Adding to the BRICS Bank discussion, many of us have been following and supporting the Bank of the South. The Banco del Sur plans to utilize regional reserves to finance the development of its member countries, strengthening regional integration, reducing poverty and social exclusion, promoting employment and activating a virtuous cycle of sustainable development, fundamental for the economic, social and political transformation of the region.
After a powerful start in 2007, when the Founding Charter of Bank of the South was signed by the Presidents of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela, progress was halted due to internal divergences, mostly from Brazil who already had a (national) development bank —the BNDES— with a much larger investment portfolio than the World Bank in the region. A key disagreement was the issue raised by Rathin Roy and John Weeks - “One country, one vote” or “one dollar, one vote”?, among other issues described in the article "The Bank of the South: Progress and Challenges"
Good news - this July 2014 there was the first meeting of the Governing Body of the Bank of the South in Caracas. The announcement of the BRICS bank eclipsed the news, but hopefully we will have these southern banks operating soon.
FYI there is also the small but pioneering Bank of ALBA. Given the delays and realpolitik re: Banco del Sur, the Bank of ALBA was launched in January 2008 by smaller group of countries. Currently, it includes contributions from Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Dominica and St. Vicent and the Granadines. This is a less know development bank, with a small portfolio to support ALBA regional integration processes. ALBA was created in 2006 to address the ''social debt'' of Latin America, that is, address the needs of those who have lost out in the process of globalization –and as an alternative to the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). ALBA countries argue that a new set of public policies is needed to redress social asymmetries and raise living standards, based on social spending, public investment, and macroeconomic policies geared towards employment and the expansion of national markets. ALBA is using policies of regional solidarity to pursue social transformations at both national and regional level; from literacy programs and regional universities to the promotion of industrial technology policies; from radio/TV media with indigenous content to investments in energy generation/distribution and nationally-produced pharmaceuticals.
I though this may be of interest - another multilateral development bank is possible…
Thanking your very interesting contributions to this e-discussion,
Director Social Protection
International Labour Organization (ILO)