 and 27, will focus on what the illustrious emerging powers club considers to be today's most exciting phenomenon in international affairs: The rise of Africa. Brazil, India, Russia and China are rapidly increasing their presence in Africa, fundamentally altering the power dynamics on a continent that was once little more than a recipient of Western aid. BRICS-Africa trade is set to increase threefold, from $150-billion in 2010 to $530-billion in 2015. In 2010, China overtook the United States as Africa's largest trading partner, while Brazil and India currently rank as Africa's sixth and 10th largest trading partners, respectively. "BRICS and Africa - partnerships for integration and industrialisation" will be the theme of the 5th BRICS Summit. One key issue will stand out at the summit: the promotion of African infrastructure development through the establishment of a BRICS-led development…
Washington: The International Monetary Fund failed to meet a self-imposed Thursday deadline [31 January] for agreeing on a new formula to determine member countries' voting power that would give emerging economies greater say in the global financial institution. IMF member countries have wrangled for two years over specifics of the formula intended to reflect the rise of China, Brazil and other large emerging market economies. The IMF said it planned to finalize a formula by January 2014, when it next reviews the voting shares of member countries. An IMF statement on Thursday said there had been "important progress in identifying key elements that could form the basis for a final agreement on a new quota formula." "The board has had an enlightening series of discussions during the past year, and the membership is now in a good position to agree on an improved quota formula in the context of the…
Since Argentina defaulted on its debt in 2001, most of its creditors have agreed to some restructuring. However, a few have not. And according a court ruling last November, that is the problem. The New York court ruled that Argentina must repay in full the bondholders which have not agreed to restructuring (New York hedge funds Elliot Associates and Aurelius Capital). In addition, the court ruled that if Argentina does not repay them, then it would be illegal for Argentina to fulfill its commitments to creditors that did restructure. If the original bond agreements would have included collective action clauses (CACs), the majority of bondholders could have required the "holdouts" (e.g., Elliot Associates and Aurelius Capital) to accept a restructured agreement. Without CACs, one bondholder can block any agreement to restructure a country's debt obligations.However, CACs will not serve as a panacea for sovereign debt problems. Collective action clauses would only apply to new bond issuances and do…
Monday, 21 January 2013 10:39

We need Brics – and the G8 too

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The BRics summit which South Africa will host in Durban at the end of March is going to be quite an event, with eight African heads of state invited to confer with the heads of the five Brics countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – and a host of other ancillary events.Jerry Matjila, director-general of International Relations and Co-operation, and Anil Sooklal, deputy director-general for the Middle East and Asia in the same department – respectively the “sherpa” and “sous-sherpa”(deputy sherpa) for the summit – briefed media about the summit this week.The “outreach” to the African leaders is part of South Africa’s aim to push Brics towards Africa. It is also hoping a Brics Development Bank – with initial capital of $50 billion (R438.5bn) – might be launched at the summit, which would greatly help Africa.South Africa had three main aims when it joined Brics in 2010…
African leaders need to put in place policies that seek to integrate smallholder farmers into already available market if the continent aims to achieve sustainable economic development, says the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC).Dr Innocent Matshe, Director of Training of the AERC says the integration needs not to be done in a commercial way, however, have to focus on developing a strategy that would promote the interest of smallholder farmers to market their products to facilitate as a link to the market and eventually grow as producers.“At our earlier stages of our development we had in place a lot of instruments to encourage producers within our country and economy to produce and to engage in socio-economic development in the country, we need same for smallholder farmers.“What we need to do is to put in place policy frameworks that encourage not only their participation but also their engagement at the wider…
ODI Working Papers Issue 365 by Milo Vandemoortele, Kate Bird, Andries Du Toit, Minquan Liu, Kunal Sen and Fábio Veras SoaresFive key emerging market economies, commonly termed the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), have been lauded for their stellar economic growth and resilience through the 2008/09 financial crisis.They are becoming models of development for development practitioners, researchers and other emerging economies. Scratch beneath the surface, however, and you will notice that not all people in these countries have benefited equally from growth. Some countries have seen enormous increases in income inequality – specifically China, India and South Africa; Brazil has enjoyed a reduction.What can be learnt, in terms of the challenges and successes of reconciling growth and equity, from the BRICS’ recent growth? This paper examines the experiences of four of the BRICS – Brazil, China, India and South Africa – and identifies four key factors shaping…
Moscow:  Participation in the BRICS was the most promising route for Russia's integration into the global economy, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Wednesday. "The positive prospects of the BRICS are obvious," Medvedev told the ongoing Gaidar forum, which is discussing the integration of Russia into the global economy.The annual forum, named after Yegor Gaidar, Russia's first post-Soviet prime minister, was first held in 2010 and has become a significant gathering of experts and political leaders in Russia.Russia had also been open to cooperation within other frameworks, Medvedev said. "I believe, the preference should be given to the notion of the common economic and humanitarian space from Atlantic to Pacific."While admitting that no one knew how the world would look after the global financial crisis, Medvedev said Russia should deal with the unfolding process with a positive mood. To illustrate his vision, he quoted Mao Zedong, one of the founders of…
Wednesday, 16 January 2013 09:15

