Summit ‘to finalise BRICS bank structure’

16 January 2013

Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa are likely to finalise the structure for a BRICS-led development bank at the fifth BRICS summit taking place in Durban in March, delegates were told at a preparatory media workshop in Pretoria on Tuesday.

The bank is part of a strategy agreed to at last year’s BRICS summit in New Delhi to look at long-term investment opportunities within the countries making up the grouping.

It is envisaged that the bank would provide pooled funds for targeted infrastructure projects and key sectors, while supporting and driving increased commerce between the BRICS and other emerging economies.

Although multilateral institutions such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) already perform a similar function, BRICS countries say the new bank would not compete with these but rather supplement them, especially in developing countries.

The seed capital for the bank is projected to be US$50-billion or more, making it about $10-billion per member country.

‘Political will’ to have the bank

The director-general in the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, Jerry Matjila, told delegates at Tuesday’s workshop that there was political will among the group to have the bank.

Pretoria is lobbying to host the bank, if it does get off the ground.

South Africa has placed emphasis on the integrity of its banking system, which Matjila described as “modern and predictable”. South Africa co-chaired the preparatory work on the bank together with India.

Meanwhile, preparations for the Durban summit are in full swing. The theme for the summit, which runs from 25 to 27 March, is “Partnership for Development, Integration and Industrialisation”.

The department’s deputy director-general for Asia, Middle East and BRICS, Anil Sooklal, said it was all systems go for the logistics of the summit.

About 3 000 delegates and officials, including the presidents and prime ministers of the five countries, will attend.

In a first for BRICS, high-level representatives of Africa’s regional economic blocs and the African Union (AU) have also been invited to attend.