March 29 - Outgoing World Bank President Robert Zoellick says a joint development bank being planned by the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) will be difficult to implement given competing interests. Conway G. Gittens reports.
World Bank President Robert Zoellick is in India making the rounds as he prepares to leave the top job at the global financial institution. His trip comes as India, along with the other powerful emerging economies that may up the BRICS: Brazil, Russia, China, and South Africa, seek a greater role on the world stage, including the idea of forming a joint development bank. Zoellick did not pan the idea but said it would be difficult to execute. SOUNDBITE: ROBERT ZOELLICK, PRESIDENT, WORLD BANK (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I think the interests of India may be more in terms of bringing capital in, the interests of China may be more in terms of internationalizing the renminbi. I think Russia is a little uncertain and Brazil has a very big development bank. I believe that even if such a bank were formed, it would probably work very closely with the World Bank because what is important to understand is that the World Bank is much more than an institution about loans and private sector investment. It is really the knowledge and experience so we work with private sector funders, development banks, regional banks and we'd work with a BRICS bank and it would probably be difficult to replicate the sort of the knowledge and expertise that we fund." Zoellick, who was in India taking a tour of some World Bank-funded projects, also deflected criticism the institution is too influenced by Western nations. SOUNDBITE: ROBERT ZOELLICK, PRESIDENT, WORLD BANK (ENGLISH) SAYING: "If you take the overall leadership at the bank, with all the different positions, it is more representative, because for a time I appointed the first chief economist who was from China, the first developing world chief economist. For a period, the three managing directors that reported to me were all from the developing world. I think that it's not just a question of the head of organization, but the organization as a whole." But the BRICS are challenging who will take over for Zoellick as the head of the global money lender. They are pushing their own candidates, opposing the tradition of a U.S. leader. Zoellick says the three candidates up for the job are "excellent." Conway Gittens, Reuters