“Integrated, inclusive, and innovative solutions will form the cornerstone for solving host of inter-related development challenges in developing countries”- said Mr. Shaktikanta Das, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, during the Annual BRICS Financial Forum organized by the Export-Import Bank of India (Exim Bank). Speaking on the theme of “Building Responsive, Inclusive and Collective Solutions”, Mr. Das reiterated the need for local currency financing arrangements in BRICS countries. Mr. Das noted that such arrangements would help achieve internationalization of BRICS currencies, while also alleviating the exchange rate risk.
Mr. Das opined that in an era of negative and zero interest rates, and where pension and superannuation funds were increasingly looking for opportunities to invest, the New Development Bank (NDB) has an opportunity to channelize these funds to satisfy the investment appetite in developing countries. Mr. Das also emphasized the need for an all-encompassing plan for the BRICS countries which goes beyond finance, and extends to aspects such as research and knowledge dissemination. In this context, he lauded Exim Bank’s initiatives of proposing the idea of a BRICS Research Institute and instituting the Exim Bank BRICS Economic Research Award. Mr. Das also presented the award to Dr. João Prates Romero of Brazil for his doctoral research study on “Technological Progress and Structural Change: The Roles of Demand and Supply in Economic Growth” during the event.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. K.V. Kamath, President, the New Development Bank (NDB), highlighted the significant progress that NDB had made over the past year, with considerable focus on green projects. Mr. Kamath noted the significance of local currency financing in the context of developing economies and stressed the need for making a switch from hard currency to local currency, which can reduce the effective cost of lending for the DFIs from the BRICS countries as also the NDB. The issue of deficiencies in the rating methodology of international agencies was also highlighted in the address of Mr. Kamath, noting that the rating for NDB itself may be impacted on account of the unfair low sovereign ratings of the founding partners, in spite of strong fundamentals.
Exim Bank organized the BRICS Financial Forum on October 15, 2016, as part of the events associated with BRICS Summit being held during October 15-16, 2016, in Goa. High-level delegations including Chairmen/ Managing Directors from the Development Finance institutions (DFIs) of BRICS and select BIMSTEC countries participated in the event and shared their insights and deliberated upon mechanisms to forge effective partnerships.
Welcoming the delegates, Mr. Yaduvendra Mathur, Chairman and Managing Director, Exim Bank stated that the role of DFIs will be crucial, and not just in their capacity as agents for financing projects, underpinning the development agenda, but for building innovative and facilitating mechanisms which contribute towards redefining the contours of the current financial architecture. He also stated that several crucial proposals, like Alternative Credit Rating Agency, and an institutional framework for Economic Research, have been discussed under the Inter-Bank Cooperation Mechanism during India’s presidency this year, which would have positive implications for the development finance architecture.
On the occasion, Exim Bank’s Working Papers on “Sustainable Investment Opportunities in Africa: Prospects for BRICS” and “Intra-BRICS Trade: An Indian Perspective” were released at the hands of Mr. Shaktikanta Das, and Mr. Kamath, respectively.
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