Johannesburg: South Africa wants the proposed BRICS development bank to be based in the country and hopes this will be sanctioned when leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa meet at a summit in Durban later this month.
President Jacob Zuma had already made a pitch for this during the BRICS Summit in India in March 2012, and according to informed sources, he will be making a strong plea again during this year’s summit.
Senior government officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, were confident that the BRICS heads of state would give the go ahead for the bank to be based in South Africa.
"We were first to say we want (the Brics bank) to be in South Africa, and no one else has put their name forward," an official told the weekly City Press.
"They probably don't want the summit to be a competition for the location," he added.
While also appearing confident about this, South African International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane was more diplomatic in her view: "Ideally, we would be happy if we are given that opportunity. South Africa has very sound financial expertise that has stood the test of time".
The minister cited some of the reasons why the bank should be located in the country.
"We are situated on a continent where seven of the ten fastest growing economies are situated. Every other business entity outside this continent is assured of good returns for their investment.
"We have an independent foreign policy, we are friends with everyone but we do assert our foreign policy without fear or favour. We think we are qualified," the Minister said.
Each partner in the Brics bloc is expected to contribute USD 10 million as seed capital for the BRICS development bank but the bank will also partner with other governments and institutions.
"There will also be a need for the bank to also support projects in Third World countries," Nkoana-Mashabane said.
"You can't say you can't go there because (it) is not a member of Brics, if it makes business sense," he said.