19 March 2013
Experts from the BRICS group of countries have given their backing to the creation of a BRICS development bank, as well as an alternative to Western rating agencies for educational institutions, says the executive director of Russia’s National Committee for BRICS studies, Georgy Toloraya.
The fifth Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) summit will take place in Durban next week.
Officials from the five countries met in Durban over a weekend earlier this month for a workshop aimed at mapping out a long-term strategy for a mooted consortium of BRICS think tanks.
The experts held three days of sessions in the run-up to the summit, where they agree to establish a council of think tanks and to “support the idea of a BRICS bank”, Toloraya said last week.
Toloraya said the first phase such a financial institution would serve as a centre of analysis.
“We use World Bank and International Monetary Fund statistics and analytical reports all the time, as we have no such instruments of our own. A future BRICS Investment Bank is seen as a mechanism that would help realize where money should go, agree development strategies and coordinate investment,” Toloraya said.
The experts also speculated that the BRICS countries might conclude preferential trade agreements. “It will not be a free trade zone yet, but a first step towards it. Settlements in national currencies are not ruled out,” Toloraya said
The recommendation to create a BRICS rating agency for educational establishments has similar reasons behind it.
“None of our universities is high on the Western rating lists. In the meantime, the Silicon Valley in the United States is crowded with Russians,” Toloraya said, adding that Western university ratings relied on publications in Western magazines and on Western awards.
“Such an agency would be rather easy to set up. When we know how we rate ourselves, possibly students will decide to go to study in Russia or elsewhere, and not in the United States,” he said.
Toloraya sees the BRICS grouping as an “intellectual project for formulating new rules of global co-existence”.
An association of countries located on four continents was “an alliance of civilizations which will never develop into a military bloc,” he said. “BRICS is an elite project, an attempt by rising powers to safeguard their interests together.
“BRICS is a civilized attempt at coming to terms as to what a future world order should be. It is not accidental that the group’s participants are advocates of non-interference in internal affairs and of the rule of international law.”