Ufa, Russia – President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin closed the 2015 Brics/SCO Summit in Ufa on Friday, declaring it a success.
“Brics provides a platform for very important external political and economic meetings,” said Putin.
“All in all, in Ufa, 15 states were represented and we had many fruitful discussions.”
The summit, which ran officially for two days, began on Wednesday, with all member states - Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa - in attendance.
Each member state was represented by their respective leaders: Putin, Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff, China’s Xi Jinping, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and South African President Jacob Zuma.
Joining their heads of state were delegations from each country consisting of business people, ministers, and media.
Among the South African delegation was Department of Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, Minister of Energy Tina Joemat-Pettersson, Minister of Finance Nhlanhla Nene, Eskom acting chief executive Brian Molefe, and chairman of Sekanjalo, Dr Iqbal Surve.
Notable achievements of the summit and of Putin’s year as Brics president included the implementation of the New Development Bank (NDB) and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA), which together had an initial total of US$200 million.
The NDB, which would see the mobilisation of resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects, was scheduled to begin operations in April 2016.
The first regional bank of the NDB would be set up in South Africa, from which two members of the structure’s ledership had been selected.
Former vice-chairman of Barclays Capital and Absa Capital Leslie Maasdorp had been appointed one of four vice-presidents of the NDB. Former governor of the Reserve Bank Tito Mboweni was appointed as non-executive director of the bank.
Additional highlights included the signing of the intra-Brics economic cooperation agreement and memorandums of understanding (MOUs).
A notable MOU for South Africa was one agreed to with Russia and was nuclear related.
It would see some 200 students travelling to Russia for training in nuclear and engineering related subjects, as well as the raising of awareness about the energy source in an attempt to quell negative perceptions about power plant construction.
The summit, which officially ended on Thursday, made way for a meeting of the Shangai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) where Putin met with his Asian counterparts.
The Russian leader also spoke briefly about the situations in China, Greece, and Iran.
On China, Putin said economic difficulties was everywhere and no one was immune.
“I discussed it with Chinese leadership and they are quite calm about it.”
“I concur with them,” he said.
On Greece and Iran, Putin said Russia had not been approached by the bankrupt European nation for assistance and that sanctions imposed on the latter nation should be lifted.
However, on the Greek topic, Putin said Russia was in a position to help the country with which the Federation had a “spiritual friendship”.
Putin ended of with a joke about learning yoga, a promise he had made to Modi earlier in the year.
“They say yoga is the transition from the physical to the spiritual,” said Putin, “I am already at the physical so you can say I am halfway there.”
Putin would relinquish his Brics presidency in February 2016, making way for Modi.
The next annual Brics summit would take place in India.