October 16, 2016 - 6:02 AM
BENAULIM, India - The Latest on the BRICS summit of five emerging market economies (all times local):
The newly formed multilateral New Development Bank has been widely praised at this weekend's BRICS summit, with leaders from the grouping hailing the bank's achievements and its support for clean energy and sustainable development projects.
The bank, which became operational a year ago, has already cleared loans totalling more than $900 million for renewable energy projects in the five BRICS countries — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
Next up: a new credit rating agency for developing countries.
Bank President K.V. Kamath said Sunday that the functioning of the existing big three global agencies was effectively constraining growth in emerging nations.
At the end of their discussions Sunday on reforming the global financial and economic architecture, the BRICS leaders agreed to speedily make the credit rating agency a reality.
The leaders of five of the world's rising powers have ended a two-day summit with a pledge to speed global economic recovery as well as fight terrorism and extremism, forces that they said pose a threat to regional and international peace and stability.
Meeting in the beach resort state of Goa in southwestern India, the five countries known collectively as BRICS — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — adopted a final declaration Sunday endorsing their commitment to act against the financing of terror groups and their supplies of weapons and other equipment.
Presidents Xi Jinping of China, Vladimir Putin of Russia, Michel Temer of Brazil and Jacob Zuma of South Africa, and their host, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, also vowed in the declaration to tackle the global economic slowdown and reform the world's financial architecture.
While skeptics may question whether the BRICS countries, once seen as the drivers of global prosperity, have much relevance with their economies slowing down, there are several countries that are eager to join the bloc. Some have set up their own groups, complete with acronyms.
There's the MINT, which clubs together the fast-growing economies of Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey.
Then there's the CIVETS group comprising Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey and South Africa.
At least two countries — Argentina and Egypt — have expressed interest in joining the BRICS.
But for now there is no plan to expand the BRICS.
An official in Goa for the BRICS summit says bringing in new members would dilute the group's identity, apart from the additional problem of having to coin another acronym for the group.
BRICS leaders meeting in Goa will get a chance to interact with another group of South and Southeast Asian countries that are centred around the Bay of Bengal.
The little-known group known as the BIMSTEC, or Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation, comprises Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
The decision to bring the leaders of the BIMSTEC countries to Goa is part of a new tradition of "outreach programs" by the country hosting the annual BRICS summit meeting. It was first initiated by South Africa when it invited leading African countries to the BRICS summit held in Durban in 2013.
A year later, Brazil invited its Latin American partners to the BRICS summit that it hosted in the beach resort town of Fortaleza.
Russia invited leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization — a Eurasian political, economic and military group — to the summit held in Ufa, a city in southwestern Russia, in 2015.
News from © The Associated Press, 2016