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BRICS bank to up its lending to SA, plans to issue rand bonds

Apr 02 2019 07:57
Carin Smith

The New Development Bank, also known as the BRICS Bank, sees various opportunities in South Africa and will scale up its projects over time, according to its president, KV Kamath.

On the first day of the bank's 4th annual meeting in Cape Town - the first time the meeting has been hosted in SA - Kamath said the bank had already given SA assistance of about $1.5bn.

There is a "fair pipeline" for the rest of the year, expected to total about $2.3bn for the country. "We believe in what we can do for SA," he said.

Kamath said the bank is fully operational in all its member countries, namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. It only gives loans to member countries.

The next BRICS Summit will take place in Brazil towards the end of the year, where announcements regarding the possible expansion of members of the NDB could be made. Currently, only BRICS member countries are shareholders of the NDB.

The bank, established in 2014, has $5bn of capital derived from its members. It has so far approved 30 loans, 17 of which were approved last year, to a value of $4.6bn.

Earlier in the day, governors of the bank had also suggested it was time for BRICS to expand its membership.

Rand loans 'imminent'

In response to a question, Kamath said the bank plans to issue bonds in local currencies in South Africa, Russia and India in 2019. This is separate from bonds that have already been issued in the local currency in China.

According to Kamath, being able to issue loans in rand is "imminent". The BRICS bank is, therefore, looking to list a rand bond on the JSE this year.

"We are a bank set up by developing countries. We are here to listen and learn and do what is required by our members," he said, adding that the bank's focus is on sustainable infrastructure initiatives, as well as vocational training, to prepare young people for the 4th Industrial Revolution.

So far, the NDB has given two loans to Eskom, totalling about $600m. Kamath emphasised this was not funding for coal-fired power stations.

banking  |  world economy  |  brics


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