Nhlanhla Nene looks at Brics bigger picture

2014-07-17 19:02

Having the headquarters of the new Brics development bank in Shanghai, China, is disappointing but not all is lost, says Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene.

Nene said this is not a complete loss for South Africa because the country will be the first to host the Brazil, Russia, India, China, and SA (Brics) bank’s regional office.

“It is a significant development, not just for the country but for the continent as a whole. South Africa is taking the regional office that will service the continent,” he said.

“We want to believe most of the action will happen here (in Africa), so hosting (the Brics bank) is not the only thing but what the bank is going to do.”

Nene said sub-Saharan Africa is among the fastest growing regions in the world, adding that the regional centre being in Johannesburg will bring economic potential to the continent.

“The bank will mobilise resources for infrastructure investment and sustainable development projects which will include transformational infrastructure projects that allow the region to take forward its regional integration agenda,” he said.

It is because of these infrastructure development needs in Africa that South African officials believe that the country is the best place to host the bank's headquarters.

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies last week said South Africa would motivate at the next Brics summit for the country to host the bank's headquarters because Africa is likely to be the bank’s “prime client”.

“We have indicated our view that South Africa will be a good location for the headquarters of the bank for many reasons, including that the African continent is likely to be a prime client and we already have links and financial relations with practically every other country on the continent,” said Davies.

Meanwhile, Minister of International Relations MaiteNkoana-Mashabane told City Press last year that "we were the first to say we want it (Brics development bank) to be in South Africa and no one else has put their name forward."

She added that South Africa had "very sound financial expertise, an independent foreign policy and we are also situated in a continent where seven of the 10 fastest growing economies are situated."

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