News / Africa

BRICS Leaders Optimistic About New Development Bank

Indian PM Manmohan Singh, Chinese President Xi Jinping, South African President Jacob Zuma, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and Russian President Vladimir Putin applaud at a family photo session during the fifth BRICS Summit in Durban, March 27, 2013.
Indian PM Manmohan Singh, Chinese President Xi Jinping, South African President Jacob Zuma, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and Russian President Vladimir Putin applaud at a family photo session during the fifth BRICS Summit in Durban, March 27, 2013.
Anita Powell
Leaders of the five nations that make up the BRICS bloc say they are ready to lay the foundation for a new international development bank. 

Their countries' economies account for more than 25 percent of the world’s GDP, but lag far behind developed nations in terms of infrastructure.  Africa lags even further behind, and could need up to $200 billion worth of infrastructure over the next two decades.

That is what has prompted the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa to call for a new development bank.

"It's an opportunity for, not just South Africa, but all of the BRICS countries, to try to cover the deficit between huge demands for infrastructure financing on the one hand and adequacy of funds that can be invested in infrastructure," said South Africa's finance minister, Pravin Gordhan, during a speech in Durban Tuesday night. " If we probably take all of our needs and take the African continent as well, we're probably talking about 2 trillion rand - dollars, over a period of time."

The nations have also said that they hope the BRICS development bank will serve as a counterweight to powerful international lenders like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.  Officials have estimated the bank will start with coffers of about $50 billion.

South African President Jacob Zuma did not release many details about the bank, as expected. Instead he said the group had decided to "enter formal negotiations" to establish the bank.

That does not surprise financial analysts like Simon Freemantle of South Africa's Standard Bank - who says there are many issues to be sorted out over time - such as location of the bank.  

"I don't think it's going to imminently be set up, headquartered in one of the countries, start extending loans - I think we're some way off that," he said.

Steve Price-Thomas, a strategy manager for humanitarian group Oxfam, says he hopes the development bank remembers the poor.  More than half of the world’s poor, he said, live in BRICS countries.

"It’s absolutely essential that the BRICS bank put poverty reduction and inequality reduction at the center of its mission.  So it’s a welcome development, but we’ll be looking to make sure that it has that clear poverty focus," he said.

Bloc members also agreed to push for domestic and international reforms - but fell short of releasing a strong statement on the violence in Syria.

South African billionaire Patrice Motsepe was also on Wednesday appointed chairman of the BRICS Business Council, and said he was excited about the possibility of using the council to champion small business.

You May Like

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid