DECISIONS taken at the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (Brics) summit will change the course of the 21st century, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said today.
“Brics have made very important decisions to change the political and economic world order,” he told his weekly TV programme.
The bloc has “decided to create a development bank with $100 billion (£58bn) as starting capital and a commercial and financial system among its members to use local currencies instead of US dollars.”
It would have a reserve currency pool worth over another £58bn.
Both initiatives will counter the influence of imperialist lending institutions and the dollar.
The Brics leaders ended their two-day summit in the Brazilian city of Fortaleza with the announcement that the planned bank would be headquartered in the Chinese financial hub of Shanghai.
The New Development Bank will have an African regional branch in South Africa and other nations will be able to participate eventually.
President Maduro is among regional presidents from the Union of South American Nations and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States taking part in talks with Brics leaders to deepen co-operation between these blocs.
“Our foreign policy is well advanced,” said Mr Maduro.
“It’s at the centre of all world events to continue deepening our alliance with Brics.”
The Venezuelan president will host Chinese President Xi Jinping in Caracas later this week, before Mr Xi leaves for Cuba and Argentina.
Mr Xi supports a China-Latin America forum to further expand bilateral trade that has already reached $262bn (£153bn) in the past year.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, who began his Latin American tour with a visit to Cuba at the weekend, will be pleased to have shown that his country’s recent exclusion from the G8 group of industrialised nations does not signify international isolation.
The new Brics financial mechanisms could benefit Argentina, which is at risk of defaulting on $1.3bn (£759 million) in debts after losing a US Supreme Court battle with “vulture” hedge funds.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said that nothing was certain “because we just formed this institution,” but she was sure that the group would “examine” any request from Argentina.