Ris­ing pow­ers con­sider al­ter­na­tive to World Bank, oth­ers

The Washington Times Daily - - World - BY KATY DAIGLE

NEW DELHI | De­vel­op­ing na­tions again seem un­likely to pro­pel one of their own cit­i­zens into the World Bank pres­i­dency.

It might not mat­ter. A group of ris­ing pow­ers is mulling its own al­ter­na­tive to Western-dom­i­nated lend­ing in­sti­tu­tions.

The pro­posal for a new de­vel­op­ment bank is one of many to be dis­cussed by the five fast-grow­ing na­tions known as BRICS when they meet for their fourth sum­mit Thurs­day in New Delhi.

Brazil, Rus­sia, In­dia, China and South Africa ac­count for 45 per­cent of the world’s pop­u­la­tion and a quar­ter of the econ­omy at $13.5 tril­lion.

In­creas­ingly cru­cial for world growth as flag­ging Western economies skimp on im­ports and aid, the BRICS have long ar­gued for more in­flu­ence in and re­form of Western in­sti­tu­tions.

Such or­ga­ni­za­tions for decades have dom­i­nated global aid and trade pol­icy but made patchy progress in meet­ing goals such as erad­i­cat­ing poverty.

Pres­i­dent Obama’s decision last week to con­tinue the tra­di­tion of nom­i­nat­ing an Amer­i­can as World Bank chief — over can­di­dates from other na­tions the BRICS had wanted — may add to mo­men­tum for a new al­ter­na­tive.

A new in­ter­na­tional lender could ri­val the World Bank and Asian De­vel­op­ment Bank, which fo­cus on lend­ing to poor na­tions to help speed their de­vel­op­ment and re­duce poverty.

It’s un­clear if it also could par­tic­i­pate in bail­ing out coun­tries in cri­sis — a func­tion that’s largely the do­main of the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund.

“If they can pool their re­sources and co­or­di­nate their aid strate­gies, then they will be far more pow­er­ful,” said Sreeram Chau­lia, world pol­i­tics an­a­lyst at Jin­dal School of In­ter­na­tional Af­fairs just out­side Delhi. “By float­ing a bank, they are strate­giz­ing and clearly play­ing for the long run.”

But ex­perts cau­tioned that a lack of unity in for­eign pol­icy could un­der­mine their goal. They failed to unite be­hind a sin­gle World Bank can­di­date, which might have helped their cause.

“They have to get their act to­gether po­lit­i­cally,” Mr. Chau­lia said. “It is much more chal­leng­ing to form a col­lec­tive se­cu­rity agenda.”

What the five BRICS na­tions have in com­mon, how­ever, is a fo­cus on erad­i­cat­ing poverty, se­cur­ing food and en­ergy sup­plies, de­vel­op­ing in­fra­struc­ture and gain­ing new tech­nolo­gies. They also may talk about a com­mon po­si­tion on cli­mate change.

In­dia is home to a third of the world’s poor, while Jo­han­nes­burg is seen as a door to Africa’s largely un­tapped mar­ket of 1 bil­lion peo­ple. All of the BRICS want to bol­ster high-tech sec­tors and af­ford­able health care.

China, which is seek­ing to ad­vance the use of its yuan cur­rency world­wide, thinks the bank could of­fer de­vel­op­ing na­tions more say in how funds are in­vested in emerg­ing economies, Chi­nese For­eign Min­istry of­fi­cial Li Kexin said, ac­cord­ing to the Hindu news­pa­per.

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