CCS Events
CCS Libraries
About CCS
CCS Projects
CCS Highlights

Patrick Bond seminar on BRICS banking at University of Cape Town School of Economics, 16 November

BRICS banking and the debate over sub-imperialism
Professor of Political Economy, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
Senior Professor of Development Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban
Paper for presentation to the University of Cape Town School of Economics
16 November 2015, 13.00-14.00
Economics Boardroom, 4th Floor of the School of Economics Building, UCT

ABSTRACT: Notionally 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.

|  Contact Information  |  Terms of Use  |  Privacy