Brics leaders agree to expand cultural‚ sporting and arts links

26 July 2018 - 15:03 By Ranjeni Munusamy

The leaders of the five Brics nations have agreed to a proposal by Russian President Vladimir Putin that cooperation be extended at people-to-people level to promote cooperation and make the community more inclusive.

In a closed session between the presidents of South Africa‚ China‚ India‚ Russia and Brazil‚ Putin proposed that Brics should not just be a meeting of leaders but include the citizens of the five nations.

In an open session at the summit on Thursday‚ Chinese President Xi Jinping revealed that the five presidents had agreed to expand cultural‚ sporting and arts links.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa‚ in his closing remarks at the heads of state session of the summit‚ said the proposal by Putin would be an “important aspect to cooperation”. He said officials of the five nations had been instructed to develop this proposal‚ which could see sportspeople and artists competing against each other in special events.

The Brics community has so far focused on promoting economic ties between the world’s leading developing economies.

The four visiting leaders congratulated Ramaphosa and South Africa on the organisation of the summit in Sandton this week.

All five leaders stressed the importance of science‚ technology‚ skills development and digital innovation in stimulating growth and to keep pace with the fourth industrial revolution.

Ramaphosa said quantum leaps in technology and innovation presented enormous opportunities for growth‚ development and human progress.

“This surge in innovation has the potential to dramatically improve productivity and to place entire countries on a new trajectory of prosperity.

“Through our collective effort‚ by working together‚ I am certain that we will be able to confront the challenges and seize the opportunities that this new age of development presents‚” said Ramaphosa.

Speaking at the summit‚ Putin said the five nations needed to promote the safety and security of their citizens. This included a “safe and reliable internet environment”‚ and protection of personal data.

He said there should also be closer cooperation on the digital economy.

As Donald Trump's tariff salvos threaten global trade wars, leaders from the BRICS bloc - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - are expected to band together in defence of the multilateralism the United States once championed at a summit of major emerging nations in Johannesburg.