A new US$100 billion international bank dedicated to the emerging “BRICS” countries opened in China’s commercial hub Shanghai yesterday, officials said, as an alternative to other multilateral lenders.
The “New Development Bank” (NDB), backed by the so-called emerging BRICS nations, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, has been viewed as a challenge to Washington-based institutions.
The NDB’s Web site explicitly describes it as an “alternative to the existing US-dominated World Bank and International Monetary Fund” which is to address needs for infrastructure and sustainable development. It comes as Beijing — which is seeking a greater role on the global political stage to mirror its rise to become the world’s second-largest economy — is also setting up a separate Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
Chinese Minister of Finance Lou Jiwei (樓繼偉) played down the competitive aspect.
“The NDB will supplement the existing international financial system in a healthy way and explore innovations in governance models,” he told the NDB’s opening ceremony in Shanghai, as quoted by Xinhua news agency.
The bank says on its Web site that it will have authorized capital of US$100 billion, with US$50 billion paid in initially.
Xinhua quoted NDB president K. V. Kamath, formerly a private banker in India, as saying the institution’s management was “working on initiation of operations,” including “making business policy” and “developing project preparations.”
Operations would begin late this year or early next year, he added.
The opening comes two weeks after a BRICS summit hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Moscow — which has suffered huge currency fluctuations and struggled to attract investors since the outbreak of the crisis in Ukraine — sees the bank and a BRICS currency reserve pool as alternative global financial institutions.
At the time of the summit, Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov said in a statement that BRICS “illustrates a new polycentric system of international relations” demonstrating the increasing influence of “new centers of power.”
The BRICS nations, which represent 40 percent of the world’s population, formally agreed to establish the bank at a meeting in Brazil in July last year.
The World Bank said it hopes to work with the newcomer.
“We are committed to working closely with the New Development Bank and other multilateral institutions, offering to share our knowledge and to co-finance infrastructure projects,” World Bank president Jim Yong Kim said in a statement.
The regionally focused Asian Development Bank also said it would “look forward” to working with the NDB.
Chinese analysts denied the BRICS bank was aimed at challenging other multilateral agencies.
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