BRICS Nations Call for Shared Development Bank

Posted March 29th, 2012 at 8:50 am (UTC-5)
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Leaders from the world's five largest developing economies — the so-called BRICS — are moving toward the formation of a shared development bank.

The five-nation bloc consisting of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa wrapped up its summit Thursday in New Delhi with calls for a more representative international financial structure.

Indian Prime Minister Mahmohan Singh, who hosted the one-day summit, says the countries are moving closer to a key step in promoting mutual investment — a development bank funded and managed by the BRICS and other developing countries.

Rajiv Biswas, chief economist for IHS Global Insight in Singapore, told VOA Thursday such a bank could help offset some effects of the European debt crisis.

“I don't think it necessarily has to be competing with the World Bank. I think, at the moment, the issue is having sufficient funding for the rapid growth in developing countries in terms of trade and investment at a time when most of the concerns about the deleveraging going on in the European banking system.”

The BRICS countries represent 40 percent of the world's population. The bank would provide mutual credit and investment opportunities for members and other developing nations without having to depend on Western institutions.

In their joint declaration at the end of the summit, the BRICS leaders also strongly criticized monetary policy in Western countries. The leaders say the policies — slashing interest rates and infusing cash into the banking system — may revitalize developed economies, but they also create problems for emerging economies.

Export-import banks from the five nations signed a separate deal making it easier for the countries to trade with each other in their own local currencies.

The leaders also addressed the Iran nuclear crisis, calling for a diplomatic resolution to avoid further escalation.

Meanwhile, protests against Chinese-rule in Tibet cast a shadow over Thursday's fourth annual BRICS summit.

Tibetans who live in India along with their exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, took to the streets of New Delhi this week to air their grievances against Chinese rule. The issue is one that India and China pointedly avoid in all their public discussions.

Security was tight as leaders of China, Russia, Brazil and South Africa arrived in India this week. And Indian police have taken dozens of Tibetan exiles into protective custody in the city.

On Thursday, one small group of Tibetan exiles did manage to briefly unfurl a Tibetan flag near the hotel where Chinese President Hu Jintao was staying. The demonstrators were arrested.