BRICS Bank invites new members as Saudi Arabia looks to join

The New Development Bank, the lender created by the BRICS group of nations, will widen its membership as it seeks to boost its capital and counter the influence of Western-dominated multilat-eral banks.

The lender — formed by Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa — will look at increasing the diversity of its members in terms of geography, development stages and on the size of the countries, Dilma Rousseff, the bank’s president, said at its annual meeting in Shanghai on Tuesday.

Saudi Arabia is the latest to discuss joining the bank, the Financial Times has reported, a move that would give the lender more financial muscle. The bank was created in 2014 as a counter-weight to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

The bank’s membership is open to any country within the United Nations. Bangladesh and the UAE became members in 2021, while Egypt joined in February. Uruguay is a prospective member, according to the NDB’s website.

Rousseff, Brazil’s former president, said the new members would contribute resources to the bank to support the diversification of its portfolio and increase its capacity to mobilize funds.

“As a former president of a developing country I know how important multilateral banks are, and how much of a challenge it is to obtain finance or to raise funds on the scale needed to address social and economic challenges in our countries,” she said.

Rousseff said the bank would finance more projects in local currencies in order to strengthen domestic markets and protect its borrowers from the risk of currency fluctuations. Members have currencies that are not fully convertible within the current architecture, she said, and the economies of the global south suffer the impact of sudden fluctuations in their exchange rates.

China’s Vice Premier Ding Xuexiang, speaking at the NDB’s meeting earlier on Tuesday, said he hoped the bank will continue to invite more partners for cooperation, use more resources to support the development of emerging nations, and focus on infrastructure spending.

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