LEADERS of the developing world gathered in the Russian city of Ufa yesterday ahead of the Brics and SCO joint summit.
The seventh summit of the Brics economic bloc of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa is being held alongside the latest meeting of Asian security alliance the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO).
The leaders of the Eurasian Economic Union along with Iran and Pakistan will also attend the summit in the Russian republic of Bashkortostan.
The South African delegation, led by President Jacob Zuma, arrived yesterday.
A key agenda item for Pretoria is the establishment of the New Development Bank (NDA), the Brics rival to the International Monetary Fund.
Candidates for NDA president and vice-presidents will be presented in Ufa.
In an interview with the Russia Today TV channel on Monday, Mr Zuma stressed the need for “transformation” of international financial institutions, with greater representation for the national governments which rely on them.
“We’ve had difficulties, even with the help that we get. It comes with so many strings attached,” Mr Zuma said, adding that lenders “want to dictate what you should do.”
But he said that in the NDA “we now have a bank that is an alternative,” which guarantees that developing nations “are going to be provided [with help], they are going to achieve their objectives without being put under more difficult conditions.”
The summit is expected to ratify the SCO development strategy for the next 10 years.
Since its establishment in 2001, the SCO has signed many strategic agreements to fight against terrorism, separatism and extremism, as well as unusual security threats such as cross-border crimes.
Zhang Xinfeng, director of the Executive Committee of the SCO’s Regional Anti-Terrorism Agency, said that co-operation against the “three evil forces” has been deepened.
“Mechanisms have been built up for joint anti-terrorism drills, securing international activities, intelligence exchanges, and joint work against cyber terrorism,” Mr Zhang said.
But the SCO will discuss other issues as well. At a meeting of health ministers, Russia’s Veronika Skvortsova urged the SCO member states to co-operate on the issue.
“Concentrating joint efforts in order to preserve people’s health throughout the life cycle should be a cornerstone of the SCO co-operation strategy,” she said.