Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff (L) shakes hands with South African President Jacob Zuma before the 6th BRICS summit in Fortaleza July 15, 2014.

Johannesburg - An initiative by Brics countries to establish a bank to aid infrastructure development was welcomed by portfolio committee on international relations chairman Siphosezwe Masango on Wednesday.

Brics countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - have agreed to start a New Development Bank, which is expected to be operational in 2016, the department of international relations said in a statement.

Masango said Parliament was excited about the initiative, and its potential to improve infrastructure in Africa.

“The establishment of the bank will lessen the impact of the obstructionist conditionalities attached to loans from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.”

The bank would help fund infrastructure projects in developing countries.

Masango said that the objectives of the Presidential Infrastructure Co-ordinating Commission would be furthered by the bank.

“Infrastructure projects in such varied sectors as energy, rail, road and harbours will no longer be hampered and held back due to a shortage of funding.”

This would help trade and connectivity between African countries and create employment opportunities through infrastructure projects. - Sapa