Russian President Vladimir Putin supported the call for the relaxation of strict visa travel requirements. Picture: Kopano Tlape/GCIS

Johannesburg - Russian President Vladimir Putin gave the Brics Business Council a major boost when he supported their call for the relaxation of strict visa travel requirements between the member countries.

The Brics Business Council through its chairperson Dr Iqbal Survé made the call this week in which he urged all heads of state including South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa to open door for businesses in these different countries to travel and do business in their bids to enhance trade and investment among the Brics countries.

Business Council also made calls for easy access for short-term tourism and other non-business purposes as well as study and work permits.

Putin was quick to endorse the call in which he urged the Brics national ministers responsible for the different portfolios’ in their governments to seriously consider the proposals. The Russian President also gave weight to the regional establishment of the New Development Banks in all the Brics countries and said his own country had already created favourable environment for the bank to operate without any hinges.

All heads of the states were in agreement about the challenges of the 4th industrial revolution and for all member states to share ideas on how to deal with the “unknown challenges”.

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

He also said that the industrial revolution had the potential to solve many of the social problems the countries face, by better equipping them to combat diseases, hunger and environmental degradation.

“However, unless it is approached in a collaborative manner, underpinned by a developmental agenda, rapid technological change could merely serve to entrench existing disparities and between the countries,” Ramaphosa said.

He further said “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.

“We proceed from the understanding that this is not simply a digital revolution, but a fundamental shift in the way people live, work and relate. It is a phenomenon that cuts across all industries and technologies,” he said.

This was endorsed by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi who warned that the fourth industrial revolution would have an impact on the lives of all the people in the world.

“We must have the people and human value at the heart of our economic development as the industrial revolution will have far reaching impact on small economies like that of us,” Modi warned.

He appeared not dampened by the prospect of the industrial revolution but said that there was a greater need for Brics countries to change their curriculum’s in schools and universities to meet the challenges of the revolution by introducing new technologies.

Modi also urged the Brics leaders to share ideas to fight cyber crime. 

Ahead of the signing of trade and investment agreements, President Ramaphosa consolidated a call by Putin for the Brics countries to adopt a people’s to people component which would be inclusive of sporting and cultural exchanges between each other.

Ramaphosa said all five of them had agreed on different types of working relationship in the field of film, cinema and museums.

Political Bureau