People-to-people exchange, digital, cultural, sporting, educational and technological cooperation were listed among the key areas Brics leaders committed themselves to yesterday.
These areas were considered in order to meet challenges posed by the fourth industrial revolution (FIR), with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi warning that the world was “at crossroads” due to digital advances.
Brics heads of state – Brazil’s Michel Temer, Vladimir Putin of Russia, Modi, China’s Xi Jinping, and Cyril Ramaphosa – dedicated most of their statements during the second day of the summit, pondering on the challenges the FIR would have on the world.
Modi and Ramaphosa both emphasised that it was “important to put people and human values at the face of development”.
“The fourth industrial revolution – which will be more important than capital – will mean a challenge and an opportunity for our countries,” Modi said. “We will see new kinds of industries and whatever happens will be far-reaching and serious for all of us.”
He said the digital revolution meant “developing a school curriculum to prepare the future of our youth”.
“In India, we started rolling out the skills development mission to ensure that people of all classes have access to vocational and higher education by making job seekers job creators.”
He said India is committed to work with Brics partners in coming up with best practices to govern the area of digital technology.
Ramaphosa said the people-to-people exchange component has to be deepened to include sport – “an area of passion to Putin whose country this year hosted the Fifa World Cup”.
“We believe that competing in sport will have an economic dimension to it,” said Ramaphosa, who congratulated Putin for Russia’s success as hosts.
Putin said the FIR covered “all spheres of our lives and the efficiency of labour”.
“When it comes to the digital revolution, it will be important to come up with legislation that guarantees the safety of citizens and safeguarding personal data.”
President Temer said Brazil was more than committed to “greater openness and cooperation” in the area of digital technology.