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BRICS lender banks on sustainable development

By Wu Yiyao in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2017-08-22 07:26

The Board of Governors of the New Development Bank, formed by the ministers of finance of the BRICS nations, intends to approve at least $32 billion in loans by 2021, according to the bank's general strategy for 2017-21.

BRICS lender banks on sustainable development

Paulo Nogueira Batista, vice-president and chief risk officer of the NDB. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Paulo Nogueira Batista, vice-president and chief risk officer of the NDB, said that the loans include a number of projects growing from 15 in 2017 to 50 in 2021.

"In a more ambitious scenario, the NDB may approve around $45 billion in this period, reaching 75 projects in 2021. This is an already significant volume for a bank that will have completed only six years at end of the period covered by the strategy of the bank," said Batista.

The NDB was founded by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa-the BRICS countries-during the fifth BRICS Summit in Fortaleza, Brazil, in July 2014, and was launched in 2015.

The NDB issued a three-billion-yuan ($449.8 million) green financial bond last year. So far, it has approved seven projects in BRICS countries.

The central idea behind these plans is that the bank is in the process of creating a new multilateral institution, according to Batista.

"People may ask what is new about the New Development Bank. One of the most important aspects is the focus on sustainable infrastructure development," he said.

Around two-third of the loans the NDB will take to its board for approval in the period from 2017 to 2021 will be for sustainable infrastructure development. This is the key target of the bank's strategy.

According to the NDB, sustainable infrastructure incorporates sustainability criteria from design to operation, not only economic and financial, but also social and environmental.

Even in traditional infrastructure projects, the NDB will apply social and environmental requirements to control adverse negative effects on social groups and the environment.

In the case of sustainable infrastructure, however, the difference is that the projects supported by the NDB will go beyond mere mitigation of side effects.

The key objective of sustainable infrastructure will be to generate positive impacts in social and environmental terms, said Batista.

"For that purpose, the bank will concentrate its efforts in sectors such as renewable energy-for example, solar, wind and small hydro electrical plants-energy efficiency, clean transportation, urban mobility, sanitation, and water and waste management," he said.

The NDB intends to establish a new relationship of equality, mutual respect and trust between the bank and member countries. In addition, it intends to be fast, flexible and efficient by designing a more streamlined project review and implementation oversight without unnecessary bureaucracy.

"Our first issuance in the market was already a green bond, meaning that the resources thus raised must necessarily be allocated to projects considered green by international standards. NDB's strategy points out that the bank will continue to explore opportunities to mobilize funds through green bonds and other financing mechanisms linked to the protection of the environment," Batista added.

The NDB was established by BRICS countries to mobilize resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging economies and developing countries.

The Africa Regional Centre of the New Development Bank was launched on Aug 17 in South Africa. According to South African President Jacob Zuma, the launch of the ARC of NDB 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".

NDB obtained a domestic AAA credit rating with a stable outlook in China from China Cheng Xin International Credit Rating Co Ltd, and Lianhe Credit Rating Co Ltd, two of the leading domestic rating agencies.

According to CCXI and Lianhe Credit Rating Co, the main credit strengths of the NDB include "strong support from its founding members given NDB's political and economic importance, a high level of paid-in capital and its timely infusion, great potential for future business growth in developing countries and emerging markets, and a sophisticated governance structure and risk management system".

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