Experts to meet on Brics development bank

6th August 2012 By: Natasha Odendaal - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

More clarity on the establishment of a joint Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa- (Brics-) led development bank is expected after next week’s meeting of a panel of experts on the issue, South African ambassador to Brics Dr Anil Sooklal said on Monday.

Speaking at a South African Institute of International Affairs and University of Pretoria Brics panel discussion, he said that a group of experts from the five countries were expected to meet in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, to outline the requirements of a bank and conceive a possible roadmap to its establishment.

The aim of the meetings, the next of which was to be hosted in South Africa, was to examine what the Brics group of emerging countries collectively hoped to achieve with the bank and how to proceed with the set up.

Finance Ministers from each country were tasked with establishing the bank.

The ‘Brics’ bank, which was expected to be launched at the fifth Brics summit, in South Africa, early next year, would fund development and infrastructure, becoming an alternative to the World Bank and other finance bodies for the Brics counterparts.

ANC treasurer general Mathews Phosa last month commented that it could also act as a platform to improve trade opportunities between the member countries.

Phosa stated that the group of emerging countries were expected to play a significant role as growth drivers in the global economy.

University of Pretoria international political economy senior lecturer Dr Mzukisi Qobo noted that there was no “impressive” rise in intra-Bric trade since South Africa joined Brics, owing to a number of trade barriers and tension among the countries. But, he stressed, it did not suggest these countries could not work together.

The Brics emerging countries were positioned to play an important role in contributing to, besides others, world peace and boosting global economic growth, Sooklal said.

Brics accounted for over 40% of the global population and about 25% of the global gross domestic product.

Sooklal also believed that the commitments – financial or otherwise – made by South Africa would benefit the country in the long term.

Last month, President Jacob Zuma committed $2-billion to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) at the G20 summit, in Mexico. Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa have in total contributed $75-billion to the IMF fund.