Brisbane. – At the recently concluded G20 summit in Australia China and South Africa emphasised the importance of speeding up creation of the BRICS development bank as an alternative to western-dominated institutions.
The treaty establishing the $50 billion New Development Bank to finance infrastructure was signed at July’s BRICS summit in Brazil. The BRICS leaders met in Brisbane on the sidelines of the G20. All BRICS nations—Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa—are members of the G20.
China’s vice finance minister Zhu Guangyao said BRICS leaders agreed that the ratification process should be completed as quickly as possible. South African finance minister Nhlanhla Nene told Moneyweb that the process should move faster now that Brazil’s presidential elections are over. He said the target for completing ratification is April 2015. South Africa has not yet ratified the bank treaty and Nene did not say when it would be presented to parliament.
The BRICS nations also called for the IMF to consider alternative options if the United States fails to ratify the voting share reforms agreed to in 2010. The US, the Fund’s dominant shareholder, is the only IMF member that has not yet approved the reforms.
Nene said US President Barack Obama told the G20 he will do all he can to get congress to approve the IMF reforms. He blamed the holdup on his political opponents.
President Jacob Zuma told the G20 summit that South Africa’s National Development Plan is a key element of his country’s pledge to boost economic growth by 2% above trend forecasts over the next five years. Zuma spoke for seven minutes on particulars of the NDP, emphasizing the priority of balanced growth in which the private plays a leading role.
Nene endorsed the current board of South African Airways and said government awaits a credible strategic plan. No injection of government money, he said, is currently needed.
The finance minister dismissed speculation that a nuclear power deal with Russia is imminent, saying no budgetary outlays for new nuclear plants are expected over the next five years.