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World Bank chief economist sees space for BRICS bank

The World Bank chief economist on Tuesday said there was scope for a new lending institution mooted by the BRICS nations but warned that setting it up would be a “humongous task”.

“There is a need for such a bank but the process of starting it is a humongous task,” said Kaushik Basu, the World Bank senior Vice President and Chief Economist.

Details about the formation of the development bank are expected to be thrashed out at the BRICS summit to held in South Africa from March 26-27.

Last month, a senior South African diplomat revealed that the top emerging nations Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa were close to reaching a deal to create a bank.

He signalled that a capital investment of $50 billion was an amount that all members may be comfortable with.

South Africa has expressed its desire to host the bank, but the location has not yet been decided upon.

Africa’s biggest economy, which is the smallest member of the league in terms of population and GDP became a member in 2011.

Basu hailed South Africa’s economy, saying it has risen above its mixed background, but warned that there was still a “difficult journey ahead.”

“South Africa needs to focus on growth and investment,” he said, adding that there was no end soon to the global economic slowdown affecting developing nations.

“The global crisis has abated but the economy is still in trouble,” he said.