India says No BRICS Candidate for World Bank



New Delhi: India said the BRICS forum of emerging countries have no plans to field or rally behind a common candidate to head the World Bank but stressed that it supported "an open and merit-based process." "I have not heard anything so far (about a common candidate)," Sudhir Vyas, Secretary for Economic Affairs in the External Affairs, told reporters while briefing on the agenda of the the BRICS summit which will be held on Thursday. Vyas added that the grouping of the five emerging economies, including Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, wanted "an open and merit-based selection process regardless of nationality." The World Bank has announced that there were three candidates in the reckoning to succeed outgoing President, Robert Zoellick, for the prized post, which is customarily reserved for an American. The U.S. is backing Jim Yong Kim, a Korean-American, who is currently president of Dartmouth College and a former director of the Department of HIV/AIDS at the World Health Organization. Jose Antonio Ocampo, a Colombian university professor, and Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala are also in the fray. China's foreign office has stressed that "the voice of developing countries" should be taken into account in selecting a new leader for the World Bank. The leaders of BRICS countries are, however, expected to make a renewed pitch for reforming international financial institutions and a greater place for developing countries in them. Two pacts for promoting intra-BRICS trade will be signed at the fourth summit of their leaders here. The two agreements that will enable credit facility in local currency for businesses of BRICS countries will be signed in the presence of the leaders of the five countries, said Vyas. The pacts are expected to scale up intra-BRICS trade which has been growing at the rate of 28 percent over the last few years but at $230 billion it remains much below the potential of the five economic powerhouses. However, the much-touted idea of a BRICS Development Bank or South-South Bank still remains a work in progress and will take more time to come to fruition. "It's still very much a thought that needs to be developed. Experts have met but it will take time," said Vyas. The fourth BRICS summit is taking place at a time the world is grappling with the challenges of ensuring a sustained recovery from the global slowdown, complicated by developments in the Eurozone, and bringing global growth back on track, said Vyas. "The BRICS countries today present an opportunity as new growth poles in a multi-polar world, as demonstrated during the global economic crisis when they played a vital role that helped the world economy emerge from the shadows of the crisis," he said.
Source: IANS