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A New Development Bank

African countries are the latest to back the idea of establishing a development bank led by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

African countries voiced their support for the bank’s creation in the ministerial declaration adopted at end of the Fifth Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Beijing. The bank, they noted, could supplement existing multilateral and regional institutions that finance global growth and development.

A working group jointly established by the BRICS is currently working on feasibility studies for the bank. It is expected to report its findings at the next BRICS summit in South Africa in 2013.

Africa is a likely major destination of aid from the BRICS bank. China, in particular, is keen to maintain a strong presence in the continent. Chinese President Hu Jintao, for one, has pledged to double the amount of loans his country will provide to Africa. The loans will go toward Africa’s infrastructure and agriculture development — as also confirmed by an action plan adopted by African and Chinese leaders at the Beijing meeting.

Other priorities for cooperation outlined in the action plan include enterprise development, trade, tourism, human resources development, health and climate change, and environmental protection.