File Image: President Jacob Zuma presides over the official launch of the African Regional Centre of the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) in Sandton, Johannesburg.

JOHANNESBURG - The African National Congress (ANC) said it "welcomes" the launch of the Africa Regional Center of the New Development Bank also known as the BRICS Bank.The entity was launched by President Jacob Zuma at a ceremony in Sandton. 

"The ANC views South Africa’s membership of the BRICS as a vital means by which we may hasten the transformation of systems of global governance, and realize a truly inclusive, globalized economy as outlined in our International Relations discussion document considered at the recently convened National Policy Conference (NPC)", said Edna Molewa, the chairperson of the ANC NEC subcommittee on international relations  .

"For too long the developing countries of the Global South have found themselves beholden and indebted to international financial institutions such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) who place onerous lending conditions with far-reaching social and political ramifications." 

Molewa said these onerous lending conditions have historically hampered the ability of developing countries to pursue pro-development policies in the best interests of their citizens.

BRICS is made up of  Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

The New Development Bank will enable African and other BRICS countries to access lending facilities to undertake, among other things, infrastructure investment in crucial sectors like energy, water and transportation. 

Molewa, who is the minister of environmental affairs, said the new bank will help grow economies and vastly improve living standards for citizens.

"The ANC is committed to the realisation of a just, equitable, non-racial, non-patriarchal, diverse, democratic and equal world system; and to this end we echo sentiment expressed by President Zuma in his opening address that this is ‘a critical milestone not only for South Africa, but for the African continent as a whole," she said. 

"The launch of the bank furthermore ‘underlies the BRICS commitment to the development of the African continent and emerging markets. The ANC further welcomes the move by the bank towards expanding its membership to non-BRICS developing nations." 

Molewa said South Africa’s hosting of the Africa Regional Center will further strengthen the country's efforts to advance "our continental vision of an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the international arena”.

- African News Agency (ANA)