Durban may see founding of Brics bank

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SOUTH African officials say plans for a Brics Development Bank with starting capital of up to $50bn are gathering pace ahead of the group’s summit in Durban in two months."There is the political will from all the Brics countries to have this bank," South African ambassador to Brics Anil Sooklal said in Pretoria on Tuesday.SA is lobbying to host the bank, if it gets off the ground, emphasising the sophistication and integrity of the financial services industry here. The country co-chaired the preparatory work with India.Supporters of the idea of the bank have worked on the basis that each of the five Brics countries — the others are Brazil, China and Russia — will commit $10bn at the outset. Its objectives will include financing projects in poor and developing nations, particularly in Africa and India."We all found comfort with that ($50bn) figure but there is nothing official about it," said…
Call for Applications: Postdoc-Fellowship at the Centre for Global Cooperation Research, University of Duisburg-Essen, Research Unit “Global Governance Revisited”The Centre for Global Cooperation Research – Käte Hamburger Kolleg “Political Cultures of World Society“ at the University of Duisburg-Essen offers a Postdoc-fellowship in the Research Unit “Global Governance Revisited”.The fellow will work at the Centre for a period of nine to twelve months between July 2013 and June 2014. The Fellowship entails office space in fully equipped offices and a competitive stipend commensurate with the applicant’s level of professional experience.The Centre:The Centre for Global Cooperation Research is an independent research institution of the University of Duisburg-Essen. It cooperates closely with the Institute for Development and Peace (INEF) in Duisburg, the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI) in Essen, and the German Development Institute (DIE) in Bonn. The Centre is located at Duisburg’s Inner Harbor, which combines industrial heritage with…
New Delhi:  BRICS nations - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - are likely to finalise the structure of a development bank that will fund infrastructure in the associate nations at the BRICS summit in Durban in March. The bank, however, may not start functioning before 2014 and is likely to have substantially less initial paid-up capital than the amount of $240 billion that is doing the rounds currently. Officials of BRICS countries are scheduled to meet in Pretoria, South Africa on January 10-11 to look at the viability and feasibility of setting up the bank.In February, finance ministers from these nations will meet to finalise the structure and thereafter, the leaders will approve it in March at the Durban summit.Officials in India said all the countries are committed to creating the development bank for the region and the chances of a consensus are very high.“It may start with…
Monday, 07 January 2013 10:33

