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Africa: Brics Summits Make Little Progress On Science Cooperation
Rio De Janeiro — Scientific cooperation among the BRICS countries lags far behind its potential, according to Brazilian experts speaking after last week's BRICS summit in Brazil.

The 6th Summit of Heads of State and of Government of BRICS - a multilateral forum of the emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - held in Fortaleza and Brasília (14-16 July) has agreed to set up New Development Bank, which will emphasise social and economic inclusion.

The final declaration reinforces the commitment to strengthening cooperation in science, technology and innovation, and calls for "co-generating new knowledge and innovative products, services and processes utilising appropriate funding and investment instruments".

But there has been little progress in setting up joint funds for cooperation in research within the BRICS nations.

"It would be of a huge relevance if the BRICS countries created their own and specific mechanisms for scientific cooperation," Paulo Esteves, the director from the BRICS Policy Center in Brazil, tells SciDev.Net.

Yet he says there have still been no discussions about funds for cooperation among the five nations.

"Even the existing bilateral understandings are very timid and ad hoc. The amount of funds is also relatively tiny," says Esteves.

But things may move ahead at a meeting in 2015 in Brazil, at which the BRICS ministers of science and technology have been instructed to sign a memorandum of understanding on science, technology and innovation. This will provide a strategic framework for cooperation.



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