BRICS summit to focus on development bank

The BRICS Nations summit in Durban in 2013 will have a focus on the creation of a South-South bank. Will China baulk at progress, citing concerns over political differences — or will President Hu Jintao’s promise to double loans to Africa help bolster support?

Earlier last week it was revealed that establishing a South-South development bank will be a primary concern during the upcoming BRICS summit in Durban in 2013.

Speaking at a panel discussion at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa’s Deputy Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Marius Fransman said that if a BRICS South-South bank were to be established, it would be a major boost to South Africa’s developmental needs.

Boosting job creation and fortifying the domestic economy are two of South Africa’s top concerns, and Mr. Fransman was keen to emphasise the importance of establishing strong economic opportunities between South Africa and its BRICS nations partners.

There has been some worry that China’s concerns that the feasibility of such multilateral institutions being successful may prove to be a spanner in the works. Wang Jianye, the Chief Economist at the EXIM Bank of China put emphasis on the importance of any BRICS South-South bank being “as simple and non-political as possible [to] reduce the risk of turf fighting”.

This comes soon after Chinese President Hu Jintao pledged to double the annual amount of loans China provides to African countries, including South Africa. The creation of a South-South bank would help prioritise spending for developmental projects, especially ones focused on enterprise, infrastructure and human resources.

While officials from both China and South Africa acknowledged that there was pressure to produce a concrete proposal for the 2013 summit, South Africa’s Ambassador to China Dr. Bheki Langa was warned that it was important countries avoided “dwelling too long on planning” and instead focused on “prioritising the most important deliverables”.

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