Picture: Stringer/Reuters

Xiamen - China will give 500 million yuan (about R988 million) for a BRICS economic and technology cooperation plan, and another $4 million (about R52 million) for projects at the BRICS countries' New Development Bank, Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Monday.

The newly announced $80 million funding plan pales in comparison to China's $124 billion pledge earlier in May in a push for Xi's own Belt and Road initiative, which aims to expand links between Asia, Africa, Europe and beyond as a new way to boost global development.

The announcement came amid questions over the relevance of BRICS and China's commitment to its New Development Bank (NDB) in light of the Belt and Road initiative and the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

Xi said BRICS countries should increase cooperation in sectors such as trade and investment, monetary and finance, and sustainable development.

"We should redouble our efforts to comprehensively deepen BRICS partnerships and open BRICS cooperation," he said during a plenary session at a BRICS leaders' summit in the southeastern Chinese city of Xiamen.

The heads of state from the BRICS group of emerging economies - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa will gather in Xiamen through Tuesday, giving host China its latest chance to position itself as a bulwark of globalisation in the face of U.S. President Donald Trump's "America First" agenda.