China calls for swift movement on BRICS development bank

BRISBANE (AFP) - China on Saturday urged BRICS nations to speed up the creation of a development bank as an alternative to the Western-dominated global financial system.

The BRICS group of emerging economic powers - which also includes Brazil, Russia, India, and South Africa - agreed in July to form the New Development Bank to finance infrastructure projects and an emergency reserve fund.

The Chinese have already chosen a site for the future Shanghai headquarters of the US$50 billion (S$ 64 billion) facility and China's vice finance minister Zhu Guangyao is keen to get moving.

"All (countries) share the view that they should speed up the process to have it completed as quickly as possible," he said on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Australia.

"And each country will identify feasible projects for the bank as quickly as possible, so that at the moment the bank is launched it will be able to immediately carry out (financing) processes."

Chinese state media has said the BRICS bank aims to reduce Western dominance of the global financial system, while criticising multilateral agencies like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

For the past 70 years, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have been the pillars of the world's economic system, coming to the rescue of countries in trouble and supporting development projects, respectively.

But the Bretton Woods institutions are regularly criticised for their inability to reflect the growing and important contributions of the major emerging economies to the global economy.

Since their creation in 1944, the IMF and the World Bank have only been led by Americans and Europeans.