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The New Development Bank was created in 2014, during the BRICS Summit in Fortaleza, when I was the President of Brazil. Seeing that its birth resulted from the collective will of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, the NDB is often referred to as the “BRICS bank.” With the important entry of other countries, this acronym has now become a name and it no longer stands for the five founders only, but for all the countries of the Global South that belong now, and that will in the future belong to the Bank.

However, besides its name, the Bank is also new for its characteristics, possessing a profile that makes it stand out among multilateral development banks. The NDB focuses primarily on developing countries and emerging economies. Its mission is to mobilize resources for investments in logistical, social, environmental, and digital infrastructure, with a view to the sustainable development of its member countries.

In short, the NDB is a bank built by and for developing countries, where the voices of all member countries are equally heard.

Today, the Bank faces the new challenges that come from a changing world.

The drive towards globalization that prevailed since World War II, with the internationalization of trade, and of financial and information flows, has been changing since the 2008/2009 crisis. With the multiplication of sanctions, geopolitical conflicts have introduced uncertainty and instability by leaving financial assets unprotected. They also led to the fragmentation of global supply chains, already weakened by Covid-19.

The world’s economy has been facing the effects of high inflation and of monetary policies that lead to rising interest rates, thus giving rise to bank failures, excessive leverage, and increasing the risk of recession in both developed and developing countries. The end of quantitative easing and the adoption of quantitative tightening are generating shock waves of instability that hit the entire world economy.

As a former president of a developing country, I know how important multilateral banks are, and above all, I know the immense challenge of obtaining financing on the scale required to meet the economic, social, logistical, and environmental challenges of these countries.

Becoming president of the NDB is, without a doubt, an excellent opportunity to do more for developing countries, for emerging economies, and, therefore, for Brazil.

We support the national strategies of the Bank’s member countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, by financing renewable energy, green and resilient infrastructure, aiming at low-carbon growth. The Bank is committed to helping member countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goals – foremost among which are the eradication of poverty and of hunger – as well as the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) made under the Paris Agreement by each signatory country.

The efforts of the NDB in this area are extremely relevant in view of the shortfall of over US$4 trillion that exists today to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals globally, creating what the UN Secretary General has called “a funding black hole.”

Moreover, because of its origin and characteristics, the NDB is in a unique position to support the infrastructure investments needed to fight poverty, and to promote job creation.

Looking to the immediate future, the priorities for the Bank are clear.

First, the Bank needs to expand its outreach, strengthening its role as a platform for cooperation. We will do this by expanding our network of partnerships, always placing great emphasis on the relevance of the development projects we finance.

To this end, we are seeking to work ever more closely and directly with our members to better identify their most significant needs and focus our support on their most critical and strategic projects.

In this same sense, the NDB intends to increase its participation in co-financing operations with other multilateral financial institutions, national development banks, and with the private sector. By strengthening these partnerships, we will be able to multiply the impact of our Bank’s resources, amplifying the reach of our actions in favor of our member countries.

In 2021, the NDB began its membership expansion, in line with the guidance of the Bank’s Governors and Board of Directors, and welcomed three new members: Bangladesh, United Arab Emirates, and Egypt. These countries, with their geographic, economic and developmental differences, represent the diversity of the Bank’s membership. Our approach to expanding the number of countries will be to seek greater diversity, both in terms of geography and stage of development.

The countries that will be joining us will bring resources to the Bank, supporting the diversification of its portfolio and increasing its ability to mobilize funds. The expansion of the Bank’s membership will serve to strengthen our capital base, enhancing support for new investments. Furthermore, they will enrich the NDB’s collection of social and economic development experiences and enhance the Bank’s role as a platform for amplifying collaboration between developing countries and emerging economies.

A second priority for the NDB will be to raise funds in diverse world markets, and in different currencies – such as the renminbi, the dollar, and the euro – bringing in resources from wherever they are available. At the same time, we will seek to fund a greater share of our projects in local currencies, with the dual objective of strengthening the member countries’ domestic markets and protecting our borrowers from the risks of currency fluctuations.

Because their currencies are not fully convertible within the current financial architecture, the economies of the Global South often suffer from the negative impacts of sudden fluctuations in their exchange rates. In addition, many infrastructure projects crucial for sustainable development generate their revenues in local currency, and we intend to offer more compatible alternatives for their financing. It is worth noting that the private sector will be the main beneficiary of the lower costs generated by the ability to offer project-finance loans in local

Currently, local-currency financing represents approximately 22 percent of the Bank’s portfolio, largely driven by Renminbi-denominated loans. For the 2022-2026 strategic cycle, our goal is that 30 percent of the Bank’s project financing volume will be denominated in the national currencies of our members.

A third priority for the Bank will be to promote social inclusion. The NDB needs to support projects that help reduce inequalities and that contribute to improving the living standards of the large communities of poor and excluded people that still exist in the countries of the Global South.

The impacts of projects in terms of promoting economic growth, generating employment, and increasing household income are necessarily part of the criteria that the Bank has been adopting in offering financial support that is truly relevant for member countries.

When considering the social impact of the financing it provides, however, the NDB must aim beyond income growth to productive inclusion and access to public services. The experience of many member countries shows that social inclusion also depends on the population’s access to health, education, sanitation, mobility, and housing. All these public goods and the services associated with them depend on investments in specific infrastructures geared towards their availability for the general population, and the Bank intends to play an increasing role in supporting such investments.

The strategic objective of the NDB is to become the leading development bank for emerging markets and developing countries. The New Development Bank is, in essence, a cooperative of countries that share an inarguable commitment to the climate and environmental agenda, to the social-inclusion and inequality-reduction agendas, and to the economic modernization agenda of the countries of the Global South.

By diversifying its sources of funding, broadening its partnership network, and expanding its membership base, the NDB aims to extend its global reach as a platform that practices true multilateralism, promoting broader cooperation among developing countries.