BRICS bank’s ‘green’ financing initiative laudable
October 23 2016 12:07 AM

Infrastructure financing needs in rapidly developing economies can be met to some extent in the medium term, if the Shanghai-based New Development Bank (NDB) is able to lend the targeted $10bn within the next five years.
NDB, formerly referred to as the BRICS Development Bank, became fully operational early this year. 
The multilateral development bank has been set up by the BRICS grouping of emerging economies – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
It aims to promote infrastructure and sustainable development with an initial focus on BRICS countries, complementing the efforts of other financial institutions to realise the common goal of global growth.
According to NDB president KV Kamath, a renowned Indian banker, the multilateral development bank starts with an objective of funding infrastructure projects in developing countries and meeting the aspirations of millions through sustainable development.
It is a fact that the current financing and investment patterns are grossly inadequate in meeting global investment needs, particularly in emerging countries such as BRICS.
The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund or the Asian Development Bank on their own cannot fully ensure the long-term investments required to improve the living standards of millions of people around the world, particularly in Asia, Africa and South America.
Private international capital flows are not only volatile, but also insufficient in volume and maturity to fund sustainable development, which typically requires long-term investment.
Kamath says the New Development Bank, will listen, learn, collaborate and innovate. A significant aspect of NDB’s path, he said, would be to establish global, regional and local partnership with the new as well as established multilateral development banks and with market participants.
A recent report showed that while the annual resource commitment from multilateral development banks (MDBs) has gone up from $45bn to more than $100bn over a 10 year period, it is still insufficient to meet the required infrastructure development investment of more than $1tn a year.
Economists and policymakers say such investments are needed at least for the next 20 years continually to meet the development needs of many countries worldwide.
Currently, only about 15% of the required funds are being provided through the MDB corridor, which clearly shows space is wide open as far as funding needs are concerned, and that enormous opportunities exist for stakeholders to co-operate and collaborate.
Speaking on the sidelines of the just concluded 8th BRICS Summit in Goa, India’s leading tourism destination, Kamath said the NDB will see a 10-fold jump in its lending book over the next five years, and will also issue a “Masala Bond,” in the first quarter of next year.
Masala bonds are financial instruments through which Indian entities can raise money from overseas markets in rupees and not any foreign currency.
To meet its objectives and commitments, NDB will certainly have to contribute to development plans through projects that are socially, environmentally and economically sustainable and relevant. 
In this context, the NDB’s recent announcement that it will take on the ‘green’ financing route and give priority to projects aimed at developing renewable energy sources, is highly laudable.

Last updated: October 23 2016 12:07 AM

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