The bank will compete with – or complement, depending on who you ask – the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to provide long-term loans for projects expected to boost economic growth in emerging market nations. But less than a week away from the bank’s official launch, plenty of basic questions still need to be answered about how the bank will operate:
* Where the headquarters will be? China and India are fighting over this. Anton Siluanov, Russia’s finance minister, said on July 9 that the headquarters would be in either Shanghai or New Delhi. The issue will ultimately be decided by the heads of the BRICS countries.
* Who will run it? Chairmanship will last for five years, and rotate among members, but who the first chairman will be is yet to be decided, Siluanov said.
* How big will it be? While each of the five member nations have committed to lending $10 billion, China is pushing to add another $50 billion of its own, which the other BRICS nations fear will give it outsized control. China’s extra amount will be “a $50 billion emergency reserve,” China Daily reported on July 8, but officials from Russia, Brazil and India have said publicly that contributions will be equally divided.
Tensions are so high between China and India over the bank that the Hindustan Times has already dubbed it “the next China-India flashpoint.” China is “trying to grab control” of the bank, the paper said, in an article quoting Indian officials.
Nonetheless, optimism runs high ahead of the two-day Brazil meeting, which will be attended by heads of state from all five nations, and marks the first big foreign policy meeting for India’s new prime minister, Narendra Modi. “We are fully confident that we can reach a consensus and establish the bank at this summit,” China’s vice foreign minister Li Baodong said this week.
If the leaders of the BRICS countries can actually do so, there’s plenty of demand for the bank’s services. Infrastructure needs in developing nations could be as much as $1 trillion a year, the head of the World Bank said this week, in a speech welcoming its new rival.
This post originally appeared on Qz.com.
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