FOLLOWING the recently concluded BRICS Fortaleza Summit in Brazil July 15-16, President Donald Ramotar has disclosed, that while the BRICS Development Bank was conceptualised this initiative reflects the introduction of more options for international funding for Guyana, rather than an intention to sever ties with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Speaking at a press conference on Saturday at State House, the President cited the progress in the high-level meetings between the trading blocs of the Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS) nations and the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR).
BRICS represent almost 3 billion people in the world’s developing or newly industrialised countries, and has a combined nominal Gross Domestic Product of some US$16 Trillion and an estimated US$4 Trillion in combined foreign reserves.
Guyana has been a member of the UNASUR trading bloc since its conceptualisation. The trading bloc comprises 12 of the 13 countries in South America.
According to him, the developments coming out of the summit “will have far reaching effects on the lives of [the] people of Latin America and the Caribbean.”
Such major accomplishments included the decision to establish the much needed development bank especially considering the claims made by some third world countries that the conditionality of IMF and World Bank loans are interventionist in nature.
“This new bank will have an initial authorised capital of US$100B… and an initial subscribed capital of US$50B”, Mr. Ramotar said. He added: “I have no doubt that this bank will play an important complementary role to the other developmental banks that presently exist.”
It was noted in the Associated Press that the President Pro Tempore of UNASUR Desi Bouterse of Suriname, while expressing his support for the BRICS Development Bank stated that the forging of stronger ties with BRICS countries is a step forward for the Region in expanding South-South Cooperation. The Surinamese Government had similarly hurled accusations against western governments for meddling in Suriname’s internal affairs. Guyana had similarly taken such a position.
When questioned on whether Guyana would sever ties with western development banks for the BRICS bank, the President said that he does not see the BRICS bank as an alternative “but as being complementary” that it provides Guyana with more options for acquiring international financing.
While the concept of the BRICS bank has just taken flight, the Head of State remarked that the bank will “assist third world countries with infrastructural development.” He noted that the only concreteness of the idea is in the intention and commitment of industrialising nations that such a financial lending agency is needed.
“Let’s not jump the gun yet!” Ramotar cautioned.
Mr. Ramotar lamented that some Third World countries have faced many challenges to financing important developmental projects; he registered his confidence in the BRICS bank stating, “The new bank was founded with the purpose of mobilising resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging and developing countries.”
He further added that the financial institution will be welcomed by the developing world, since it will “add to the efforts of others to fight against poverty and underdevelopment.”
The President stated that bilateral discussions has seen Guyana sitting in talks with the President of China and the Prime Minister of India, where satisfaction was expressed on current bilateral cooperation with the respective nations.
This was followed by the possibility of examining the playing field for future cooperation and similar types of actions, Mr. Ramotar conclusively noted. “I think that the visit to Brazil can very well bring a lot of benefits to our Region and to other countries as well.”
The Summit was conducted under the theme: “Social Inclusion and Sustainable Development,” and stands as an unprecedented move to establish global economic ties between Guyana, other UNASUR nations and BRICS.
Guyana has benefited immensely from closer bilateral relations with BRICS nations, especially China and India, and the summit will ensure that a stronger network of trade is established amidst qualms of neo-colonialism emerging from the western governments.
(By Derwayne Wills)