Yesterday marked an important day on the BRICS calender. It was the official launch of the African Regional Center (ARC) of the New Development Bank (NDB) in Sandton, Johannesburg. The event was dubbed as a milestone in the country’s history – one that has been on the BRICS agenda for a long time.
Dignitaries in attendance included President Jacob Zuma, Mr Kamath, the President of the New Development Bank, Minister of Finance, Malusi Gigaba, Minister of International Relations and Co-operation, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and Programme Director, Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor.
In an effort to cut costs and to boost strategic alignment and collaboration between South Africa and the NDB, SA’s Director-General of the National Treasury Dondo Mogajane has been appointed as the director of the NDB representing the country.
Below is an extract from the President, Mr Jacob Zuma’s address:
The launch of the Africa Regional Centre of the New Development Bank is a historic occasion as it marks the strengthening of the BRICS formation and also underlines the BRICS commitment to the development of the African continent and emerging markets.
This is a critical milestone not only for South Africa, but for the African continent as a whole. We are thus celebrating it as a shared achievement.
The idea of establishing a new Bank with a new mission and orientation was first discussed in Durban in 2013, when we had the honour of hosting the BRICS forum.
We later agreed to establish a centre in Africa to take care of the important developmental needs of this continent.
The launch of the Africa Regional Centre is testament to our commitment that BRICS and the New Development Bank should benefit not only BRICS countries, but should also benefit the whole of Africa and the developing world as a whole.
This is therefore truly a proud moment which points to a brighter future for the people of our continent and the developing world in general.
Notable achievement in this regard includes the signing the founding agreement of the New Development Bank, which paved the way for the opening of the Bank’s head office in Shanghai, China. The issuance of the first set of loans – amounting to 1,5 billion dollars (approximately 20 billion rands) in total – to fund renewable energy projects in member countries is a significant step forward.
The Bank’s very first green bond issuance in the Chinese capital market, mobilising about 450 million dollars in the process is also noteworthy.
And most recently, the approval of a general strategy that will guide the Bank’s operations in the next five years demonstrates that we are on the right path.