NSAs of BRICS countries to meet in Delhi Jan 10

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New Delhi:  Ahead of the BRICS summit in Durban in March, the national security advisers of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa will meet here next week to discuss key regional and international issues. National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon will represent India at the meeting that will be held here Jan 10. This will be the first structured meeting of the NSAs of the BRICS grouping comprising the five major emerging economies of the world.The situation in the Middle East, the deadlock in Syria, the Iranian sanctions and counter-terror cooperation are among issues that are expected to figure in the discussions.The 5th BRICS summit will be held in Durban March 26-27, the first time South Africa will be hosting the heads of states and governments of the BRICS countries.The BRICS comprises nearly half the world's population and a quarter of global GDP. This article copyright Indo-Asian News Service, via the…
Moscow: Russia this month took over the presidency of the G20, the club of the world’s biggest economies that accounts for 90pc of global GDP and 80pc of world trade. Ksenia Yudayeva, Russia’s sherpa (representative) to the G20 and head of the Russian president’s experts directorate, told Russia Now that the G20 summit would be held in St Petersburg on September 5-6, 2013. Early bilateral meetings have already been held in Moscow to help establish the agenda. The presidential priorities were presented to a conference on the promotion of economic growth and sustainable development last week.President Putin said recently: “The main task of the Russian presidency will be to concentrate the efforts of the G20 on developing measures to stimulate economic growth and create jobs.” Russia intends to discuss such traditional G20 themes as job creation, reform of the world monetary system and stability on global energy markets.But Russia, which…
The first issue of the Lowy Institute G20 Monitor, which will regularly report on G20 developments and analyse issues, has been released. The first issue of the Monitor, which is produced by the G20 Studies Centre, canvases the challenges facing the G20 in 2013. Key Findings:*  Many are worried that the G20 's agenda is expanding too widely and covering too many unrelated issues. It needs to get 'back to basics'.*  Russia, as chair of the G20 in 2013, will need to focus on the critical issues confronting the global economy. Given a weak, unbalanced and vulnerable global economy, it is essential that the G20 give top priority to reinvigorating global growth. The economic 'to-do' list must include strengthening the process by which G20 members make policy commitments and are then held accountable for implementing these commitments, resisting protectionist pressures, and maintaining and expanding the multilateral trading system.*  Some see…
On December 12-13, 2012, the Council for Foriegn Relations (CFR) convened the second Council of Councils regional conference: "Russia, Europe, and the Future of Global Governance."The meeting promoted lively discussions on Russia's G20 chairmanship, the Eurozone crisis and global economy, Syria and the function of the UN Security Council, and cybersecurity and institutional reforms.The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and the Russian Institute of Contemporary Development (INSOR) are delighted to share with you the compiled memo series on Russian priorities for the G20 Chairmanship. These memos were shared with Russia’s G20 Sherpa and other senior Russian officials.You can download the Conference Paper, "Prospects for the Russian Chairmanship of the G20" (PDF) here.
Tuesday, 18 December 2012 00:00

Results of the Think 20 Meeting, Moscow

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GEGAfrica's Peter Draper was in Moscow this week to present his insights on "THE SHIFTING GEOGRAPHY OF GLOBAL VALUE CHAINS: IMPLICATIONS FOR TRADE POLICY", a report he co-authored while chair of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on the Global Trade System.You can download Peter Draper's presentation here.The Think 20 Meeting took place in Moscow on December 11 as part of Russia's G20 presidency. Representatives of leading global think tanks exchanged opinions on the most important issues on the global economic agenda. Below is the Summary Report from the meeting. Think 20 Summary report by co-chairsSession 1 - "Reinvigorating Economic Growth: Macroeconomic Issues and Fiscal Sustainability" (Chairman - Sergey Guriev)Resulting from deliberations, the key findings and recommendations of the first session to the G20 are as follows:1. To review and report on prior commitments, fully implement "put your own house in order" commitments.2. To monitor all sovereign obligations, not only…
Friday, 14 December 2012 10:56

‘Consoliate African agenda to G20’

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THE African Development Bank (AfDB) says its members should identify common issues affecting them to enable Africa’s only representative, South Africa to the Group of 20 (G20) to present a consolidated African agenda.AfDB principal infrastructure specialist for southern Africa Mtchera Chirwa said South Africa’s representation to the G20 can only be meaningful if the African countries form a common ground because only the needs of South Africa are currently being raised to the G20.“African countries need to convene annual meetings to enhance the African agenda to the G20…South Africa has  roles to play, firstly by promoting its own interests and spearheading the African interests as well,” he said.Mr Chirwa was speaking here yesterday at the Southern African Institute of International Affairs (SIIA) and University of Pretoria’s International Development Law Unit organised conference on Africa and the G20 aimed at analysing the role of G20 in African development.Read the rest of…
Friday, 14 December 2012 00:00

