Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is with great satisfaction and happiness that I address you as the new President of the New Development Bank, the BRICS Bank. I feel deeply grateful and honored by the presence of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in this ceremony. I am deeply grateful to President Lula for once again trusting in me and for introducing my candidacy for the presidency of the NDB. I am also honored and grateful for the trust placed in me by the Member States in supporting my election.
As you all know, President Lula is a leader who is respected worldwide for his legacy and achievements, and who still inspires many by his history of struggle and his work for impoverished people, by his commitment to developing countries and emerging economies, and by his commitment to sustainable development.
The presence of President Lula at the headquarters of the NDB, and in China, is a testimony of his tireless efforts to promote international development. With President Lula, Brazil retakes its role as a decisive regional and global leader.
I want to reiterate, here, NDB’s commitment to mobilize resources for investments in clean and efficient energy, transportation infrastructure, water and sanitation, environmental protection, social infrastructure, and digital infrastructure. Our Bank is a partner institution to Brazil and to all Member States in our common goal of fighting poverty, overcoming inequalities, and promoting shared development to make possible a prosperous and sustainable world for all of us.
As most of you know, I have a strong personal connection with the New Development Bank. When I was President of Brazil, I was proud to host the BRICS Summit in Fortaleza in 2014, when the BRICS leaders established the NDB, alongside the Contingent Reserve Agreement. Since then, I have closely followed the Bank’s progress and its efforts to finance infrastructure, sustainable development, as well as social and digital inclusion.
As the former President of a developing country, I know how important multilateral banks are and, above all, I know the immense challenge of providing finance on the scale required to meet the economic, social, and environmental challenges of those countries. I know how valuable it is to count on the support of an institution such as the NDB, an institution that is a partner to developing countries and that supports their development priorities. Becoming President of the NDB is, without a doubt, an excellent opportunity to do more for the BRICS countries, for emerging economies and for Brazil.
Almost nine years since Fortaleza, the BRICS countries have become even more relevant than they were then. Taken together, they represent over 40% of the world’s population, and approximately a quarter of current global GDP. In PPP terms, it is estimated that the economies of the BRICS are collectively larger than the aggregate economy of the G7 countries. In fact, the group is nowadays an even more significant force in the global economy, being its most prominent growth engine.
Going beyond economics, the growing importance of the BRICS group reflects the role of its members as global leaders, and of their ability to come together to face the greater and more urgent challenges of our day. Together, the BRICS are stronger and more capable. With a combined population of over 3 billion people and an aggregate GDP in excess U$25 trillion, the group is in an unique position to lead the way towards of a model of development that may be shared by all.
It is true that emerging economies still face significant challenges, such as persistent inequality, extreme poverty, inadequate infrastructure, and lack of access to education, health and housing. But, together, the BRICS have all it takes to help its members and other developing countries to overcome these difficulties.
The creation of the NDB was a response to the growing role of the BRICS in the world, and to the need for developing countries to support each other. The NDB’s founding agreement established a vision of shared development that respects and reaffirms the sovereignty of each country. The Bank emerges as a platform for cooperation among emerging economies where conditionalities are not part of the menu of solutions. Non-financial conditions will not be imposed on borrowers.
The NDB is a cooperative of countries that share an unwavering commitment to climate and environmental agenda. We support the strategies of our member countries to reduce greenhouse emissions, to finance renewable energy, green and resilient infrastructure, and to move towards low-carbon growth. The Bank is committed to helping its Member States reach their sustainable development goals – SDGs – and to fulfill their commitments under the Paris Agreement.
The NDB plays an essential role in supporting projects that foster mitigation and adaptation to climate change, mainly to protect vulnerable communities that face more significant risks.
The New Development Bank is also an example of how multilateralism can bring tangible benefits to Member States, and to developing countries in general. Besides being a historical achievement, the foundation of the NDB by the BRICS demonstrates the importance of the relationship among these countries, and their shared commitment to multilateralism and south-south cooperation in a world undergoing profound transformations.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is fundamental to amplify the Bank’s reach and impact. On the one hand, our membership has been expanded, thus strengthening our platform of cooperation. On the other, we are financing key development projects, from sanitation to social and digital infrastructure. We will work to strengthen collaboration with our members’ governments, to identify their most significant needs and opportunities, and to finance their most critical and strategic projects. To that end, we will develop innovative financing models to mobilize public and private resources so as to obtain maximum impact.
We will raise funds in world markets everywhere, in different currencies such as the renminbi, the dollar, and the euro. We will also seek to finance our projects in local currencies, seeking to strengthen domestic markets and to shield our borrowers from exchange-rate fluctuation risks. Our goal is to build robust financial alternatives for our member countries.
Another priority will be to promote social inclusion at every opportunity we have. The NDB needs to support projects that help to reduce inequalities and that improve the standard of living of the vast communities of the poor and excluded in our countries.
The NDB cannot act alone. We must act jointly with member countries, and seek partnerships with national development banks, multilateral and regional banks, and other financial institutions and UN agencies to promote the shared development vision that is the essence of the NDB. As President of the Bank, I will do my utmost to find the necessary resources to enable the NDB to fulfill its mission, on the scale and in the manner that is expected of us.
We can only achieve our goals with the support of the Board of Finance Ministers and of the Board of Directors. As well as on the dedication and hard work of our Vice Presidents and of all the employees of the Bank, I am counting on each and every one of you. For my part, I intend to work actively to make our Bank an institution that values, promotes and develops the talents of its co-workers. Together we can build a more just and prosperous future for the people of the countries we serve.
Once again, I want to say that I am deeply honored to be the President of the New Development Bank, and encouraged by the opportunity to contribute to the promotion of sustainable development, to the reduction of social, ethnic, and gender inequalities, and to economic growth and job creation in our member countries. The NDB has the potential to be a global leader in financing projects that address the most pressing challenges of our time. I am confident that together we can realize this vision.