Facing challenges together: NDB's general strategy

By Paulo Nogueira Batista Jr.
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China Today, September 13, 2017
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NDB President K.V. Kamath shakes hands with World Bank President Jim Yong Kim after signing an MOU in September 2016 in Washington D.C. [China Today]

The Board of Governors of the New Development Bank (NDB), composed of the Ministers of Finance of the BRICS, recently approved the General Strategy of the Bank for 2017-2021.

Over the next five years, NDB intends to approve at least US $32 billion in loans, including 15 projects in 2017 and rising to 50 by 2021. In a more ambitious scenario, NDB may approve about US $45 billion in this period, reaching 75 projects by 2021. This is already a significant volume for a bank that will only just be celebrating its sixth anniversary at the end of the period covered by the strategy.

However, these scenarios do not constitute the most important aspect. The central idea that pervades the entire strategy is that we are in the process of creating a new multilateral institution. Our name is no accident and we intend to honor it. We have a lot of positive things to learn from older multilateral development banks, such as the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the Asian Development Bank. Nevertheless, the question remains: Would BRICS have gone through the trouble and expenditure of creating a development bank if they were satisfied with existing ones?

This strategy adheres to, implicitly, an old Chinese saying: "Concepts exist only as contrasts." Indeed, it is not really possible to visualize and make plans to establish a new institution without contrasting them with existing realities.

What is new, then, about the New Development Bank? Its focus on sustainable infrastructure development is perhaps one of the most important features. Around two thirds of the loans that we will take to our Board for approval in the period 2017-2021 will be in this area. This is the key quantitative target of the strategy. Sustainable infrastructure is defined, in broad terms, as infrastructure that incorporates sustainability criteria from design to operation – not only economic and financial, but also social and environmental criteria.

Even in traditional infrastructure projects, the NDB will apply social and environmental requirements to control adverse negative effects on social groups and the environment. In the case of sustainable infrastructure, however, the difference is that the projects supported by the NDB will go beyond the mere mitigation of side effects. Their key objective will be to generate positive impact in social and environmental terms. For that purpose, the NDB will concentrate its efforts in sectors such as renewable energy – solar, wind, small hydro electrical plants – energy efficiency, clean transportation, urban mobility, sanitation, and water and waste management.

The NDB's General Strategy thus envisages the gradual consolidation of a 21st-century bank geared towards helping its member countries to confront some of the challenges of our time, while nurturing inclusive and sustainable development.

The NDB will also be green on the funding side. Our first issuance in the market was a green bond, meaning that the resources raised must be allocated to projects considered green by international standards. The strategy points out that the NDB will continue to explore opportunities to mobilize funds through green bonds and other financing mechanisms linked to environmental and ecosystem protection.

Green on the asset side, green on the liability side, the NDB will be permanently engaged in the preservation of our planet.

Paulo Nogueira Batista Jr. is vice president and chief risk officer of the New Development Bank.


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