Leaders give Brics bank green light

Brics leaders will still discuss the finer details of a development bank, but have agreed to its principle.

President Jacob Zuma during a media briefing ahead of the 5th BRICS Summit at the Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guest House in Pretoria. Picture: Siya Duda/GCIS

DURBAN - Leaders of the world's most powerful developing countries have given the green light to form a development bank, which will be a counterweight to existing financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

The bank's formation has largely been described as the crowning achievement of the fifth Brics summit currently underway in Durban.

The Brics bank will finance infrastructural development and in agreeing on its formation, the emerging economies group has moved from rhetoric to action.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan declared yesterday that, "It's done".

But his Russian counterpart Anton Siluanov says they will meet next month to see who puts up the proposed US$100 billion seed money and how contributions will be determined.

The World Bank has also declared its readiness to support the proposed development bank.


Meanwhile, besieged Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has urged members of the Brics grouping to appeal for peace in his country at their summit in Durban.

Human rights organisations are furiously lobbying to have the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa condemn Assad's government for turning its guns on its own people.

At least two Brics members, Russia and China, have shown support for al-Assad's regime.

Although indications at the summit are that he will be disappointed, the Syrian leader is hoping to get support from all five countries in the grouping.

After his bilateral meeting with his South Africa counterpart Jacob Zuma yesterday, Russian president Vladimir Putin was asked if he would support a United Nations Security Council Resolution allowing humanitarian aid directly over the border to Syria.

Instead of issuing an outright rejection, the Russian leader replied in English and said, "We'll think about it".


Finally, Denel Aviation CEO Mike Kgobe says it has reached agreement with a Russian helicopter company for a joint maintenance agreement on the African continent.

"We have identified a gap in the market in terms of a capability to support Russian helicopters that are flying in the continent."

The fifth Brics summit is being hosted in Durban this week, under the theme "Brics and Africa: Partnership for Development, Integration and Industrialisation."