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Patrick Bond seminar on BRICS as sub-imperialism at Open University, 4 November

BRICS Banking and the Debate over sub-Imperialism
IKD Research Centre 4 November 2015

Do the BRICS countries herald a new dawn for democracy or continued political repression? Professor Patrick Bond (University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa) discusses BRICS: An Anti-Capitalist Critique, his new book from Pluto Press, co-edited with Ana Garcia.

Development Policy and Practice Group at The Open University (

International Development Seminar Series
Wed 4th Nov 12.30
Room 00©\13, Ground Floor
Chambers Building

Prof Patrick Bond, University of KwaZulu©\Natal and University of the WitwatersrandSouth Africa

BRICS banking and the debate over sub-imperialism
forthcoming in Third World Quarterly, 2016

Funded at $100 billion each, the BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) and New Development Bank (NDB) represent sub-imperial finance, insofar as by all indications they fit into - instead of providing alternatives to the prevailing world systems of sovereign debt and project credits. If in Africa, for example, the biggest project now underway- Inga Hydropower on the Congo River is anticipated to cost $100 billion alone and the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa requires $93 billion in funding for new projects annually, vast sums could be lent. As for repayment, however, all such opportunities look much less attractive once lenders factor in the 2011-15 crash of commodity prices mainly due to slowing Chinese demand. This is just one reason for the negation of the prior years of "Africa Rising" rhetoric. Balance of payments constraints for BRICS members will not be relieved by the CRA, which requires an International Monetary Fund intervention after just 30 percent of the quota is borrowed. In this context, the NDB would appear much closer to the Bretton Woods Institution model promoting frenetic extractivist calculations based on US dollar financing (hence more pressure to export), than to the opposite Bank of the South model whose core mandate by founder Hugo Chavez was to finance basic needs goods in a rational manner, using local currencies. The inability of African civil society to so far grasp the dangers is of concern, yet prolific protests against extractivism amidst a larger "Africa uprising" do offer grounds for optimism that both imperialist and sub-imperialist development finance will not prove viable in coming years.126

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