When president Jacob Zuma left for the Brics summit in New Delhi, India, in March last year, he had with him a letter of support from fellow African leaders that contained a message: Bring us back a bank.
This week, International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane told City Press she upped the pressure on Zuma to ensure the Brics development bank is situated on African soil.
She said: “(The location of the bank) is the small assignment we’ve given to President Zuma. Just that one. This is the only element we’ve elevated upstairs.”
She doesn’t want to give the game away, but senior government officials say
the summit will give the go-ahead for the Brics development bank and it will be based in South Africa.
One said: “We were first to say we want it to be in South Africa, and no one else has put their name forward. They probably don’t want the summit to be a competition for the location.”
Nkoana-Mashabane was more cautious, saying: “Ideally, we would be happy if we are given that opportunity. South Africa has very sound financial expertise that stood the test f time.”
But she has her pitch ready for why South Africa deserves it: “We are also situated on a continent where seven of the 10 fastest growing economies are situated.
“Every other business entity outside this continent is assured of good returns
for their investment. As you and I are sitting here, there is $2.5?trillion (about R29?trillion in minerals.
“We have an independent foreign policy, we are friends with everyone but we do assert our foreign policy without fear or favour. We think we are qualified.”
The Brics development bank would get seed capital to the tune of $10?million from each Brics member, but will be willing to partner with other institutions or governments.
The minister said: “There will be a need for the bank to also support projects in Third World countries, you can’t say you can’t go there because country A, let’s say DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo) for example, is not a member of Brics, if it makes business sense.”
At the Brics summit in Durban later this month, member country leaders will have a short retreat with African leaders.
Nkoana-Mashabane denies that bringing fellow Africans to the Brics party is an attempt to roll back any negative aspects which may have resulted from the race for Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to become chairperson of the African Union Commission.
“We ran a very positive campaign – not once did we ever rubbish any country, never did we sound hegemonic, pulling our weight around. So there’s no baggage that we had to go back to,” said the minister