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The BRICS Summit in Durban, South Africa



From VOA Learning English, this is the Economics Report in Special English. Five nations held the fifth BRICS Summit at the end of March in Durban, South Africa.

The five BRICS nations are Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. For years, these nations have said they do not have a strong voice in world events. All five countries have strong economies. But none has been asked to lead the International Monetary Fund or the World Bank.

India, Brazil and South Africa have all campaigned, without success, for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. Anil Sooklal is South Africa's ambassador to the BRICS group. He says the group can overcome historical imbalances by giving each nation power over a proposed development bank.

The bank would be collectively owned by all the BRICS countries. Emilio Pera is with Ernst and Young business advisory services. He says a development bank is a good idea for financing public works projects and strengthening cooperation between the BRICS nations.

A report from South Africa's Standard Bank says each nation is expected to donate $10 billion for the bank. China's economy alone is bigger than that of the four other countries combined. For China, $10 billion is not a lot of money. But for South Africa, it represents almost half of the country's education budget.

At the IMF and the World Bank, members donate money based on the size of their economy. Standard Bank's Simon Freemantle says it could be a long time before the bank is launched. He thinks the bank has a long process through which it still has to travel in order to reach the point where it can extend loans.

For VOA Learning English, I'm Carolyn Presutti. (Adapted from a radio program broadcast 22Mar2013)