The Africa question

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It will be counterproductive for BRICS if South Africa’s chairmanship ends up representing the continentWith the impending handover of the chairmanship of BRICS by India to South Africa, there is a flurry of activities in BRICS capitals, including a visit of a high-powered South African delegation to New Delhi. While there would be discussions on the modalities of the handover, the central focus must remain on the BRICS agenda.If recent conversations with South African scholars are any indication, the country’s chairmanship of BRICS may be conditioned by a strong impulse to represent Africa. In two recent conferences in China, interventions by South African delegates on BRICS matters introduced a heavy dose of Africa, issues that currently engage the African Union and the state of the continent generally. In the run up to the 2013 BRICS summit, the country seems to be placing upon itself the onerous task of discovering and…
New Delhi:  With 40 percent of the world market driven by emerging economies in the BRICS nations, including India, there is need for financial cooperation in the five-nation bloc and setting up of a common development bank, experts said Wednesday. According to speakers from New Delhi, Moscow and Beijing, at a video conference on "BRICS: Anti Crisis Measures in Future", the BRICS Development Bank would help in promoting growth as well as boost trade between the five countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.Vyacheslav Trubnikov, former Russian envoy to India, said via video link from Moscow that once the BRICS Development Bank is set up it should be ensured that the proceeds are not "bureaucratised" and it "works without any red tape".The European economic slowdown can impact BRICS countries, but the joint development bank would give money for R&D and support to students, he added.According to Nandan Unnikrishnan,…
Wednesday, 12 December 2012 09:31

SA ‘pushing agenda for Africa in G-20’

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SOUTH Africa is pushing for Africa’s interests through its membership of the Group of Twenty (G-20), a senior Treasury official said on Monday.South Africa has previously been criticised for pursuing its own agenda in the group of leading economies rather than taking a stand for issues which affect the whole continent. "We want to help Africa, it’s the right thing to do," said Treasury director of international finance Owen Wilcox.
Tuesday, 11 December 2012 08:40

G20 too ‘Eurocentric’, says expert

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University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business professor Mills Soko has expressed concern over the G20 group of industrialised countries’ ability to assist Africa in achieving growth and overcoming its challenges, deeming it to be too ‘Eurocentric’.Speaking at the first yearly African G20 conference, he suggested that the group’s five European members be reduced to one. Commending the outreach approach of Russia, which is chairing the G20 leaders meeting in 2013, to include nonmember economies, Soko added that countries such as Thailand could make a valuable addition to the G20.Russian Embassy second secretary Yaroslav Shishkin told delegates attending the conference in Pretoria that Russia was holding consultations with nonmember countries. “…as our President has said the G20 should not be closed, it should work for everyone.”The G20 would have to engage with nonmember countries and inform them about the group’s principles and agenda to gain their trust, he said.South…
The International Development Law Unit, Centre for Human Rights, a key advocacy organisation for human rights in Africa, together with the South African Institute for International Affairs, leading foreign policy research institute on the African continent, invite government officials and researchers to apply for a capacity building workshop on:Global Economic Governance: A Focus on African Countries About the workshop: A two-week capacity building workshop to be held at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, from the 28th January 2013- 8th February 2013.The Objectives of the workshop include:To strengthen knowledge and capacity building on Global Economic GovernanceTo ensure better understanding on the different factors, aspects, processes and key institutions that exist within and make up Global Economic GovernanceTo provide extensive discussion and interactive sessions on current issues largely affecting Global Economic GovernanceTo provide a critical assessment on the impact of Global Economic Governance on African countriesHow to apply:Please note that the…
Thursday, 29 November 2012 14:14

Russia eyes healing economy as G20 priority

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Moscow: Healing the ailing global economy would be Russia's top priority during its G20 presidency, the Kremlin said Monday. "Our main task is to concentrate the G20 efforts not simply on discussion of the most important problems. Our aim is to make practical decisions aimed at healing global economy and finances, stimulating economy growth and jobs creation," the Kremlin's chief of staff Sergei Ivanov said during a meeting of the steering committee for Russia's G20 presidency.Russia is to take over the rotating presidency of the twenty-nation group on December 1, 2012.Ivanov listed attracting investors, facilitating job creation, improving work of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) among priorities of Russia's year-long term as the G20 leader."Russia for the first time offers to hold a joint meeting of the financial and labor ministers to assess the global economic problems from the angle of employment," Ivanov said.Moscow plans to organize a separate conference…
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