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BRICS development bank opens in Africa
August 28, 2017, 11:38 am

New Development Bank, the multilateral international development bank established by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) inaugurated its first regional center in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Speaking at the inauguration, South African President Jacob Zuma said: “The launch of the Africa Regional Centre of the New Development Bank is a historic occasion as it marks the strengthening of the BRICS formation and also underlines the BRICS commitment to the development of the African continent and emerging markets.

“The launch of the Africa Regional Centre is testament to our commitment that BRICS and the New Development Bank should benefit not only BRICS countries, but should also benefit the whole of Africa and the developing world as a whole.”

 Pointing to some of the challenges faced by nations on the continent, President Zuma said the “biggest challenge is that Africa remains largely un-industrialized with the result that our economies are over exposed to the whims of commodities' markets.”

“Moreover, African countries generally do not have adequate infrastructure interconnections. As a result, we cannot maximize the benefits of regional trade. Worse still, the continent does not have adequate social infrastructure for the provision of basic services such as health and education, and we therefore are not able to significantly improve the living standards of our people,” said the president.

Given these challenges, the African continent has great expectations for NDB, which is positioning itself as an alternative development funder to compete with traditional multi-laterals like the IMF and World Bank. The expectation is that the new Africa Regional Centre will contribute to accelerating infrastructure investment in energy, transport, water and other productive sectors in nations across Africa.

“We would like to see an office that is geared towards fulfilling the New Development Bank's founding objectives. These are to foster the development of member countries, support economic growth, promote and facilitate job creation and to build a knowledge sharing platform among developing countries, said President Zuma.

He added, “This new Bank will enable continued fruitful cooperation with our global partners, which will help us promote sustainable development through integration, industrialization and infrastructure development on the continent.”

With an authorized lending of up to $34 billion annually, the primary focus of the Shanghai, China-headquartered New Development Bank (NDB) is on lending to infrastructure and sustained development projects in the public or private domains through loans, guarantees, equity participation and other financial instruments. The bank will also establish an extensive network of global partnerships with other multilateral development institutions and national development banks in a bid to contribute to nationally established development projects that are socially, environmentally and economically sustainable.


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