South Africa: Ramaphosa Arrives in Brazil Amid Worry Over Bolsonaro's Intentions

analysis

President Ramaphosa has arrived in Brazil to attend the 11th BRICS summit, amid concerns that the new Brazilian government of rightwing Brazilian President Jair Messias Bolsonaro might radically change the nature of the grouping.

Brazilian President Jair Messias Bolsonaro has expressed a preference for closer ties with the US and European Union, rather than the developing or emerging nations which the BRICS -- comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- have historically represented.

There were fears among the other BRICS members -- especially South Africa -- immediately after he was elected, that Bolsonaro might even pull Brazil right out of the grouping. He was apparently persuaded not to do so on the grounds that BRICS membership could help Brazil, if the agenda were to be narrowly focused on boosting Brazil's own economy.

Ramaphosa said after arriving in Brasilia on Tuesday that "Brazil's priorities for its 2019 BRICS chairship are innovation, fighting transnational crime, health and promoting trade and investment with a focus on infrastructure development and possible Public-Private Partnerships.

Brazilian officials have expanded on these priorities to include co-operation in science, technology and innovation, particularly in the digital economy and the Fourth Industrial Revolution; and for more energy...

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