The launch of the Brics New Development Bank would change global development finance, said Eskom’s Brian Molefe on Thursday.
“They will talk about global development finance before and after Ufa,” said Molefe, acting CEO of South Africa’s power utility and head of the nation’s section of the Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) Business Council.
“The most important decision is that the idea of the bank has progressed significantly,” he said, “Failure is no longer an option.”
The New Development Bank, launched during the Ufa Russia 2015 Brics/SCO (Shanghai Co-operation Organisation) Summit on Tuesday, would be based in Beijing. The first regional bank would be launched in South Africa.
Molefe called the signing of a declaration by the business councils which would lay the groundwork for how business communities co-operate a “very important development”.
The councils did not offically discuss China’s slowing economy and concerns about the nose-dive its stock markets have taken. .
However, Molefe touched on the subject: “It is important to note that this could have happened in any one of the Brics countries.”
He said that the setting up of the New Development Bank aimed to provide countries with a pool of reserves for times of economic distress.
“We thought about developing this ahead of the problems,” said Molefe, adding that in future, Brics nations would be better prepared to deal with relevant challenges.
Joining Molefe in the press briefing in Ufa were the heads of their respective business council sections: Russia’s Sergey Katyrin, Brazil’s Jose Rubens and India’s Onkar Singh Kanwar.
Katyrin said although decisions had not yet been made regarding easing visa regulations, other member states could match South Africa’s commitment to giving long-term visas to business people.
In his address to the council, President Jacob Zuma had urged fellow Brics members to consider introducing similar measures to create a unified visa regime within the bloc.
“I am also proud to announce that in 2014, in an attempt to expedite the creation of business to business linkages, the South African department of Home Affairs announced a ten-year multiple entry visa regime for Brics business travellers,” he said.
“I hope this intervention will enable you, the Captains of Industry, to engage in a process of continuous and sustainable dialogue amongst yourselves and give credence to the true spirit of Brics in the commercial sense.
“Within this context, I implore our fellow Brics members to consider similar measures that will ensure an introduction of a harmonised visa regime amongst us as Brics members.”
India’s Kanwar told the media it was important that Brics put the individual strengths of each member nation to the service of the collective.
“We need the strengths of each country and we need to leverage them,” he said. “In China they have manufacturing, Russia has military strength, Brazil agriculture, and South Africa’s strength is mining.”
Kanwar added that the West were doing “very badly” and as such, the Brics nations had the opportunity to show their collective strength and “lift global economies”.
These and additional proposals made by the business council and its relevant sections would, as was earlier stated by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, be considered by all heads of state during the two-day summit.