No consensus on details of Brics bank

The five-nation Brics Summit has closed with an agreement to push ahead with the creation of a development bank but failed to reach consensus on the details.

The two-day meeting, preceded by bilateral meetings between South Africa and several other member states, saw its leaders also committing to agreements in green technology and setting up a multinational think tank to back combined projects.

While leaders had been hopeful that the finance ministers tasked last year with looking at how the bank would work, its budget and its area of operation, would reach an agreement, but this did not happen.

Instead, leaders signed off on the Brics bank process after being unable to reach consensus on the content.

This despite assurances Thursday by South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan that enough progress had been struck around the institution.

Issues of breakdown apparently included where the bank would be based; whether voting rights would be proportional to contribution or through consensus and the size of the bank’s budget.

The idea of the Brics bank was first mooted at the last summit in New Delhi, India, last year and the five nations’ foreign ministers were tasked with working out the detail. It is understood they will meet again on the sidelines of the next G20 meeting in St Petersburg, Russia, in September.

South African president Jacob Zuma told the single open session of the summit that the five nations had committed to “formal negotiations to establish a Brics bank’’.

The five heads of state will this afternoon hold a retreat at Zimbali north of Durban where they will meet with leaders of 15 African states mobilised by South Africa to both back and work with the Brics bloc.

Russian President Vladimir Putin emphasised the need for the Brics nations to use their combined muscle to push the reform of multilateral institutions like the IMF and the UN Security Council to ensure “democracy’’ and “better balance in the global economy’’.

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