CAPE TOWN – The New Development Bank (NDB) will place a greater emphasis on sustainable development, its president Kundapur Vaman Kamath said on the opening day of the 4th annual meeting of the NDB in Cape Town.

The NDB is a development bank established by the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) bloc of countries.

According to Kamath, the share of the BRICS countries in world GDP in Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) terms has grown from 30 per cent to 36 per cent in the last nine years. 

"This growth has put increased pressures on natural resources and the environment," he said. "Fortunately, however, our members have explicitly recognised  these pressures and are increasingly investing in undoing some of the past damages."

Speaking at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, he said that the Bank "supports our members’ commitment to sustainable development". 

“The Bank now looks to go beyond the do-no-harm approach to incorporate a more transformative approach to development. We are focusing on the development impact of our lending through more robust monitoring frameworks and measurement of projects’ contributions to our members’ SDG commitments. Sustainability therefore remains at the core of everything we do."

He added that nearly 80 percent of the Bank's lending was now in the transport, clean energy, and water and sanitation sectors, with urban development and environmental protection also forming a major part. 

"We have also invested in building a strong and more diversified pipeline of projects for 2019."

Kamath added: "Going forward, we would like to embrace the concept of impact investing in our project portfolio. Impact investing aims to generate positive social and environmental benefits alongside financial and economic returns. 

"It takes a more holistic approach to investments, incorporating positive and negative externalities, in addition to a project’s economic and financial returns. We believe this offers a hopeful alternative path to the traditional approach."

Earlier, Kamath said the Bank would look to double its loan approval book from its current US$8 billion to around US$15 billion during 2019.

African News Agency (ANA)