South Africa to lobby to host Brics bank


14 July 2014

South Africa will put forward a strong case at this week’s Brics summit in Brazil for the proposed Brics development bank to be located in Johannesburg, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said on Friday.

Briefing journalists in Cape Town ahead of the summit, which takes place in Fortaleza and Brasilia from Monday to Wednesday, Davies said South Africa had indicated its readiness to offer Johannesburg as a host domicile for the bank.

“We think that from a point of view of the functioning of the institution, with some of its key roles, funding infrastructure and investing in the African continent, the bank being located in South Africa is going to be a huge advantage from the point of view of the advocacy of the bank.

“It is not limited to that,” Davies added. “We do of course have the connections, the facilities and the ability to run an institution that deals with places other than the African continent … But our prime motivation and our prime argument is in terms of being able to play that role in an optimal manner.”

At the fifth Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) summit in Durban last year, the leaders of the five countries instructed their finance ministers to work on technical details around the setting up of the bank, which will spearhead infrastructure development in Brics member states and other developing nations.

Earlier this week, International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said the issue of the venue for the bank was be on the summit’s agenda, adding that the five countries’ finance ministers would meet before the summit to finalise the recommendations for the leaders.

Davies said on Friday that, contrary to some media reports, no decision had been taken on the location of the Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) development bank.

“It has been agreed by the heads of state that any decision on the location of the bank will be taken by them. Anybody who says there is a decision … is simply speculating.”

On a separate note, Davies said a study that was commissioned by South Africa would be tabled at the meeting of Brics trade ministers next week. The study proposes that value-added trade investment cooperation takes place between the Brics countries.

Another report on discussions that has taken place around international investment agreements will also be tabled. Davies said there was a rethink of the way in which international investment agreements were structured, and the report was informed by this.

However, he would not elaborate further on either report, as he did not want to preempt discussions at next week’s meeting.

Davies said the Brics Business Council, which was launched at the Durban summit, would table its own report on how the Brics governments could make it easier for Brics business people to do business with each other.

The council, headed by billionaire businessman Patrice Motsepe, would also discuss trade opportunities that Brics business people can explore, he said.