BRICS think-tanks agree to create digital diplomacy

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Think-tanks from the five BRICS countries—Brazil, India, China, Russia and South Africa—have agreed to come up with a roadmap to create digital diplomacy. This emerged from the recent BRICS digital conference that was held in New Delhi from April 28–29, Sandiso Ngcobo, a member of the South African think-tank delegation to the conference, said. BRICS think-tanks gathered to find a common ground in addressing the regulation of cyberspace and shared skills, Mr Ngcobo told the Chinese news agency Xinhua.

Despite different cultural, political and economic backgrounds, the BRICS think-tanks have found a common ground on main issues, said Ngcobo, who is also a lecturer at South Africa’s Mangosuthu University of Technology. “I am happy with what happened in India. We managed to exchange knowledge and skills. We discussed how the internet could be used to address socioeconomic challenges and we agreed in those aspects”, he added.

The BRICS think-tanks also addressed the issue of language barriers, taking into account that information in BRICS countries is mostly communicated in English, thereby leaving many outside. They also agreed to address gender imbalance and empower women by elevating them to powerful positions.

“We reached a common ground to regulate cyberspace. We know that we have different cultures, and different political and government structures. We want to use technology to address socioeconomic challenges and make it inclusive”, Mr Ngcobo said. This would help harmonise cyberspace to promote international trade and e-commerce.

“We know China has Alibaba who have been in the game for some time. We want to find ways to trade online like South African purchasing goods in China through the internet. We want to find ways to e-commerce and purchase goods easily and promote trade”, he added.

The think-tanks also agreed to cooperate to achieve economic inclusion after noting that some of their citizens do not have access to the economy. The BRICS think-tanks will meet in India again in October this year prior to a political leadership meeting.

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