South Africa Finance Minister Emphasizes Strategic Significance of BRICS Development Bank

Within only hours after his return from the sixth BRICS summit in Brazil, South African Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene underscored the strategic significance of the BRICS New Development Bank, according to a report in the South African publication Engineering News. He characterized the New Development Bank as the “most exciting development in global development finance since the meetings in Bretton Woods … some 70 years ago.” The latter-mentioned meeting led to the creation of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. Nene said the BRICS bank will “be an alternative source of financing for the global development challenges of our age.”

Nene said he is optimistic that the bank’s first commitment will be for an African infrastructure project, adding that the BRICS bank will fund “transformational infrastructure projects that allow the region to take forward its regional integration agenda.” He asserted that “what is important is what the bank is going to do and what the benefits are for the country [South Africa] and the [African] continent in particular.”

He noted that the lack of infrastructure stands in the way of African development, and stated that Africa has to invest in the range of $100 billion per year to overcome that problem: “If you take account of the infrastructure needs of the continent, I would want to believe that most of the activity [of the bank] is actually going to be here [in Africa].”

Nene also said that there is a “great sense of urgency” for all the BRICS countries to create the national legislative frameworks necessary for the bank to operate.

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