BRICS to focus on development bank

Last Updated 24 March 2013, 20:18 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will leave for Durban on Monday to attend the fifth BRICS summit, which is expected to witness the five-nation-bloc moving closer to set up a new South-South Development Bank.

The summit in Durban will also see the BRICS – a grouping of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – setting up its own business council and a consortium of think-tanks of five countries, apart from signing a multilateral cooperation and co-financing agreement for sustainable development.

Singh will also have his first bilateral meeting with the new Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sideline of the BRICS summit in the South African city. He will have similar bilateral meetings with President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil, President Vladimir Putin of Russia and President Jacob Zuma of South Africa.

India last year mooted the idea of setting up a new South–South Development Bank, which would be mainly funded and managed by the BRICS countries and would recycle surpluses into investment in developing countries for infrastructure and sustainable development project.

The BRICS leaders considered the proposal during the fourth summit held in New Delhi and directed the finance ministers of the five countries to set up a joint working group and to examine the feasibility and viability of the new bank. The finance ministers were asked to report back to the leaders at the fifth summit, which is now set to be held on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The officials and banking experts of the five countries had been discussing the technical details of proposal to set up the new bank and the latest meeting was held in Moscow on the sidelines of G-20 meetings in February.

Finance Minister P Chidambaram will have a meeting with his counterparts from Russia, China, Brazil and South Africa in Durban on Monday. They are expected to finalise the report on the proposal to set up the new development bank and present it before the leaders to be discussed during the summit on Tuesday and Wednesday.

While several issues related to the proposed new development financing bank are yet to be discussed and decided upon, the ‘eThekwini Declaration’ to be adopted after the summit in Durban is expected to not only list the progresses made so far, but also refer to the tasks ahead.

Moscow is understood to have proposed that each of the five countries should contribute $ 10 billion, so that the new bank could be launched with a starting capital of $ 50 billion.
The fifth BRICS summit in Durban is also likely to see the development banks of the five countries signing a multilateral infrastructure co-financing agreement for Africa. The summit will be followed by a BRICS-Africa Dialogue Forum on Wednesday.

(Published 24 March 2013, 20:18 IST)

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