The 11th BRICS Science, Technology and Innovation Ministerial Meeting was held in Gqeberha, South Africa, on August 3-4, 2023. The theme of the meeting is “BRICS and Africa: Enabling inclusive and sustainable development in a changing world through knowledge partnerships”. The meeting was chaired by Dr. Blade Nzimande, South African Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation. Valery Falkov, Minister of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation, and Inacio Arruda, Vice Minister of Science and Technology for Social Development of the Federative Republic of Brazil, attended and addressed the meeting. Dr. Jitendra Singh, India’s Minister for Science and Technology, delivered a video message for the meeting.
Minister Wang Zhigang led the Chinese delegation to attend the meeting. He introduced the development of science, technology and innovation (STI) and open cooperation in China and put forward suggestions for BRICS countries’ STI cooperation in his speech. He also stressed that the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology would like to work with South Africa and other BRICS partners to expand partnerships with other developing countries, including African nations. He highlighted the importance of implementing the outcomes and consensus of previous BRICS leaders‘ meetings, deepening STI cooperation among BRICS countries, promoting open and innovative growth, enhancing personnel exchanges and mutual learning, consolidating the positive momentum of BRICS mechanisms, and advancing BRICS cooperation toward higher quality. The goal is to share more innovation achievements globally, enhance people’s well-being, and establish a model of cooperation within the BRICS community.
After the meeting, the ministers endorsed the Gqeberha Declaration and BRICS STI Calendar of Activities 2023-2024. The two documents reaffirmed the prioritized areas of cooperation based on common interests, and recognized the importance of further embracing the BRICS spirit of openness, inclusiveness and mutually beneficial cooperation, enhancing solidarity and coordination as well as jointly tackling the challenges with a view to further consolidating the BRICS STI partnership. They acknowledged the progress achieved in BRICS countries‘ STI cooperation over the past year. The documents also encouraged BRICS countries to collaborate in applying artificial intelligence technology to address challenges related to poverty reduction, food safety, public health, sustainable development, and energy transition. They also mapped out a vision for the future STI cooperation.
During the trip in South Africa, Minister Wang met with the Minister of Higher Education, Science, and Innovation of South Africa, the Minister of Science and Higher Education of Russia, and the Deputy Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation of Brazil, aimed at promoting bilateral and multilateral cooperation within the BRICS community. Minister Wang also visited the South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and the University of Mandela.